17 October-30 November 2009. The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre
Manchester Square, 18 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H 6EQ; Tel. 020 7486 0295 ext. 108
Opening times: Mon – Fri 12.00 – 18.00. Admission free
(booking essential, by phone or e-mail at email@example.com).
Present-day Romanian thirty-year-olds, who spent their childhood at the apex of communism (many living in apartment blocks taller than 10 floors), had the habit of playing “inside the staircase”. This was the common place of a more or less coerced communion. They jumped down the stairs, progressively increasing the number of steps, ascending and descending until exhaustion. The gesture, besides the personal ambitions of competition, constantly regenerated the children’s relation to the initially dull space. Its transformation into an unofficial playground enabled, or rather tried to enable, the stairwell’s ludic function. It was, ultimately, a subversive gesture, frowned upon by the elderly, unequalled in message by its ludic content and unsanctioned because of the “innocence” of young age.
Raluca Popa’s drawings reiterate an action older than two decades, concentrated in a circular universe. They have a powerful cinematic effect, visually speaking, and search for a possible meaning in the present. The overall effect is that of a stairwell from the olden days, to which books are added. They transform the space into a sort of library across time, meant for grown-ups, but housed in a space “built” by children. The goal is for the viewer to be able to ignore the initial space and to concentrate on a Bergsonian relationship between movement and freedom. Looking at the drawings now, we realise why the children were competing. The winners were those who jumped over the greatest number of steps: the more steps they jumped over, the freer they were. (Text by Raymond Bobar)
RALUCA POPA (born in 1979) lives and works in Bucharest, Romania. She has a BA degree in fine arts from the University of Art & Design, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (1999-2003) and a MA degree in Fine Arts from the same university (2003-2005). Additional studies include a three-month scholarship at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Castilla-la Mancha (Cuenca, Spain) in 2002, workshops at Ecole Regionale des Beaux-Arts de Nantes (France) in 2001, and at the Gallery of Miskolc (Hungary) in 2004.
Since 2004 she works as an art director and illustrator at DSG (Bucharest), a visual effects and animation studio.
2003 – RalucaPopaAttached, Atas Gallery, Cluj-Napoca
2002 – Saluda, personal intervention in the public space of the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cuenca