Magazine article Tate Etc.

Ana Lupas

Magazine article Tate Etc.

Ana Lupas

Article excerpt

Just a few years after graduating from the Ion Andreescu Institute of Fine Arts in the north-west Romanian city of Cluj in 1962, Ana Lupas staged her first ambitious collaborative project in Salistea Sibiului, a Transylvanian village located at the edge of the Cindrel Mountains in the Southern Carpathians.

Assigning herself the role of 'initiator', she invited local people-villagers in several farmsteads -to manufacture monumental wreath-like structures using local materials and weaving techniques traditionally employed to make wreaths for harvest festivals. Ears of wheat were sewn or braided on to wire netting, which was stretched across a basic skeleton structure. The large-scale objects were then displayed in homes, against the wooden exteriors of houses, or scattered in farmyards, and photographed by and with the participants who had helped to make them. The process was repeated a number of times that same year in several villagesall rural locations with deeply ingrained pastoral and agricultural traditions.

As far as Lupas was concerned, the artwork was the communal act of making and displaying these ephemeral objects in the locality and the spreading of the activity from farmstead to farmstead, and potentially down through generations to come. Individual pieces might changeand decay, but the artwork persisted as the process continued over time and expanded to involve new participants.

By the mid-1970s, after many dozens of structures had been produced in different villages, the worsening economic and social situation in communist Romania made it difficultfor participants to carry on. Realising that the originals left in situ were gradually deteriorating, Lupas attempted to restore many of them for what would become the second phase of the work's creation during the 1980s, However, this failed, as she saw it, to embody her original concept of the 'infinite dimension of the installation'. …

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