11 rooms in In the Studio
This display brings together the space of the studio and the process of drawing, both of which functioned for Geta Brătescu at the threshold between the inner mental world of the artist and the world outside
Brătescu developed a conceptual artistic practice in Romania during a period of political unrest and censorship following the Second World War. She placed drawing at its core, exploring the process both as a method and as a conceptual device for her works in other mediums, from film and collage to performance and installation. For Brătescu, her sewn works were ‘drawing on textile with a sewing machine’. She imagined the process as bringing to life the mental world of the artist: ‘drawing connects the actual space with the abstract one. Everything we do, we decrypt and encrypt through drawing’. Brătescu worked as a book illustrator in parallel to her own art practice. This fed her interest in mythological characters such as Medea, which reappear in many of her works.
Meanwhile, the artist’s studio, positioned at the threshold of public and private, became an exploratory space for Brătescu in the totalitarian political climate of post-war Romania. ‘The studio is myself’, the artist stated: an arena in which artistic exploration was also a way to experiment with multiple versions of the self. In Hands the space of the studio and the process of drawing come together to form a faceless portrait of the artist. Bratescu saw an intrinsic bond between the two: ‘the place where drawing rejoices in its force and absolute freedom, like the prayer in a church, is THE STUDIO’."
Geta Bratescu, Hands (For the Eye, the Hand of My Body Draws My Portrait) 1977
Hands (For the Eye, the Hand of My Body Draws My Portrait) 1977 is a black and white silent film lasting 7 minutes and 30 seconds. The work exists in an edition of 5, of which this copy is number 2, and 2 artist’s proofs. It was originally shot on 8mm film and transferred to DVD more recently. The camera was operated by fellow Romanian artist Ion Grigorescu (born 1945), with whom Bratescu frequently collaborated. In the film the artist’s hands, filmed from her eye level, are performing various movements and activities above her drawing board. The sequence starts with her playing with different objects on the desk, holding a cigarette, removing a wedding ring. The artist subsequently switches to drawing lines on her palms with a black marker and finally tracing the contours of both her hands on a piece of paper.
artworks in Geta Brătescu
Geta Bratescu, Medeic Callisthenic Moves 1980–1
Medeic Callisthetic Moves 1980–1 is a set of six embroideries on bleached linen; each one is 600 by 500 millimetres. They are always shown as a group in an order specified by the artist, who refers to them as ‘drawings’. Originally, the works were displayed attached directly to the wall, but they are now glazed. The pastel coloured pattern on each one was done with the use of a sewing machine. An abstract oval form is repeated in the centre of each of the embroideries and is an emblematic portrait of the Greek mythical character Medea, who gives the work its title. Medea was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis and the granddaughter of the sun god Helios. Known for her qualities as a sorceress, Medea helped the adventurer Jason obtain the golden fleece from her father, killing her own brother as she aided Jason and his Argonauts to flee. Although he had promised to marry her, Jason later deserted her.
artworks in Geta Brătescu