Ion Grigorescu

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Smoking self portrait, lithograph, 1975

Born 1945 in Romania. Member of Prolog group. Grigorescu publish journal pages various texts and about history of photography in magazines Arta and Secolul 20. He is one of the very few multimedia artists in Romania who during the communist regime conducted visual research on the body: a taboo topic at the time. The artist’s body became work “material”—perceived as a “medium” and surface—onto which mental images are reflected. His body performances are to be seen as “post-happenings” with the emphasis no longer on the temporal dimension but rather on the photographic snapshot that, however, preserves a performative character. These works, like many others from the 1970s and 80s, would go public only much later.

When I started recording events, back in the 1970s, I was not too much into theory; my relationship was in fact with technology. It exerted a kind of magnetism on me similar to that of the TV set, or to the vision provided by the camera obscura, or to looking through spy holes, or to voyeurism. It was leading to the same solitude and illusion of communication as the Internet platform of today. In the 1980s, my vision on this changed. I stopped being interested in the actual recording process, and developed an interest in living among others, in society, in finding my own place among people. My comeback in the 1990s made me finally think that performing in everyday life may be a dangerous thing to do, and so is improvising ad infinitum Ion Grigorescu,statement.


Election Meeting, snapshot, 1975. Courtesy: Artist.
  • Election Meeting, 1975, 28 photographs, b/w, 20 x 30 cm each. Snapshots taken during a rally in Bucharest, with a camera hidden on the artist’s hip, catching Securitate agents supervising the crowd and contrasting this view with that of with the ordinary participants, who were relaxed, tired, or bored.
  • Dialogue with Ceauşescu, 1978, N8mm film / DVD, 7 min 11 sec. Here, the artist plays two opposing roles, in one of which he is wearing a mask with the face of Ceauşescu [1].
  • Post-mortem Dialogue with Ceauşescu, 2007, Video / DVD, 22 min 29 sec.



  • Ion Grigorescu, Omul cu o singur cameră / The Man with a Single Camera, edited by Alina Şerban, with contributions by Maria Alina Asavei, Nuno Faria, Klara Kemp-Welch, Anders Kreuger, Ileana Pintilie, Alina Şerban, Erste Foundation and Kontakt. Art Collection, 2013

See also

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