This exhibition proposed by María Inés Rodríguez as part of the second edition of the annual Satellite programme features two videos by Romanian artist Irina Botea: Auditions for a Revolution, made in 2006, and a new work produced for Jeu de Paume
, Before a National Anthem, devoted to the creation of a new Romanian national anthem.
Auditions for a Revolution (2006, 24 minutes) was made in Chicago in December 2005, exactly 16 years after the Romanian revolution of December 1989 which put an end to the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceaucescu, after he ordered his guards to open fire on the demonstrators at Timişoara on 17 December 1989.
This was the first revolution in which television played a key role Ceaucescus confusion and disarray at the mass gathering which he himself organised in Bucharest on 21 December was broadcast live and, the following day, demonstrators took control of the public television network, thus ensuring control of an essential communication tool.
To make this video, Irina Botea invited students and teachers from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago to re-enact these events. The artist then juxtaposed excerpts from the television broadcasts of 1989 also sampled by Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica in the film Videogramme einer Revolution (1992) with their re-enactment by the students and fellows at the School of the Art Institute.
They relived these historic moments by recreating exactly the scenes acted out by the protagonists at the time, initially with somewhat awkwardly and insistently, and then with more and more precision and talent. The difficulty was that the artist, who experienced the events at first hand, wanted them to use the original Romanian of those involved in 1989. For Irina Botea, the discomfort they felt in speaking this language they do not know becomes a metaphor of the difficulty of understanding History.
The scenes were filmed with exactly the same kind of video camera as was used to film the revolution in 1989.
Before a National Anthem (2009). For Jeu de Paume, Irina Botea has made a new work for which she asked Romanian writers and composers to come up with a new Romanian national anthem. She also wrote her own text, based on various poems.
These texts are reproduced in Romanian and French, in the catalogue published for this show, accompanied with commentaries by the 15 writers regarding the creation of a new national anthem.
In the exhibition, a video shows the Accoustic choir from Bucharest, conducted by Daniel Jinga, performing the various propositions.
Irina Botea was born in Ploiesti (Romania) in 1970. After graduating from Bucharest University of Arts she received her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is currently teaching. Some of her recent solo and group shows include: Auditions for a Revolution at MNAC (Bucharest), U-Turn Quadrennial for Contemporary Art (Copenhagen), Prague Biennale, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Restaging the Past, Baltic/Balkans at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Szczecin (Poland), History Will Repeat Itself at Kunst-Werke Berlin (Germany), 51st Venice Biennale, Dada East at Zacheta Gallery (Warsaw), Así se escribe la historia at La Casa Encendida (Madrid). She works with documentary and staged aesthetics.
Irina Botea lives and works in Bucharest and Chicago.