Advertisement

Anca Munteanu Rimnic

PSM Gallery, Berlin, Germany

The sound of footsteps emanates from a pair of tap-dancing shoes on the floor of PSM Gallery, an aural frame for Anca Munteanu Rimnic’s exhibition ‘Simulanta’. The black shoes, which are titled Device (2017) and house two small porcelain ducks, were worn by the artist a few days before the opening, as she traced the walls of the exhibition, recording her various movements and pauses. Now, her presence lingers over the works like a friendly ghost, teasing viewers with its reticence.

anca_munteanu_rimnic_show_simulanta_installation_view1_photo_nick_ash.jpg

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Giving further form to this sense of playful reluctance, Pucci (Well, That the Eyes Are Not Yet the Brain) (2017) sees a glazed ceramic stork coyly turn its face to the wall. In stark contrast to the bird’s reserve, a faint recording of an opera singer plays within the sculpture: a particularly bold passage from Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème (1895), performed and recorded, again, in the gallery prior to the opening. In this oscillation between presence and absence, performance and withdrawal, Munteanu Rimnic plays a game with the supposed fixity of identity, continuously encouraging and defying our expectations.

Born in Romania, but raised mostly in Germany, notions of heritage and otherness often find their way into the artist’s work. In mischievous riposte, she employs time-honoured Romanian weaving techniques, not to romanticize local craftsmanship but to undermine exoticizing desires to find within that removed locality something of ‘cultural significance’. Concrete Portrait I and II (both 2013) are hand-woven depictions of such mundane features as a puddle and a hook on a wall. What do you want from me, Munteanu Rimnic seems to ask, my national identity cast in bronze? Spoon (2017), a typically Romanian stirring tool ordinarily made out of wood, is exactly that.

anca_munteanu_rimnic_portrait-2016-70x77-unique-stichery-japonese-ink-wool-thread_photo_ancamunteanurimnic.jpg

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Portrait, 2011, stitchery, japanese ink, woollen thread, 70 x 60 cm. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Portrait, 2011, stitchery, japanese ink, woollen thread, 70 x 60 cm. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Two large photographs, Simulanta I and II (both 2017), capture a dancer struggling under a traditional Romanian rug. Somehow less convincing as objects than ideas, these works testify to the ways in which, for Munteanu Rimnic, the process that precedes the work takes prominence – not only over the critique that ensues, but also over its material outcome. In this respect, as well as in the various unseen performances that prefigured the exhibition, there is a disregard for audience, even a rejection of publicness. As a contrived container for sprawling content, the structure of an exhibition has a lot in common with that of identity. But while exhibitions are made for viewers, such a comparison beckons the question: who is identity for? Here, by way of an answer, Munteanu Rimnic denies the audience the pleasure of identity as spectacle. Her dancer is concealed by a rug that is heavy in both matter and signification, her movements made awkward and clumsy as a result. Here is a challenge to the feminist dictum that ‘the personal is political’. Because while there is a certain truth to that, in chasing such a definition we risk squandering the personal as an increasingly precious space for the idiosyncratic, secret and nonsensical. 

anca_munteanu_rimnic_show_simulanta_installation_view2_photo_nick_ash.jpg

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

In Eliza (2014), a conversation between the artist and a thusly-named psychoanalytic computer programme developed in 1966, Munteanu Rimnic wrestles with this demand for her inner world to fit an un-sexy, pre-determined, psychic schema. ‘Explain how I can be of assistance to you’, Eliza says in a framed transcript of their exchange. ‘Lick my pussy first’, the patient instead demands. ‘I feel that you’re still holding something back’ is the computer’s oblivious reply. With ‘Simulanta’, Munteanu Rimnic makes an argument for privacy and agency, not as placeholders for bourgeois libertarianism, but for eccentricity, spontaneity and play; for trial and error, and for art as an opportunity to undo coherence. 

Main image: Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Simulanta I (detail), 2017, c-type print mounted on aluminium, 190 x 160 cm. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Kristian Vistrup Madsen is an arts and culture writer based in Berlin, Germany.

Issue 190

First published in Issue 190

October 2017
Advertisement

Most Read

Why does the ‘men’s rights’ guru to the alt-right surround himself with Soviet-era memorabilia, which he doesn’t even...
Alongside a centuries-old collection of Old Masters, Delftware and Chinoiserie, the Devonshires continue to commission...
In a Victorian-era baths in Glasgow, the artist stages her largest performance project to date, featuring a 24-woman...
In further news: UK class gap impacting young people’s engagement with the arts; Uffizi goes digital; British Museum...
Italian politicians want to censor the artist’s poster for a sailing event, which reads ‘We’re all in the same boat’
A newly-published collection of the artist’s journals allows silenced voices to speak
The arrest of the photojournalist for ‘provocative comments’ over Dhaka protests makes clear that personal liberty...
The auction house insists that there is a broad scholarly consensus that the record-breaking artwork be attributed to...
‘We need more advocates across gender lines and emphatic leaders in museums and galleries to create inclusive,...
In further news: artists rally behind detained photographer Shahidul Alam; crisis talks at London museums following...
Criticism of the show at the Hungarian National Gallery in Budapest comes alongside a nationalist reshaping of the...
A retrospective at Munich’s Museum Brandhorst charts the artist’s career from the 1980s to the present, from ‘fem-trash...
At the National Theatre of Wales, a performance alive with wild, tactile descriptions compels comparison between the...
There are perils in deploying bigotry to score political points, but meanings also shift from West to East
‘It’s ridiculous. It’s Picasso’: social media platform to review nudity policy after blocking Montreal Museum of Fine...
The first public exhibition of a 15th-century altar-hanging prompts the question: who made it?
Poland’s feminist ‘Bison Ladies’ storm the Japanese artist’s Warsaw exhibition in solidarity with longtime model Kaori’...
An art historian and leading Leonardo expert has cast doubt on the painting’s attribution
How will the Black Panther writer, known for his landmark critical assessments of race, take on the quintessential...
The dissident artist has posted a series of videos on Instagram documenting diggers demolishing his studio in the...
In further news: artists for Planned Parenthood; US court rules on Nazi-looted Cranachs; Munich’s Haus der Kunst...
A mother’s death, a father’s disinterest: Jean Frémon’s semi-factual biography of the artist captures a life beyond...
Jostling with its loud festival neighbours, the UK’s best attended annual visual art festival conducts a polyphonic...
It’s not clear who destroyed the project – part of the Liverpool Biennial – which names those who have died trying to...
Dating from 1949 to the early 1960s, the works which grace the stately home feel comfortable in the ostentatious pomp...
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018