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Exhibition: Desire is War

Artists: Apparatus 22 (RO), Muhammad Ali (PK), Stefan Botez (RO/CH), Katja Eliad (RO/IL), Farid Fairuz (LB/RO), Mikhail Karikis (GR/UK), Matts Leiderstram (SE), Matmos (US), MEN (US), Ioana Nemes (RO), Gyarfas Olah (RO), Karol Radziszewski (PL), Emily Roydson (SE/US), Ryan Trecartin (US).
Location: Contemporary Art Gallery of Brukenthal National Museum
Duration: 7 – 31.07.2011
Opening: Thursday, 7.07.2011, 5.00 pm
Curators: Anca Mihulet si Dragos Olea (RO)

Text and image from the Gallery’s curators Liviana Dan and Anca Mihulet:

Despite the obvious progress made in the process of identity secularization and negotiation in Romanian society, sexual morality remains under the dominion of religion, inflated speech and easy mythologies. Even if the degree of tolerance towards sexual minorities has increased in recent years, understanding, respect, and real political acceptance of these communities are far from being implemented.
In a context like ”don’t ask, don’t tell”, Desire is War is an exhibition-statement and a form of cultural activism that aims to provoke a debate around a particular type of desire that often ignites intense conflicts, even “wars” inside families, groups of friends, neighbors, schools, at work or at home: the desire for persons of same-sex.
By presenting a selection of recent works done in various media – video, drawing, text, sound – by the following artists and musicians: Apparatus 22, Muhammad Ali, Stefan Botez, Katja Eliade, Fairuz Farid Mikhail Karikis, Matts Leiderstram, Matmata, MEN Ioana Nemes, Gyarfas Olah, Karol Radziszewski, Emily Roydson, Ryan Trecartin, which among others have consistently approached and examined the queer topics, Desire Is War opens a space for debate, discovery and dialogue which is more than necessary in Romania, and beyond. The exhibition itself wants to remove the perception of queer culture as emotions liberalization or threat by social and political establishment.
The exhibition discourse captures an issue revolving around desiring persons of the same sex: desire as inspirational source, the struggle for the right to public representation and expression of the LGBT community, along with analysis of public rhetoric around civil rights, recontextualisation of stereotypical icons of heterosexual queer perspective, the aura of “theater” of imagery queer and associated mythologies, dilemmas and confusion caused by asexual self-acceptance guidelines, which is so often socially condemned, nostalgia, narrative possibilities arising from the overlap of so-called “normal” life and the existence of “other”, relationship between virtue and sin, compromise and guilt, the power of seduction, homosexuality as a means of aesthetic expression, etc.
Music occupies a distinct place in the presentation, given our interest in its potential to act as a mass communication tool of radical ideas, but also for most genuine emotions and queer desires. The endeavor progresses from the historical connection of queer community with visual arts and music. Many musicians have used pop music, dance and rock together with cultural and historical references to expedite the appeal to political criticism; the different perspective, real personal stories inspired by the desire for same sex persons were inserted into a environment resistant to it, managing to pass a message that would otherwise have had less impact.
The exhibition display, developed in collaboration with architect Laura Paraschiv deconstructs a cliché that the urban culture of queer community is limited to parties, promiscuity and a glamorous lifestyle. The work will be integrated into a chaotic post-party set, which breaks the bright surface and accommodate queer community’s real problems, dilemmas and possible solutions to transform the links between heterosexual and queer rules in forms of expression and ways of understanding cultural and sexul differences. The exhibition space can be found various materials about queer topics: magazines, publications, music selections, etc.