• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Geta Brătescu

Geta Brătescu began her work as an artist, which continues to this day, in the heterogeneous and provocative intellectual milieu of 1940s and 1950s Romania. She experienced the political upheavals in her home country brought about by socialism and its eventual collapse in late 1989.

Beginning in the 1970s, she developed a cross-media concept for space-referential, performative works in which she examines the relationship between the body and the surrounding space. Brătescu turned to film and photography, taking advantage of the possibilities they offered. This implied an expansion of her process into the realm of the spatial—usually embodied by her studio. She thus transformed her accustomed media of painting and/or drawing into performative scenarios, overcoming the material and aesthetic boundaries to which such media are usually subject. Within the logic of her experimental modus operandi, Brătescu deals in a highly reflective and self-referential manner with both the body and the self-portrait; she examines the conventions of portraying the body, as well as the conceptual possibilities of photography, film, and ultimately the “institutional” context of the artist, who—in her situation in a socialist country—was restricted primarily to her studio and other non-public spaces. Brătescu is concerned with ambivalence, with an obvious, inherent contradiction that remains unresolved. In order to generate this status of ambivalence, she generates opposite figures—such as “black” to oppose “white,” or “real” and “materiality” to oppose “abstract.” She sets a chronological process in motion that runs both forwards and backwards, deliberately leaving open the issues of subject and object, of real and abstract space.



Born in Ploiesti, Romania, 1926.

Brătescu studied with George Călinescu and Tudor Vianu at the Faculty of Letters of the University of Bucharest (Romania) from 1945 to 1949. From 1969 to 1971 she studied at the Institute of Arts “Nicolae Grigorescu” in Bucharest. In 1945 Brătescu enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts under the guidance of Master Camil Ressu, but was forced to discontinue due to the communist censorship. In 2008 she received the title “Doctor Honoris Causa” of the National University of Arts in Bucharest, given for outstanding contribution to the development of contemporary Romanian Art. Furthermore Brătescu is artistic director of the literature and art magazine “20/21 Century”. She has received several national and international awards.

Lives and works in Bucharest, Romania.

Solo Exhibitions (selection):

2017 “Geta Brătescu, Apparitions", Biennale di Venezia, Romanian Pavillion, Venice, Italy

2011 “Museum of Desire“, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Wien Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2010 “Alteritate“, Mezzanin Gallery, Vienna, Austria

2009 “Spaces - 1971-2005“, Ivan Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

2008 “Geta Brătescu “, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria

2007 “Resources“, MNAC National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania

2003 CIAC International Center for Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania

Group Exhibitions (selection):

2017 documenta 14, Athens, Greece / Kassel, Germany

2012 “Geta Brătescu, Intense Proximity“, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

2011 “Ostalgia“, New Museum, New York City, USA

2010 “Image at Work“, Index - Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden

2009 “Gender Check. Femininity and Masculinity in Eastern European Art“, Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2008 "Social Cooking Romania“, NGBK Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany

2007 “Resources“, MNAC National Museum for Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania

2006 “Arteast Collection 2000+23“, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2004 “formate/moving patterns. Bukarest ca.2004“, Kunsthalle Wien project space, Vienna, Austria

2003 “Ego“, International Center for Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania

2002 “In Search of Balkania“, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Radu, Magda, Ursan, Diana, eds., Babias, Marius, ed. assoc. 2017. Geta Brătescu : Apparitions. London: Koenig Books in cooperation with Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) [Exhib. Cat., Biennale di Venezia (May 10 – Nov. 26, 2017)]


Gaßner, Hubertus, Köhle, Brigitte. Geta Brătescu. Retrospective 2016. Hamburg: Snoeck. [Exhib. Cat., Hamburger Kunsthalle (April 30 - Aug. 7, 2016)]


Şerban, Alina. ed. 2013. Geta Brătescu. Atelierul / The Studio. Berlin: Sternberg Press.


Gantenbein, Gabriela, ed. 2011. Geta Brătescu. Vienna: Passagen Kunst.


Balaci, Ruxandra, ed. 1999. Geta Brătescu. Texts by Nicolae Argintescu Amza et al. Bucharest: International Center for Contemporary Arts.



Other Media


Radu, Magda. 2012. Geta Brătescu. Interview by Magda Radu. Project coordinated by Aurora Király. Bucharest: Witnesses XXI – Revisiting the Past), 1 DVD (40 min.)

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