Manuel Pelmus: A Luxury That We Can Not Afford (Wisdom of the Earth)

4Culture Association and WASP Studios announce the presentation of the newest creation of Manuel Pelmus, one of the most influential artists of the “new performance”, in the frame of eXplore festival #14, at Craiova Art Museum on October, 29 and at the National Geology Museum, Bucharest on 1st and 2nd November, 2019. A Luxury That We Can’t Afford (Wisdom of the Earth)is an intangible, live version of Brancusi sculpture Wisdom of the Earth, an ongoing action proposing another kind of relation to history, collective memory and to the exhibition space. The project, supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute and co-financed by The Administration of the National Cultural Fund, had the premiere between 8 and 12 October 2019, at BOZAR, in Brussels, for Brancusi: Sublimation of Form exhibition, in the frame of Europalia Arts Festival Romania. A Luxury That We Can Not Afford (Wisdom of the Earth) starts from a less-known sculpture of Constantin Brancusi, Sculpture For the Blind (1920), along with an “immaterial” version of Wisdom of the Earth (1907). The live work aims to enter into dialogue with the history and legacy of the two Brancusi sculptures through speech, movement, strategies of enactment and politics of embodiment, proposing a less canonical narrative of art history, interrogating modernist constructs, as well as imagining a notion of history in motion, open to change and transformation. The “immaterial” version of the Wisdom of the Earth sculpture, built from text, will come to life for several hours, updating and entering into dialogue with the gesture of Constantin Brancusi from 1920. The text is a collage consisting of comments made over time, from 1910 to the present, by the public and critics, often contradictory about the sculpture. Wisdom of the Earth responds and speaks “back”. Using Sculpture for the Blind dramaturgy, even if we don’t see it, we will have to listen to what it has to say and how it wants to rewrite history. A sculpture you don’t see, but you listen to.

Manuel Pelmuș (b. 1974, Bucharest) lives and works in Oslo and Bucharest. He is one of the most influential artists of the “new performance”, being interested in the last decade to reimagine the role of performance in the context of visual arts. In recent years, his projects have been presented at Para Site, Hong Kong (2017 – 2018), Tate Modern, London and Tate Liverpool (2016); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2016); Off-Biennale Budapest (2015 and 2017); Kyiv Biennale (2015); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2014); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2014); Para Site, Hong Kong (2014); The Venice Biennale (2013), among others. In 2012, he was awarded the Berlin Art Prize for performance arts and the prize for excellence from the National Dance Center of Bucharest in 2014. Starting October 2019, Manuel Pelmus is a “research felow” at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO).

Maria F. Scaroni is a freelance dance artist living in Berlin since 2004. She interprets choreographic works, creates dances and hosts dance workshops. She created and performed works with Jess Curtis, Jeremy Wade, Frank Willens, Tino Sehgal and Vania Rovisco/AADK, among others. Since 2011 Maria collaborates with Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods (Until Our Hearts Stop, Sketches/Notebook, Built To Last), sharing with Meg Stuart and part of the Berlin dance community, the commitment to improvisation as a performance event (City Lights, Auf den Tisch!, Politics of Ecstasy). Her choreographic works focus on the process of collaboration, play with durational experiences and are featured by a crossbreeding between performance, choreography and installation. Maria teaches in Berlin’s Universities HZT and Bard College and is involved in independent training programmes (in Berlin, P.O.R.C.H. and ROAR). Since 2017 she is resident choreographer and member of the party collective Lecken Berlin.

Cristina Toma is a freelance actress born and trained in Romania. She believes in the creative and inspiring side of the actor, in openly nurturing her vulnerability and feeding her curiosity, thoughts which drove her to explorations in several domains. Therefore, she collaborated in theatre, movie, dance, performance and translation, for more than 25 years, having projects in Romanian, English, French and Hungarian, which were produced and performed in several European cities and Canada.