ovidiu simionescu - « AGAMEMNON »
bela crisan – « PORTRET »
ecaterina vrana – « THE APPEL AND ECATERINA »
sorin ilfoveanu – « THE FLOWER SELLER »
courtesy - the national museum of contemporary art / romanian state collection

(…) You will have noticed that we are avoiding the term “collection”; an explanation for this avoidance is in order. The sum total of the works in MNAC’s* care is the result of a process of acquisitions that is, in our opinion, symptomatic for an anomalous relationship between the state and the artists, where both partners perpetuate outdated habits. In the absence of a normal art market, the state continues to be the major art buyer. It plays this role by resorting to procedures established before 89, even though its motives are no longer the same. Buying art is no longer a means of ideological pressure, of control and manipulation of a professional community. The political clientele still on the lookout for privileges, here as in other places, is a phenomenon of a different nature. Renouncing such motivations without being driven by others, without the inspiration of a project of some kind, the state manifests itself as a patron unconcerned by the results of its patronage; this, with the doubly negative effect of being, despite the relative modesty of its investments in art, an excessively powerful player on an as yet weak market, and of perpetuating the addiction of the artists to these periodical intakes of “oxygen”, meant to act as ineffectual corrections for their precarious financial status. In turn, the artists continue to have this kind of expectations from the state; knowing, however, that the funds are limited, and the acquisitions are never accompanied by real promotion, they tend to offer for acquisition, more often than not, works that are not among those they consider particularly significant or valuable.

(…) Out of the works bought in this fashion during the period 1990-2001 (and which have been until 2001 in the care of the Office for Documentation and Art Exhibitions, and were transferred, through a purely bureaucratic decision, to the care of the Museum of Contemporary Art), a significant part was distributed over the years, before the setting up of the Museum, to the network of museums throughout the country, and to a number of state institutions, such as the Parliament, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (and through it, to the embassies and Romanian cultural institutes abroad), down to the Head Office of the Police.

(…) The works that are at this moment physically in our storages are thus the result (not to say the residue) of a combination between a rather haphazard process of acquisition, and a no less haphazard process of distribution. Their number and variety is large enough to give some sort of idea about the Romanian art scene after 89; but to organize, out of them, a coherent exhibition, would mean to burden the museum with a ballast, to encumber it with a pseudo-collection that could only lead to versions of the “annual salons”. These works do not form a fund that would make possible the organizing of exhibitions truly relevant for the artistic trends of the last two decades; they do not include, for most of the artists represented, examples that would enable us to show appropriately what they have been about."

Mihai Oroveanu
General Director MNAC
About “DEPOZIT – This is not an exhibition”, September 2005, Bucharest

*National Museum of Contemporary Art – Bucharest, Romania


Claudia Radulescu conducts an experiment with the art collection of the Romanian State (acquisitions 1989 – 2001). She chooses a few works « to free them », replacing them in the Stedelijk Museum Wuyts-Van Campen en Baron Caroly de Lier (B) with the occasion of the New Collection exhibition (curator: Voorkamer – Lier).
Wanting to counteract what is not a peculiarities cabinet (Lier Museum`s collection), nor an artworks storehouse (the collection of a state that pretends to be on “European standards“), Claudia Radulescu suggests a cut-down model for what it should be a “non collection”. A simple formula for bringing the art objects to life. Composing an artwork based on other scattered artworks, One Could See the Modernity Self opens a horizon for more ample movements, in which the artworks from a collection are shifting the latter`s function.

(Stedelijk Museum - Lier, decembre 2007)