Only Cowards Die without Having Fun

Artists: Dragoş Bădiţa, Katja Lee Eliad, Delia Popa

Curator: Anca Mihuleţ

International Centre for Contemporary Art (CIAC\ICCA) The Ark, Bucharest, September 2009

Delia Popa – Meet you in the corner, performance and site-specific installation, childhood drawings, diplomas, photographs and framed drawings, plasticized drawings, personal objects (wooden book shelf with books, working table, chair, carpet, cactus), gray duct-tape (2009)

„Together with Delia Popa, I’ve extracted out of her studio those objects that inspire or help her when she works. We’ve strictly limited the space, choosing a corner that resembles her studio…more exactly, her childhood room, with old drawings, secret markings or framed diplomas, plants that she’s been growing ever since she was 10, personal journals. A fragile and vulnerable world has been shaped, a place where memories and sensations from the past combine with present times. During the opening of the exhibition, the artist will dance and execute her daily physical practice, becoming an active part of her installation.” Anca MihuleÈ›


Curator’s statement: „This project started with a game and why not, with a challenge. I asked the three artists what would they take if they moved to a deserted planet. How would they allege their humanity in a place that doesn’t possess this notion?

Before asking this question, I remembered Katja’s studio in Richiş (Sibiu county), with the ‘Insulin’, the island made out of green apples in the under-construction room, the undusted vine yard ‘because this is the way the boss wanted it this year’, the abandoned Saxon houses, the fresh water that was everywhere – in the red bucket under the arbour, in the working place, in the cemetery, near the workshop for ‘car restoration’ – Bon Jovi’s music that resounded on the sloped alleyway. I thought about the installations with earth and wood with which Dragoş has populated the most unexpected places in the summer residence of baron Brukenthal. When he makes art, Dragoş re-composes the summers that he spends in his grandparents’ house, in the village Polovragi (Gorj county), where locals claim to have witnessed extraterrestrial activity since the beginning of the 20th century. Then I remembered Delia describing how she dances; with the mirror, the lighted candles and her rigorous Indian dance. She told me about the bus-trips to the village where her grandmother used to live. All you could listen were these Romanian-Oriental songs called manele, but in that place, in that moment, they seemed to be the best music, with simple, ‘true’ lines.

And from the deserted planet, we arrived at affirming the humane; then we asked: what does an exhibition or an artistic project represent today. What is the relevance of the curatorial discourse? What about the artistic discourse? Can artists still change the world? On many occasions, the concept is more relevant than the exhibition, sometimes, the display is stronger than the presence of the artists and sometimes, the exhibition doesn’t transmit any state, is too aseptic… By discussing all these variables, we realized that the exhibition itself can be irrelevant. What is really without limitations, dynamic and fresh takes place in the studio, where there is no observation or measure.

The project only cowards die without having fun.. is intended to be a debate upon the idea of artist-studio, upon the intimate space of the artist and curator, with all the hesitations and doubts, oscillating between emotion and rigor. The works that will be presented were directly ‘extracted’ from the studio, suffering only minor adjustments, based on the state of the place where they were produced. only cowards die without having fun.. is not meant to be an exhibition, but a working place where a future exhibition can be prepared.

The three artists will come daily during the week when the project is on display, in order to develop new ideas in the space created by their installations.