Kinema Ikon

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kinema ikon is the oldest active experimental art group in Romania. Founded in 1970 as a multimedia atelier at the art school in Arad it is currently hosted by the Arad's History Museum and Art Museum. More than forty years of existence are the result of an optimal equilibrium between the participative, collaborative or group projects, and the individual works. Something between the satisfaction of the collective creation and the satisfaction of the auctorial egotism. Therefore, the stylistic mark of kinema ikon occurs from the interdisciplinary approach of a certain medium (film, video, hypermedia) with the specific tools of the different fields its members are active in (artists, writers, architects, photographers, musicians, programmers, etc.)


kinema ikon has undergone different stages: experimental film (1970-1989), video art (1990-1993), hypermedia (interactive installations, CD-ROM,, 1994-2005), and from 2006 hypermedia and hybrid media. Both individual works and the group works Opera Prima (1996 [1]), Commedia del Multimedia (1996 [2]), alteridem.exe (2003 [3]) and Hymera (2005 [4]) - are stylistically characterized by experimental, eclectic and playful forms of expression. The resulting works are sensible objects, having an aspect of digital chimera, set in a non-linear fictional discourse, allowing multiple possibilities to the users interactive approach.

In the 1970s the group participated with its films at the Fiction Short Films festival in Brno (1973), and Abstract Animation festival in Krakow (1977).

In the 1980s the group organised two Intermedia symposiums in the Arad's City Theatre under the theme The Image (1984, [5]), and The Interval (1988, [6]).

1990-1993 Conversatia magazine. Editorial staff: igia holuta [chief-editor] / valentin constantin / george sabau / florin didilescu / liliana trandabur / florin hornoiu / ioan galea / ovidiu pecican / ionel nistor / viorel simulov / calin man / maria rosculet / traian rosculet / iosif stroia [design].

Since 1994 the group publishes the intermedia magazine, the theoretical dimension of its members interest in the new media. Editorial staff (1994-2005): george sabau / peter hügel / judit angel / caius grozav / andreea bencsik / liliana trandabur / paul george bodea / roxana chereches / adrian sandu / romulus bucur / calin man ,[design.chief-editor]. Editorial staff (since 2006): the authors.

By the early seventies, the most representative movements of making

"art by numbers" in Romania were the Sigma group in Timisoara (Constantin Flondor, Stefan Bertalan, Roman Cotosman and Doru Tulcan) and Kinema Ikon, the circle of experimental film in Arad led by George Săbău. The first was intimately connected to a neo-constructivist (Bauhaus-like) practice both in creation and teaching, while the second was a rather structuralist-borne implant in experimental film-making. Although "sigma" was very well-known and held in high esteem (even by the political establishment of the time), whereas Kinema Ikon was barely known at all, pursuing its research in a rather silent if not hidden manner, both groups shared, in the words of one of the "sigma" manifestoes, "the reconsideration of the environment as an object of artistic research" and they aimed, manifestly, at the development of an "intelligence able to adapt them to a future culture" inescapably marked by "the development of an algorithmic culture". Structures, frames, schemes, recurrent invariants, technical manipulation, calculation, repetition and scientific-like insight were the main marks of their aesthetic outlook. "Organizational" and meliorist, positivist and centripetal, highly "humanistic" in a contemporary sense, such artistic endeavors are nonetheless stamped by that profoundly Utopian drive of the historical avant-garde. Their unexpressed goal was to regain a certain, "alternative transcendence" for our times, one that was believed to be controllable, science-based, computational, and eventually thoroughly intelligible.

Source: Erwin Kessler, "Making Art by Numbers", Plural 1, 2000.


George Sabau, multimedia theorist; Calin Man, media artist; Alin Gherman, programmer; Judit Angel, art critic and curator; Peter Hügel, archaeologist; Caius Grozav, programmer, Romuls Bucur, poet; Roxana Chereches, philologist; Ioan Ciorba, sound engineer; a.o.



  • Paris, 1989
  • Worx. Kinema Ikon retrospect '70-'05, Art Museum Arad (Nov 2005) and MNAC Bucharest (Oct 2005-Feb 2006). 7 modules, with 14 screens/displays, reflecting the stages underwent: experimental films / mixed media / hypermedia: CD ROM, installations and net works. Curators: Raluca Velisar and Stefan Tiron. [7], [8], announcement.


Publications, catalogues[edit]

  • Conversația, magazine, 1990-1993. (Romanian)


  • Călin Dan, "Filmul experimental, scriere și lectură", Revista Arta 6, 1985, pp 35-36. (Romanian)
  • Ion Indolean, "Memory as Experiment", in Kinema Ikon: Films, 1979-2020, Bucharest: Dark Publishing, 2019, pp 230-233. (English)
  • Sabin Bors, "Memorial Ergonomy", in Kinema Ikon: Films, 1979-2020, Bucharest: Dark Publishing, 2019, pp 238-241. (English)
  • Adriana Oprea, "Magie putreda", in Kinema Ikon: Films, 1979-2020, Bucharest: Dark Publishing, 2019, pp 242-246. (Romanian)
  • Radu Toderici, "ki", Steaua 71:11, Nov-Dec 2020, pp 108-110. (Romanian)

See also[edit]

Romania#Experimental_film.2C_avant-garde_film, Romania#Video_art