Octavian Eşanu (1966, Moldova) is Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut and curator of AUB Art Galleries. In his artistic career, he has performed many roles, from socialist realist to contemporary artist, art administrator, curator, critic, editor and, more recently, researcher of Soviet/Russian and Middle Eastern art. He was founding director of the Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Chisinau (1995-1999) and produced the first ‘contemporary art’ exhibitions in post-Soviet Moldova.
He is the author of What Does “Why” Mean? (J&L Books, 2005); Transition in Post-Soviet Art (CEU, 2013); Critical Machines (AUB Art Galleries, 2014); Art, Awakening and Modernity in the Middle East: The Arab Nude (Routledge 2017); and co-editor of ARTMargins special issue “Art Periodicals Today” (2016).
In addition to working on the post-socialist transition to capitalism and the institutionalization of contemporary art in Eastern Europe, he has produce exhibitions and publications on topics related to contemporary and modern Middle Eastern art. Some of his most recent projects include Trans-Oriental Monochrome (2015); The Arab Nude (2016), with Kirsten Scheid; Contemporary Artistic Revolutions (2017); and One Hundred Years Closer to Communism (2017). He is part of the editorial collective ARTMargins. In his activities he seeks a common ground between his artistic and scholarly interests. (2017)