Friday, November 30, 2007

Antagonism and Amalgamation.
Inside Ulf Göpfert's Studio
(Gert Röhrborn, Dresden)

(Left: Ulf Göpfert playing on a self-made “Klavizimbel“ in his studio; photograph G.R.)

Ulf Göpfert is a man of clarity. Metaphorically speaking, the professor of architecture who used to be his father placed him in a cradle of Bauhaus school. Göpfert did not just learn and perfect his craftsmanship of furniture restoration; he has appropriated its very essence. His artistic convictions are guidelines valid for shaping his social environment as well.

Göpfert abides by the traditional creed that art is to be derived from proficiency. He is out for the challenge to amalgamate the clarity and linearity of human constructive form with the flux of organic nature. Niki de Saint Phalle has had considerable influence on him. Giving his instincts for play and research full scope, he is excited about the responsibility to determine and use the right moment for the completion of a work of art. Leaving hollow aestheticism behind, it is this decision from which he finally derives the yardstick used to judge success or failure of his entreprise. He is a vehement critic of the contemporary trend towards mindless eclecticism in art and society, as well as egomaniacal ignorance of valid standards and evidence of historical lifeworld. Göpfert is certainly not an iconoclast. He aims at fathering integrated artworks in which art and architecture form “a new object of higher quality“. Mere applications are a nuisance to him. He has further developed these thoughts in a recent tract .

His creative genius has not only been applied to his domicile, an old farmhouse refurbished over the past decades in the greenish outskirts of Dresden. Göpfert’s paintings only rarely tour through galleries; he prefers to place his in-depth-compositions permanently in public space. Whoever approaches this openhearted man will instantly realize: Ulf Göpfert tries to sustain a humane social environment in which exchange and competition instead of command and compliance function as guiding principles. To speak true at the right time is not enough. It is the fertile soil that needs to be tilled if humane and creative deeds may flourish and be reaped in the future.

By taking over political responsibility in the years following the collapse of the Communist regime Göpfert was able to leave his imprints on the Dresden cultural scene. Facing the destructive drive of zeitgeist, he has defended some endangered cultural actors and created space for newcomers. Since bailing out of politics more than 10 years ago he has dedicated his attention entirely to painting. He has not put his critical mind to a rest, though. Sneering at the absurdities of Dresden politics is a temptation he cannot resist forever. He provokes replies, and not in vain: they form an integral part of his art which is not a self-sufficient enterprise at all.

Project information:
Ulf Göpfert contributes „Individuality versus Dictatorship“ to the exhibition.

Visit his webpage

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Written – directed by Alexandru Solomon


This is the unique story of a love and hate triangle built around something one cannot see, touch or weigh: radio waves.

I grew up with it. Every evening, in an underground atmosphere, my father listened to Radio Free Europe as anyone else did. It meant more than information. While Ceausescu’s propaganda had less and less to do with reality, Free Europe’s Romanian section provided - apart from news – some hope. We had no idea it is a CIA operation. Simultaneously, in thousands of houses and blocks across the country, millions of people performed this daily ritual. And, the next day, the words of Free Europe were on everybody’s lips.

On the other side of the Wall, in Munich or Paris, the Radio personnel listened too. They had physically escaped the country but they lived its nightmare on a daily basis. They were hunting any information coming out of the country, meeting immigrants or tourists, receiving secret messages and scanning the Romanian press for hidden hints. But soon they found themselves to be hunted in a more violent way.

Back there in Bucharest, Ceausescu and his men listened to the radio. A special unit – called the “Ether group” – was set up in the Romanian secret police in 1980. While the Romanian population was lead by fear, the Romanian leaders were themselves afraid: of Radio Free Europe. They were enraged because they couldn’t stop the radio waves reach every Romanian household and because they imagined RFE influenced Western cabinets. So they decided to silence the Radio.

The regime engaged in a war. Ceausescu employed Carlos the Jackal. An eccentric alliance was thus forged, between a national-communist dictator and international terrorists. They placed bombs at RFE’s Munich headquarters, editors were attacked in Germany and France, three of the directors died after being X-rayed.

Our film uncovers this unknown and peculiar episode of the final stage of the Cold War, from 1977 until Ceausescu’s downfall in 1989. It strangely predicts our era, that blends extremisms of all colours.

Apparently, what we thought is good prevailed: Radio Free Europe finally won the battle. A Romanian President declared in 1997 that, in winning the Cold War, “RFE has been a lot more important than the armies and the most sophisticated missiles. The 'missiles' that destroyed Communism were launched from Free Europe…” He was right: since then, mass-media replaced conventional weapons in contemporary conflicts. Meanwhile, America – as unchallenged superpower - turned towards other areas of the globe: today, RFE broadcasts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorism found another God, fundamentalism replaced Marxism. Faces might have changed, but if you listen to the voices from the past, you might understand what goes on today.

Treatment: On style or about visualising radio

A film about a non-visual medium could be a bad idea. My approach is to convert this apparent visual poverty into a creative principle. Because, compared to TV, radio holds a certain mystery. As a listener, you never saw the faces of the editors, their studio or surroundings. As a speaker, one could have only imagined his listeners or the Romanian apartments, streets and farms he was talking about. Those in Ceausescu’s apparatus struggled to see with their minds’ eyes the people concealed under the voices. The magic of unveiling all these pictures and confronting our collective characters will nourish our film.

“Cold Waves” brings together three collective characters that have never met before: the listeners, RFE’s personnel, the regime and his killers. “Cold Waves” adds pictures there where one only heard voices.

While Ceausescu was alive, we knew who was Good (the West, mainly the USA) and who the Evil was. Since then, things turned to be more complicated. We have to learn and see beyond black and white. “Cold Waves” is meant to do that. Look at our Radio Free Europe editors: you could be fighting for the right cause and still be part of a dirty game.

More about the film here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Silvestro Lodi mostra personale
Giovedì 29 novembre 2007 ore 17,30
Bistrot de Venise, Venezia
rassegna a cura di Emanuele Horodniceanu
Le opere rimarranno esposte fino al 12 dicembre 2007
Le Bistrot de Venise, Calle Dei Fabbri, S.Marco 4685
+39 0415236651 (tel), +39 0415202244 (fax)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Call for Papers

*"Writing Under Socialism: Past and Present"*
*Location:* United Kingdom
*Call for Papers
Date:* 2008-02-01 *

Papers are invited for an international conference entitled
Writing under Socialism to be held at the University of Nottingham on 11-12
July 2008.

Using a comparative approach that crosses disciplines and continents, this
conference asks for a re-evaluation of the position of writing under
socialist states past and present using new material, theories and
methodologies that have come to light since 1989. We invite contributions
from researchers working on literary production in China, Cuba, the GDR, the
Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, in order to initiate a dialogue between
researchers working in very different fields.

Possible areas for discussion include, but are not restricted to:

Interaction of writers with Party functionaries.
Role of publishers, periodicals, booksellers and literary critics as
mediators between the state, writer and reader.
Role of Writers' Unions as mediators between state and writer.
Methods of censorship and the interaction of external and internal pressures
on the censorship of texts.
Socialist cultural policy in theory and in practice.
Definition of writer/intellectual under socialism.
Role of mass cultural movements in literary production and consumption.
Success of mass cultural movements and their effect on participants.
Writing outside of the state apparatus: underground and unofficial literary
Theoretical approaches to the study of writing under socialism
Meesha Nehru & Sara Jones
School of Modern Languages & Cultures
Trent Building
University of Nottingham


Monday, November 5, 2007

The Exhibition - Aleksander Marek Zyśko (Wrocław)

Cross in Cross 1990
Obelisk 2007
Sickle and Hammer 1991

The Exhibition - Michele Zaggia (Venice)

Unpredicted outcome 2007

The Exhibition - Sándor Pinczehelyi (Pécs)

Almost 30 Years 1973-2002

The Exhibition - Vlad Nancă (Bucharest)

I do not know what union I belong to anymore 2003

Visit his webpage:

The Exhibition - Silvestro Lodi (Venice)

Hanging History - Stock of History 2007 (view 1)
Hanging History - Stock of History 2007 (view 2)

The Exhibition - Harald Hauswald (Berlin)

Time Travels (Brandenburg Gate) 1
Time Travels (Brandenburg Gate) 2
Time Travels (Dresden) 1
Time Travels (Dresden) 2
Time Travels (Berlin sculpture) 1

Time Travels (Berlin sculpture) 2

Visit his webpage:

The Exhibition – Ulf Göpfert (Dresden)

Individuality versus Dictatorship 2008 (model view 1)
Individuality versus Dictatorship 2008 (model view 2)

Visit his webpage:

The Exhibition - Mirela Dauceanu (Bucharest)

Daily Invalid Corruption 1995 - 2008 (view 1)
Daily Invalid Corruption 1995 - 2008 (view 2)
Daily Invalid Corruption 1995 - 2008 (view 3)
Daily Invalid Corruption 1995 - 2008 (view 4)

The Exhibition - Zbigniew Czop (Cracow)

Straszna n.d.
Razem n.d.