EXHIBITIONS

Ciprian Muresan – Recycled Playground

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Ciprian Muresan – Recycled Playground

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07 Feb, 2013 to 07 Apr, 2013

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The Contemporary Art Gallery presents the first solo institutional exhibition in North America for Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan. Artistic and literary works are the starting point for Muresan who appropriates them in a reflective project that intersects with the recent history of Romania and other Eastern European countries and, more generally, ponders the realities of the contemporary world. Included in the show are two newly commissioned pieces by the Contemporary Art Gallery with our partners FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva: an installation, Recycled Playground, which gives the exhibition its title and overarching tone, and a companion video Protesting Against Myself. A selection of other significant works is also presented. Juggling humour and critique, the artist highlights the structures and processes of all forms of power.

Muresan’s videos, drawings and installations oft—en reuse iconic works of art or literature, re-contextualized to present an ironic take on the governing ideologies and power structures at large, whether political, social or economic. Through characteristic dark humour, Muresan evokes the realities of present day societies, their ambivalence toward recent history and political change with consequent loss of traditions and local products, and a broader Eastern European fascination with the cultures of the West. Protesting Against Myself (2011) is a 30 minute video compiled from short scenes filmed in a dumpster which improvises as a stage for a puppet show. While the conversation between the two characters centres on revolt and protest in the very specific context of Romania since the fall of Ceausescu, its implications on the current state of global politics are all too easily understood.

Recycled Playground (2011) was inspired by the rusting remains of a train the artist saw daily in an abandoned park in Cluj-Napoca where he lives and works. Here the piece conjures a childhood fantasy to create a train set which is at once disenchanted and tinged with melancholy comprising as it does three garbage cans trundling around the gallery room. Similarly suggestive of an end to optimism is the photograph, Leap into the Void, Aftšer Three Seconds (2004), a remake of Yves Klein’s Saut dans le vides (1960œ). However instead of showing Klein mid-air, arms outstretched, Muresan’s version shows the artist lying flat on the ground in a Cluj street.

While the actual situation in Eastern European countries is a starting point, it is one that forms a far-ranging reflection on a contemporary world characterized by a demise of utopian thinking and the domination of models of entertainment — a consensual, globalized culture of consumption. With reference to such forms, humour and play become the vehicles for the propositions within Muresan’s work. The Second Invasion from Mars (2010) comprises a table of 21 books by authors such as Homer, Artaud, Kafka and Kundera. Inserted into each book is a drawing inspired by the science fiction story from 1967œ  of the same title by writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Now regarded as a parable of the Soviet system, the story dissects the mechanisms of totalitarianism with a wry wit parallel to that of Muresan. In many works within the exhibition, the central figure of a child is pictured or evoked. Choose (2005) is one such video, a short 45 seconds looped. The artist’s son is pictured deliberating on Pepsi and Coca-Cola, a damning depiction on ongoing transformation, branding and consumption. The young boy becomes a metaphor for an almost ambient reception of certain dominant ideology, a symptom of contemporary life of increasingly standardized thought and homogeneity of identity.

This exhibition has been organized in collaboration with FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, France and the Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland.

Ciprian Muresan is represented by Plan B, Cluj / Berlin; Andreiana Mihail Gallery, Bucharest; Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles and David Nolan Gallery, New York.

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Artists/Participants:
Ciprian Muresan  



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Related Learning

Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan discusses his work. Presented in collaboration with Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

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Artist Talk | Ciprian Muresan


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Artist Ciprian Mureşan discusses his exhibition ‘Recycled Playground’ at the Contemporary Art Gallery, February 8 to April 7, 2013. Video by Brian Lye.

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Video | Ciprian Muresan


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Colin Browne’s most recent book of poems, ‘The Properties’ was the prompt for this special Feedback talk. Readings and discussion points from Colin Browne led an inquiry into the idea of ‘documentary’ in relationship to the works on display. Colin Browne is a filmmaker, writer, film historian, a professor of film in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, and a poet who has been nominated for the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry.

The Feedback series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Colin Browne: Readings and Talk


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Dominic McIver Lopes is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy at UBC, President of the American Society for Aesthetics, a member of the British Society of Aesthetics, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. He is also co-editor (with Berys Gaut) of Wiley- Blackwell’s New Directions in Aesthetics. His work focuses on pictorial representation and perception; the aesthetic and epistemic value of pictures, and the ontology of art. He is working on two books entitled Beyond Art and Four Arts of Photography. Tonight he explores taste and suggests new ways of thinking about contemporary art practices.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Dominic McIver Lopes: Acquired Taste - What's the point?


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Iglika Ivanova is an Economist and Public Interest Researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In her talk both her personal and professional world play a part as she encounters Ciprian Muresan’s work. Born and raised in Bulgaria she understands the shifting global politics in the global world as well as a need for radical change in the local communities. Ivanova holds an MA in Economics from the University of British Columbia and a BA in Economics from Simon Fraser University.

This series invites cultural and critical producers to present thoughts and ideas rooted in their own interests and practices, and invites audiences to join in the conversations that will explore relevant contemporary issues, theories, ideas and culture.

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Iglika Ivanova: From East to West


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