Last year, in February, in the midst of a scandal, the project “Romanian Homophobia Week” was launched, being constituted of symbolical sequences of the life and history of national homophobia. The source of inspiration – the boycotting by certain people from the administration of the hosting institution – The Museum of the Romanian Peasant (MRP) – of a film projection organized within the LGBT history month (LGBT standing for lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender). The visual and literary materials unfolded during the gallery project have made up a true archive, that was promoted by the Visual Kontakt team in the online space and which, in turn, serves at the present as the essentials which could be materialized for the creation of a homophobic festival.
If the MRP initiative proved to be a failure and was equally unpleasing, probably due to the decisional and administrative heterogeneity, as it led to a disguised form of conserving the cultural values of the Romanian people – in the sense of sexual preferences in tune with Christian aspirations and ancient traditions – Visual Kontakt Laboratory assumes the role of resetting into focus these values from the point of view of the contemporary Romanian’s way of thinking. Again, the connections to the historical past are also taken into consideration but the issue at hand rather concerns the sanctioning and affirmation at any cost of the archetypal structures that are at the basis of the official sexual orientation. The degree of endurance before the so-called sexual minorities is pushed to its limit, up to the point of absurdity. Eccentric from the perspective of its idea and aesthetics, the Bad Colours project represents a perfectly viable exercise of intolerance and, at the same time, takes on the form of a festive parade.
The installations reveal themselves as a succession of events and frames for progression, which make way for public manifestations. However, the intimate atmosphere which characterizes certain segments of the exhibition is countered by the pompousness and the cluster of objects. We speak of a space which bends before the exigencies of the audience, self-censoring its components.
The labyrinth of images proposes a symbolical infiltration into the already constituted archive of Romanian homophobia, letting certain aspects come to life, in the form of a game, a parade, the object itself or the absence of it. The disintegration of a social reality and of the connections which this reality is bestowed within the traditional Romanian milieus is transposed into a metaphor through the creation of a sensation of confinement, in the reflection and concentration into what we may call an underground event. Bad Colours makes reference to the stigmatization of any type of life style – other than the ones which have become classic, to the blaming of any type of cultural orientation which does not derive out of already traditional backgrounds, to the deviations which are seen as troublesome in what regards private life and the consequences of these deviations on family as an institution, to the denunciation of a certain state of rebellion meant to damage the state of normality which societies, in their uniformity, have created and built up throughout history.
The Bad Colours project invites us to experience neutrality. The abolishment of a conflict takes the form of a rebellion which grows quietly until it uses up its own resources. The cluster of objects in a limited space entices different forms of public manifestation, anticipating at the same time the vapid end in the cold war of the sexual species: a meaningless battle and an absurd debate, the occurrence of which is attributed to the contrasts between the conventional and the unconventional.
The resources of the rebellion are permanently fueled by repressions, echoes, eruptions and disturbances; homophobia is per se a social phenomenon which is sporadically and violently reborn from the same palette. By isolating the phenomenon and reducing it to the raw manifestation of the conflict between two completely separate entities, the current exhibition has the necessary force to quantify, through the pure contrast between the two opposites, a black and white rainbow on the scale of current sexual ethics.
Olimpia Bera, Ph.D.
Visual Kontakt curator