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Geta Brătescu / MATRIX 254

July 25, 2014 - September 28, 2014

Geta Brătescu: Mrs. Oliver in her traveling costume, 1985, reprinted 2012; gelatin silver print; 15⅜ × 15½ in.; courtesy the artist; Galerie Ivan, Bucharest; and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin.

Download the exhibition brochure (PDF).

MATRIX 254 features the work of Romanian artist Geta Brătescu (b. 1926), who has been living and working in Bucharest since the 1950s. Working across a wide range of media (graphic design, drawing, video, textiles, performance, installation, photography, and printmaking), Brătescu is a central figure in postwar Romanian art. Having exhibited regularly in Romania throughout her career, she has maintained a rigorous studio practice that continues into the present. Due primarily to Communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu’s totalitarian regime (1967–89), which suppressed the work of avant-garde artists living and working in Romania, and the subsequent political isolation of the country, Brătescu’s work was little known to international audiences until fairly recently. For MATRIX 254, Brătescu’s first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum, the artist presents a focused selection of key works made between the years 1974 and 2000.

The space of Brătescu’s studio assumes a pivotal position within the artist’s oeuvre, as exemplified in an early video, The Studio (1978), where we see the artist creating work inside this intimate room. The camera (operated by fellow artist Ion Grigorescu) pans over artworks that fill the space and captures the playful, experimental approach that characterizes her practice. Related to the performances Brătescu carried out in the studio is her frequent use of role-playing and self-portraiture, as in the photograph Mrs. Oliver in her traveling costume (1985), where she dons an alter ego. Drawing and collage have also been mainstays of her practice. In the series Memorie (Memory) (1990), Brătescu presents forty unique, abstract collages, all black and deep indigo painted on paper. Made just after the Romanian Revolution in 1989, these works subtly conjure her deep reflection on this dark period of her personal and national history.

Geta Brătescu / MATRIX 254 is organized by Apsara DiQuinzio, curator of modern and contemporary art and Phyllis C. Wattis MATRIX Curator. The MATRIX Program is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.