Adina Pintilie: You Are Another Me—A Cathedral of the Body

Representing Romania at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, artist and filmmaker Adina Pintilie presents the project You Are Another Me—A Cathedral of the Body, which is composed of a multi-channel video installation and a virtual reality extension. The opening reception will take place on April 21, 2022, at the Romanian Pavilion, in Giardini della Biennale, starting at 5:15 pm, while the opening at the New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research in Venice is scheduled for April 22, 2022, at 4 pm.

Curated by Cosmin Costinaș and Viktor Neumann, the project marks the latest stage of Pintilie’s multi-platform research on the politics and poetics of intimacy and the body. While contributing to the current conversations towards reassessing the normative in gender, sexuality, bodily ability and diversity, You Are Another Me explores, in the grammar of an art installation, how we relate to each other and to our own bodies. Emerging from Pintilie’s personal experiences, background, and research, and nurtured by her long-term collaboration with the protagonists, the artist’s idiosyncratic methodology explores the central role of intimacy in the everyday, centering on embodied practices and deep psychological investigations inspired by Family Constellations, attachment theory, psychosomatics, trauma therapy, and bodywork practices. It proposes possibilities to see, to think, and to relate, that destabilise ingrained visual rhetoric and politics of the gaze, making way for new forms of knowing and transformative experiences.
According to curators Cosmin Costinaș and Viktor Neumann:“Pintilie’s contribution to the Romanian Pavilion is inscribed in a lineage of artists who have responded over the past two decades to the question of national representation. It continues a conversation about who represents the nation and who is excluded, about collective shame and responsibility, on the background of Romanian society’s fraught history of dealing with intimacy, sexuality, and bodily diversity, and by extension with solidarity between the individuals forming a perpetually fractured nation. Against the backdrop of a public sphere haunted by biopolitical control, religious and cultural conservatism, and a traditionally corrosive climate of shame, the Romanian Pavilion is conceived as a site to reflect upon the body as a device to process recognised and unrecognised history, trauma, and desires. Engaging with these complex narratives of institutionalised normativity and their habitual denial of the body, Pintilie transforms the historically loaded Romanian Pavilion into a contemporary ‘cathedral’ that celebrates the body and human connections beyond any preconceptions.”

The main exhibition space in Giardini della Biennale hosts a nine-channel video installation that is encouraged to be experienced in its entirety. It revolves around Pinitlie’s community of collaborators, spanning across countries, generations, and backgrounds: performers Hermann Müller and Dirk Lange, disability rights activists Christian Bayerlein and Grit Uhlemann, performer and teacher Laura Benson, transgender activist and sex worker Hanna Hofmann, as well as the artist and filmmaker herself. In different setups, they explore intimacy together, relating to each other through conversation, caring, dance, or touching. Thus, You Are Another Me works with bodies being tender towards each other, bodies providing support to one another in their ongoing self-discoveries and self-actualisations, bodies making other bodies feel desired and desirable, bodies that embrace conflicts in their relationships as a means to understand the other as much as oneself at a deeper level.

The Pavilion is divided into two different yet complementary areas: the darker and larger space allows for processes of communication, bonds of intimacy, and is an invitation to self-reflection and to permeate the screen between the protagonists and the public. A second, brightly designed space references the serene aesthetic legacy of the heterotopic site for collective and restorative self-discovery introduced by Pintilie in Touch Me Not (her feature film that won the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2018), exposing the visitors to each other and to each other’s potential for transformation and healing.
Statement by curators Cosmin Costinaș and Viktor Neumann: “There is a particular timeliness about Adina Pintilie’s project: today, once again, the body has become a contested site for ideologies, a pretext for cultural and political anxiety, brought to the extreme by the recent outbreak of an atrocious war on the European continent, motivated by an imperialist, nationalist ideology and fascist ethos. Amidst this resurgence of right-wing ideologies, seen throughout the world and accelerated during the pandemic—which also saw a hijacking of the discourses on body autonomy—Pintilie imagines a contemporary site for the transgression of divisions towards mutual affection and devotion.”

The project finds an extension through a virtual reality installation in the New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research in Venice. Encountering the protagonists in a simulated 3-D environment and exploring the increasingly blurred boundaries between virtuality and corporeality, the installation thus challenges traditional notions of physical presence as prerequisite for intimacy, accessibility, and agency.

You Are Another Me—A Cathedral of the Body was chosen to represent Romania at La Biennale di Venezia 2022 by a jury of visual art professionals via an open call organised by the Romanian Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Romanian Cultural Institute. The exhibition is open to the public over the course of La Biennale, April 23 – November 27, 2022.
A project produced by: Manekino Cultural Association

Organisers: Romanian Ministry of Culture, Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romanian Cultural Institute

Co-producers: Manekino Film, Avanpost, Snaporazverein

In collaboration with: Augmented Space Agency, ARRI Lighting, Eidotech, H3 & Kaustik, Mimic Productions

Institutional partners: Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) Berlin, Goethe-Institut Bukarest, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart, Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media, ERSTE Foundation

Academic partners: UNATC National University of Theatre and Film “I.L. Caragiale” in Bucharest, CESI-Centre of Excellence in Image Studies Bucharest, “George Enescu” National University of Arts Iași, University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, Università Iuav di Venezia  

Private partners: Tudor Havriliuc & David Corbell, Andrei Dunca, UniCredit Bank, Groupama, Vinexpert, Grup Transilvae, Anca Poterașu Gallery, ARAC Romanian Contemporary Art Association, KGP Filmproduktion, Sky Tour, Christa Gebert 

Catalogue and public programme partners: Spector Books, Dispozitiv Books, Cărturești, Motivation Romania Foundation, Mozaiq Association

Media and monitoring partners: TVR, Radio Guerrilla, Radio România Cultural, Europa Liberă România, Radio România Internațional, Deutsche Welle, Allgemeine Deutsche Zeitung, Revista Arta, Scena9, Kajet Journal, Observator Cultural, DoR | Decât o Revistă, Propagarta, HotNews, Libertatea, Elle, Avantaje,, The Institute, LiterNet, Modernism, mediaTRUST


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