Contemporary Art From Romania: An interview with the star artist Alexandra Croitoru

For the third time, Alexandra Croitoru, one of the most important artists in Romania, created a new artwork for the donumenta. „Informal Occurences – Compendium of Spontanious Vegetation“ is an observational project consisting of a series of photographs and a publication documenting the instances of spontaneous urban vegetation in and around Bucharest. Until 12th of July, the work can be seen in the donumenta´s exhibition “14 x 14 Survey of the Danube Region. Positions in contemporary art.” in MNAC Anexa - Museum of Contemporary Art of Bucharest.

Dandelion Informal Occurrences - Compendium of Spontaneous Vegetation, 2015

Alexandra, donumenta is very happy after the successful cooperation within the last years to work with you again. What memories do you have of Regensburg?

For many years after '89, our interest was focused the artistic context of Western Europe, focusing on creating a network with the communities from this geographic area and almost neglecting the ones form Central/Eastern Europe, and even the local ones from other cities than the one we were living in. Events like donumenta were a good opportunity to meet up and develop a regional dialogue, which is, I think, very important!

In which way have you changed the focus in your artwork within the last years?

The last 4 years I was focusing on my PhD research, which discussed the 'nationalization' of Brancusi in the Romanian artistic and social context. I enjoyed very much experimenting with this format of mixing text and artistic works and now I am working to transform this research into an artist-book.

How developed the situation for artists in Romania in the last years?

I think nowadays the scene is more diversified, a lot on initiatives popped up but unfortunately there is not much financial support to keep them alive for too long. In 2011 I started, together with art historian Magda Radu, a curatorial project named Salonul de proiecte, which is focused on supporting Romanian emerging artists, producing their work and presenting it in a inter-generational dialogue.

In your actual project, “forbidden”, “unplanned” plants and weeds in the big city of Bucharest are your mainsubject. What are the associations you had and how came up the idea for this project?

Here is a misunderstanding, this is not my project, but a project of my students (Nona Inescu, Dragoș Petrișor, Mihaela Vasiliu) realized under my supervision at the Photo-Video department of the National University of Arts in Bucharest. I chose to invite them to be part of the exhibition, on one hand because I always like to produce opportunities for young artists to show their work in a professional context, and on the other hand I think the subject relevant for the contemporary context and art prectice.

You have developed “Informal Occurrences - Compendium of Spontaneous Vegetation” together with your students. It´s defined as an artistic research where you use strategies of documentations. How did you develop the project precisely and what is the visitor of the donumenta´s exhibition in Bucharest going to see?

I asked from my students to develop a collaborative project and they suggested this idea, to make an 'atlas' of the spontaneous vegetation in Bucharest. initially we planned it in the form of a publication, but for the exhibition we decided that it would be more interesting to present, alongside with the book, an installation composed of documentary photographs and a display cabinet presenting real plants, various species of spontaneous vegetation and their 'potential fossils', imprints on concrete plates.

Regensburg is, compared to Bucharest, nice and small. Could you imagine to do the project in Regensburg? Or, in other words: how would the project change here?

I think the project can be realized in any urban context, it's interesting to discover the local specificities and how nature will always find a way to infiltrate in the economy of any city.