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IIn 1865, Edouard Manet’s Olympia is exhibited in the Industry Palace in Paris. A huge scandal blows out because of this particular painting. “Nobody saw with his own eyes such a cynical show before… Women about to become mothers and young girls would better not ever look at such a spectacle…This little painter did not hesitate to throw himself into pornography in order to defy public opinion. Blaspheming the sacred mythology, staining this supreme expression of art – female nude, he painted a prostitute, a barely nubile girl, who doesn’t even weigh properly, he manufactured a lubricious image, entirely worthy of his diabolique friend’s “Fleurs du mal”.

Where is to begin, this devilish carnival? War of worlds is an exhibition about CONFLICT, an exposed social conflict between categories, humans, classes, ideologies – social structures. It is an indictment upon a lost world, isolated, badly lived, in tough, conflictual terms. Every artist is invited to express his/her own frustrations in relation with the world around, the life economy, emotional structure, ideology, religion, sex, race – culture. And all together. What kind of conflict is still possible to burst from watching a contemporary artwork, what kind of approach should we have? When beginning thinking in terms of building situations beyond the ruins of the modern spectacle, one needs to analyze all forces determinating conflict. Antagonism is necessary, physics of opposable forces being able to be read in manifestations like nonintervention, or alienation. Nobody wants a profound change. It’s too deep, too painful, too subversive and it carries the risk of not having a cleary visible goal. Conflict implies assuming the potential of change. Art is a privilege for (few) who need to rejoice at the sprouts of a possible conflict – in (within) its modern essence, conflict was internal, romantic, a conflict of senses. What is it now? In this rather oppressive context (culturally oppressive), the political activism of the masses has been replaced by public rituals of collective mourning, motivated by profound non-satisfaction as to the failure of the promises of globalization, the illusory nature of over- proclaimed “end of ideologies” and the obvious crises of the finance system based on a neo-liberal economic system. Depression and chronic fatigue are major features of our (nowadays) society. Psycho- pharmaceutical management of the population leads to increasing use of legal and illegal drugs. Physical vulnerability is amplified by big epidemics: some new, such as HIV, Ebola, SARS or the bird flu; others, more traditional, like TBC or malaria. Social vulnerability is marked by lack of opportunity, postponing, broken visions and failed ideologies. In the “neo”, “post” or “hash tag” world, identifying with one classic matrix, source of stability, is almost impossible. Health has become more than a public policy: it is a matter of human rights and national interest. The level of public interest on pain and hurting is morbid. We are tempted, and almost obliged by the system to become necrophiliacs. What situation can we still construct in a war of worlds, a conflict of cultures, and where is art in all this uproar?

Participants: Adrian Bîndiu (RO), Liviu Bulea (RO), Andreea Chirică (RO), Răzvan Ion (RO), Aghnie/ Ika Jojua (GE), Yoshinori Niwa (JP), Boris Peianov (RO/DK), Abdellah Taia (MA/FR)

Curated by: Eugen Rădescu