Symbols in antithesis
An antithesis between two historical periods that marked and changed the identity of the country.
A visual discourse argued by objects of the same typology, bearing messages differentiated in the light of ideological principles, normative aesthetic principles and aesthetic values.
Symbols in antithesis aims at an antithetic exposition of the study of the artistic sign found in the product of art during the royalty and communist regime. The exhibition represents a dialogue between identification with a tradition, with an old school and identification with the socialist realism proposed by the engaged art of the former regime.
Symbols in antithesis is a intentionally dissonant juxtaposition of symbol objects having a tribute, anniversary or purely decorative role, dissonant by the aesthetic criteria that serve and portray the identification of man in the interwar, communist ant post-communist society with the authority of the new norms of ideology and culture. The exhibition aims to represent a set of details of man’s reflection in his contemporary society.
Symbols in antithesis provides a string of significant evidences of official art and propaganda of two regimes – is a debate for an antithesis between autonomy and commitment, between national and international, man and machine, exotic and European, between realism, which is both a political attribute and a style in itself, and socialist realism in response to bourgeois society and the avant-garde, where the emphasis is on the viewer, not on the work of art and its intrinsic values. It is a discourse about a direction of the individual contemporary with his era, culture and arts, illustrates propaganda as a machine of reeducation and redefinition of man, in order to constitute a mythical and narrative identity. It is the marriage between social and patriotic feelings, an extremely complex phenomenon.
The exhibition aims to provoke the viewer to appreciate the differences between a Poster of the 1906 Exhibition, oil on canvas, and a Poster of the Leninist Marxist Order or between a lithography Princess Ileana of Romania and a painting of Nicholas and Elena walking, or between other anniversary and homage objects, such as Plush carpet with six medallions representing King Ferdinand and Queen Mary 1866-1906 vs. Tablecloth 40-th anniversary of the Romanian Communist Party and, not least, the juxtaposition of symbols/ coats of arms, the royal crown vs. hammer and sickle, or a painting Ball at the Palace vs. a carpet Dej at the meeting, etc.
Regardless of the typology and aesthetic criteria describing the objects, the exhibition aims to be an exercise of contemplation for both a combative-nostalgic viewer and the younger generations, as well as a pretext for the museum to reveal a heritage that has never been exhibited before. The pieces in the collections are from the 19th to the 21st century.
Curator: Cristina Vasiliu, Heritage and Centralized Register Office