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Figures, 1999

Interactive installation, Bucharest, pubs, 1999, xerox copies, plastic drinking cups, coloured pencils

The wall-based installation Figures (1999) proposes an experiment in which the public is invited to participate in art-making outside conventional art spaces. I made a series of self-portraits with the aid of the public without engaging them directly or giving a speech beforehand—I simply pasted unpretentious black-and-white photocopies with my face on the walls in small pubs and hung plastic cups filled with coloured pencils under them. On the wall, a short text invites: “Colour my face.” The installation must be seen in the context of the Romanian landscape at the end of the 20th century, in which art lacks promotion and artists are responsible for reawakening interest in art. After the xeroxes had been coloured, I engaged the public in conversations about art, avoiding historical discourse but contextualising the artistic act itself, of expressing emotion and communicating ideas, as well as the human need and necessity to appreciate the beauty and complexity of life. (Excerpt from Notebooks, 2020 — A. F.)

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