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

Most Read

In further news: white supremacist vandals attack Rothko Chapel; Israeli minister bans art produced in solidarity with...
To experience the music of the composer, who passed away last week at the age of 69, was to hear something tense,...
In a year charged with politicized tensions, mastery of craft trumps truth-to-power commentary
The US writer, who died last week, brought a quality of inestimable importance to the modern novel: a mind that was...
The $21M painting was the highest price ever paid for a work by a living African American artist at auction
Royal bodies, the ‘incel’ mindset and those Childish Gambino hot-takes: what to read this weekend
In further news: women wearing rainbow badges beaten in Beijing’s 798; gallerists Georg Kargl and Richard Gray have...
‘Coping as a woman in France is a daily battle: the aggression can be subtle, and you always have to push harder to...
The rapper and artist have thoughts about originality in art; Melania Trump tries graphic design – all the latest...
The dilapidated Nissen hut from which Rachel Whiteread will take a cast
Yorkshire residents complain that the concrete sculpture of a ‘Nissen hut’ will attract excrement, vandalism and litter
Poul Erik Tøjner pays tribute to Denmark’s most important artist since Asger Jorn
Toyin Ojih Odutola’s portraits of a fictional aristocratic Nigerian family push toward an expanded definition...
Photographer Dragana Jurisic says her account was deactivated after she uploaded an artwork depicting a partially naked...
In further news: open letter protests all-male shortlist for BelgianArtPrize; Arts Council of Ireland issues...
From Sol Calero’s playful clichés of Latin America to an homage to British modernist architect Alison Smithson
Everybody’s favourite underpaid, over-educated, raven-haired art critic, Rhonda Lieberman, is as relevant as ever
‘Prize & Prejudice’ at London's UCL Art Museum is a bittersweet celebration of female talent
The curators want to rectify the biennale’s ‘failure to question the hetero-normative production of space’; ‘poppers...
A fragment of the brutalist Robin Hood Gardens will go on show at the Venice Architecture Biennale
‘Women's role in shaping the history of contemporary art is being reappraised’
Three shows in Ireland celebrate the legendary polymath, artist and author of Inside the White Cube
The legendary performance artists will partner up again to detail their tumultuous relationship in a new book
An open letter signed by over 100 leading artists including 15 Turner prize-winners says that new UK education policy...
Naturists triumph at art gallery; soothing students with colouring books; Kanye’s architectural firm: your dose of art...
Avengers: Infinity War confirms the domination of mass culture by the franchise: what ever happened to narrative...
The agency’s founder talks about warfare in the age of post truth, deconstructing images and holding states and...
From hobnobbing with Oprah to championing new art centres, millennial crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is following a...
A juror for the award last year, Dan Fox on why the Turner Prize is and always will be political (whatever that means)
The argument that ancestral connection offers a natural grasp of the complex histories and aesthetics of African art is...
One of most iconic and controversial writers of the past 40 years, Tom Wolfe discusses writing, art and intellectual...

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

March 2018

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018