The Venice Questionnaire #8 – Geta Brătescu

The artist on her plans for the Romanian pavilion – and memories of her first time in Venice

Linia (The Line), 2014, HD video, 14 min 50 sec, image, sound. Editing: Ștefan Sava. Courtesy the artist and Ivan Gallery, Bucharest Amintiri din copliărie (Childhood Memories), 1975–78, drawing, watercolour on paper, series of seven pieces, 44 x 56 cm. Photo: Ștefan Sava. Courtesy the artist and Ivan Gallery, Bucharest Jocul formelor (Game of Forms), 2012, collage on paper, series of seven pieces, 27 x 36 cm. Photo: Ștefan Sava. Courtesy the artist and Ivan Gallery, Bucharest Geta Bratescu, Lady Oliver in her travelling costume, 1980–2012, b/w photograph. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, and Ivan Gallery, Bucharest

ArtReview sent a questionnaire to artists and curators exhibiting in and curating the various national pavilions of the 2017 Venice Biennale, the responses to which will be published daily in the lead-up to the Venice Biennale opening (13 May – 26 November).

Geta Brătescu is representing Romania. The pavilion is in the Giardini.

What can you tell us about your exhibition plans for Venice?

Works from different periods and media (film, photography, engraving, collage, installation), starting from the 1960s until today. There are pieces from times when I used to experiment in various manners, alongside the ones from the more recent years, when I dedicated my practice to drawing and collage, with a freedom that I like. They are shapes, not in a narrative drawing that recounts something, but a drawing that – at least to me – suggests dance, movement in space.

How is making a show for the Venice Biennale different to preparing a ‘normal’ exhibition? Or another biennial?

I think it’s different, yes, because the works are integrated and shown in a context that has been dedicated to art creation for a very long time.

What does it mean to ‘represent’ your country? Do you find it an honour or is it problematic?

Venice is an enduring site of culture, beauty and high-quality objects. I think it’s honourable to participate, it is a good thing.

The Venice audience is a diverse group. Who is most important to you? The artists, the gallerists, curators and critics concentrated around the opening, or the general public which visits in the months that follow?

I’m thinking about the general public and the tradition that this city bears in creating and displaying exquisite, yet not common objects. I visited Venice a long time ago, I don’t know its contemporary public anymore. When I was in Venice, the public was made of people who had the mark of the Venetian past.

What’s your earliest or best memory from Venice?

The place I lived in, it was the home of a former grand Venetian nobleman. I also visited back then the Murano glass workshops.

How does a having a pavilion in Venice make a difference to the art scene in your home country?

It’s honourable and it’s positive for the Romanian art scene.

You’ll no doubt be very busy, but what else are you looking forward to seeing?

I’m sorry I can’t travel there anymore, but I vividly remember the Venetian atmosphere, that evokes the artistry of the past. I would probably relive there what I felt at another age, when I was able to travel.

Click here to read all of our questionnaires published so far

11 April 2017