Alexandru Antik / ROOMS Q&A

Our purpose in staging this exhibition was to give artists an opportunity to curate their own exhibitions, each in one room of the gallery. How did you approach this invitation?

Thank you for inviting me to take part in this exhibition. The project has given me an opportunity to create a new video installation, a freestanding work, without having to take account of a theme laid down by a curator, and relatively isolated from the works of other artists represented in the exhibition.

I will attempt to say something about my work Camera suspinelor (The Room of Sighs). I have used sequences from well-known films and have reworked them to fit in with the video installation concept. In terms of content, the scenes employed have been taken out of their original context and the speech in them has been cut to a minimum. The installation presents female characters living their lives on their own, isolated in space-time capsules. The scenes suggest events happening at a monotonous pace. Slow, repetitive sequences, movements slowed down so that they become static images, the action of the film breaks up into its own freeze frames, the facial features of the female characters sometimes freeze into static images, at other times the sequences become silent. An experiment that lies between film and installation. It is no accident that the installation presents scenes from famous Ingmar Bergman films and Chris Marker’s film. Both directors were an inspiration to the concept of my installation. But here the scope of the experiment is a different one, my purpose being to create an audio-visual video installation that was specific to this artistic genre. To put it more concretely, the objectives of the project were to create a spatial structure with an ambient setting and a set of films playing constantly in the exhibition, and to create a 3D sound that is synchronised with the visual element.

The initial intention of the exhibition, which was to address the problematic relationship between artist, curator and gallery, suddenly took on a new level of interest when the lockdown came into effect. Being isolated in one’s own room was now no longer simply a working situation in a gallery but also a compulsory existential situation. What kind of influence did quarantine have on you as a person and as an artist?

As regards my being restricted temporally and spatially as a consequence of the Covid 19 pandemic, I need to tell you that it did not affect me as the kind of existential shock that would directly generate a work on this subject. The issue addressed in The Room of Sighs is not a new one. For some people, being alone is painful; for others, it is necessary. As an artist I do not complain when I have to be alone. I actually need this at some points in my creative work, and not only then.

Alexandru Antik Sándor (Reghin, 1950) is a Cluj-based artist whose work revolves around experimental activity, mainly in the fields of performance, installation and multimedia art. He has been a constant presence on the Romanian art scene since the end of the 1970s, when he was a member of the Atelier 35 movement of young artists. Since 1990 he has participated in numerous exhibitions of performance and multimedia art both in Romania and abroad.

He created the Utopia in Art show broadcast on TVR Cluj in 1998-1999. He has been an editor of the contemporary art journal Balkon (1999-2002) and a visual editor of the political culture journal Provincia (2001-2002), and until this year he taught in the Arts Department of Partium Christian University, Oradea.