Mona Vătămanu and Florin Tudor
have been working together since 2000. In a practice that spans a variety of media—from installation to painting to photography to film—their work is dedicated to an exploration of the formal manifestations of and shifts in ideologies (be they communist or capitalist). The artists engage with the politics of memory in their examination of the material and symbolic remains of ideologies. Their work does not shy away from addressing the inherent violence of historical transformations, to paraphrase Marx, neither the possibilities for individual political action under these conditions.
Vătămanu and Tudor belong to a specific generation in Romania: a generation born during the baby boom, which began in the late sixties (and was to a large degree influenced by the biopolitical measures of the Ceausescu regime), who came of age on the barricades of the Romanian Revolution in December 1989 and during the spring and summer protests of 1990. After the enthusiasm and solidarity forged during the Revolution, and the subsequent profound disillusionment caused by the violent repression of the 1990 protests by fellow citizens who were instrumentalized by the new regime, this generation played a key role in establishing the dominant ideological framework in Romania over the last twenty years. The resulting hegemonic culture is fundamentally rooted in anticommunism—a stance that has come to reject any strains of progressive thinking implying models of social solidarity or collective action, as well as any attempts to critically negotiate the memory of the communist past together with its preceding history and subsequent transition. In this parochial environment of constant historical self-victimization, Vătămanu and Tudor’s voices are exceptional, defined by their engagement in revisiting this history—its forms of representations and its narratives of memory—but also through their bold sense of universalism, seeing their position and responsibility in a public arena that goes beyond the confines of Romanian culture.