Scientific report regarding the implementation of the project PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-0243 – From the state artist to the artist dependent on the state the Union of Visual Artists of Romania (1950-2010) the Bucharest branch. Contract 206/2015.
Stage 3 of the project (1.01-30.09.2017)
Activities of the project
- organization and administrative activities
In the third stage of the project the composition of the team was changed as Cristina Stoenescu’s contract ended on March 1st, 2017. During the period 1 March – 30 September 2017 the members of research team were: Caterina Preda, Alina Popescu, Dumitru Lăcătușu, Dan Drăghia.
- Scientific activities
Consulting the archives about the Romanian Artists’ Union – the Bucharest branch (Uniunea Artiștilor Plastici – filiala București)
In 2017 the project’s director Caterina Preda had partial access to the archive of the Ministry of Culture (AMC). The Ministry of Culture allowed us very late to have access to their archives arguing for the lack of an archivist and the control upon the archive by the SRI. Thus, we only partially consulted the files they hold for the period 1950-1973, as we were not given access to files from the later years (1980s-2000s). The team continued to research the files from the Central National Historical Archives (ANIC), the National Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives (CNSAS) and from the Union of Romanian Artists of Romania, which are stored at the Combinatul Fondului Plastic (ACFP).
Consulting other sources and the scientific literature on the research topic
We have continued the exploration of the scientific literature existing about our research topic in the libraries in Bucharest: the Central University Library (BCU), the National Library, the UAP Library, the NEC Library, the Library of the Department of Political Science, University of Bucharest, the Library of the Art History Institute G. Oprescu, the Library of the National University of Art, the Academy Library. For the writing of the monograph study about the UAP we have also consulted the press of the 1940 and 1950s, and respectively of the 1990s at the BCU and the resources of the Photo-archive of the Academy Library in Bucharest.
Scientific meetings with the members of the research team
We have organized meetings with the members of the research team every two weeks to discuss and coordinate the research activities and so as to solve eventual problems we encountered. The members of the team participated to several national and international conferences together.
Together with Cristina Stoenescu, the director of the project Caterina Preda realized a series of interviews with the members of the UAP of Romania, which are included as annexes to the monograph study about the UAP written by Caterina Preda. The audio interviews were realized with: Dan Perjovschi, Magda Cârneci, Aurelia Mocanu, Cristina Russu, Petru Lucaci, Vasile Pop Negreșteanu). Along with them, we also had access to other oral sources through the archive of Atelier 35, which was made available to us by the members of the project.
Planned results in the third stage of the project
In 2017 we wanted to finish the volume with presentations from the international conference organized in the framework of the project in November 2016. We also wanted to finish the two data-bases with the members of the UAP and with the monuments realized by the UAP Bucharest. Finally, we wanted to prepare the publication of the monograph study about the UAP branch in Bucharest.
Results obtained during the third stage of the project
- In 2017 I edited and published (April 2017) the volume which includes a part of the presentations made during the conference of November 2016 (The State Artist in Romanian and Eastern Europe): Caterina Preda (ed.), The state artist in Romania and Eastern Europe The Role of the Creative Unions (Bucharest University, 2017) 402 pages [ISBN 978-606-16-0852-2]. In volume are included 13 chapters and annexes, amongh which the studies authored by the members of the team: Caterina Preda wrote ”Introduction: The State Artist in Romania and Eastern Europe: a Theoretical Outline”, Alina Popescu wrote ”Des Unions professionnelles et pour la création dans la Roumanie communiste: une comparaison institutionnelle entre l’Association des Cinéastes et l’Union des Artistes”, Dan Drăghia, „”Tovarășul artist” Conformism și beneficii în organizarea profesională a artiștilor plastici din România comunistă”, Dumitru Lăcătușu, „Evoluția relației dintre artiștii plastici și Securitate în perioada 1950-1990” and Cristina Stoenescu, „The transformation of the Romanian Artists’ Union after 1990: the case of Atelier 35”.
- The two databases realized during the project are accessible on the website of the project https://artistuldestatuap.wordpress.com/. The database with the members of the UAP in the period 1950-2010 includes both the table with all the names for the entire period, as well as tables for the different decades (1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and the 2000s), and, if we had enough data, other statistical information about the members. The database with monuments realized by UAP Bucharest during the period 1950-2010 is based on the data identified in the archival documents to which we had access to. Thus, the database identifies 288 monuments in Bucharest; besides the year of the monument, its author, and information on its location, we included details about the material, its dimensions, the price and the archival source used.
- In 2017 I wrote on the basis of archival documents and the studies consulted, a monograph study about the UAP and the state artist, which is prepared for publication. The book titled Uniunea Artiștilor Plastici din România (1950-2010): de la ”artistul de stat” la artistul dependent de stat. Crearea unei conștiințe socialiste artistice și reziduurile sale instituționale în postcomunism [The Romanian Artists’ Union of Romania (1950-2010): from the state artist to the artist dependent on the state. The creation of a socialist aristic consciousness and its institutional residues in post-communism] includes seven chapters, along with the preface, the introduction and annexes. Along with the preface, which presents the volume realized in the TE project, the Introduction describes the theoretical approach and the main references used in the book. The first part of the book, “The State Artist (1950-1990)” includes 5 chapters. Chapter 1 “From the Syndicate of Fine Arts to the Union of Romanian Artists of RPR (1950)” describes and analyzes the establishment of the Union and the period of the 1940s when several entities existed dedicated to the defense of the rights of artists. Chapter 2 “UAP as the new ideological framework of institutionalized creation and the consolidation of the state artist in the 1950s” analyzes the establishment of Socialist Realism through measures adopted by the state, among which the guidance commissions and the planning of artistic activity. Chapter 3 “The bureaucratization of visual arts’ activity. The institutional framework of the Union and its immobile patrimony” documents the functioning of the Union from the institutional point of view and analyzes the different entities which were part of the UAP, among which the FP. Chapter 4 “The ideological dynamic of the UAP: from Socialist Realism through Socialist humanism to Realist humanism or Ceausescu’s realism” analyzes the ideological evolution of the Union and its transformation during the Ceausescu regime. In Chapter 5 “The relationship between the UAP and the state and party institutions: mediator of the cultural space or ideological and political subordination” analyzes the way in which the Union is included in an institutional system submitted to the Ministry of Culture under its different names. The second part, “The Artist dependent on the state (1950-2010)” includes two chapters. Chapter 6, “The transformation of the UAP of Romania (UAPR) after 1990 and the change of the role of the artists: between autonomy and the dependence of the state” analyzes the modalities through which the Union was changed after 1990 and the reminiscences of the former model dominated by the state. Finally, Chapter 7 “The inheritance of the unions in democracy” offers the conclusions regarding the evolution of the Union in the interval 1950 to 2010. The volume includes along with a bibliography, annexes which represent the results of the research project, such as the List of the monuments realized in Bucharest during the period 1950 to 2010, the List of members of the UAP between 1950 to 2010, Interviews with members of the UAP, as well as other documents from the archives we consulted (ANIC, CFP, AMC, CNSAS).
Participation to international conferences by the members of the project
- The members of the research team participated to the conference “Art history, artists and specific institutions in Romania (1949-2010)” organized by the Art History Institute G. Oprescu, Romanian Academy (29 March 2017). Caterina Preda presented a paper “UAP and the building of a socialist consciousness of the state artist” Dumitru Lăcătușu “Surveyors and pursued. The Securitate and visual artists during communism” and Dan Drăghia presented “Building a past for the party: topics and artworks from the history of the workers’ movement in communist art”
- Caterina Preda organized a panel „Art and politics in the dictatorships of the Southern Cone: A Comparison” at the International Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, LASA (29 April – 1 May 2017) at the Catholic University in Lima.
- Dan Drăghia presented ”‘Prince and beggar’. The social condition of the visual artist during Romanian communism” at the conference The social history of Romanian communism (4-5 May 2017), Cluj.
- Dan Drăghia coordinated the panel: „Art for the Masses: Popular, National and the Distorted Imaginary of Western Values in the Romanian Arts during Communism” organized at the SCOPE 2017 (Science of Politics – International Interdisciplinary Conference of Political Research), (26-28 May 2017) at the Institute of Political Research, Department of Political Science, University of Bucharest. The panel included the presentations by two members of the research’ team: Dan Drăghia, „Western versus ’People’s Democracy as Reflected in the Communist Visual Arts” and Alina Popescu “Pessimistic, Superficial, Lacking Enthusiasm”: The Guiding Commissions of the Union of Romanian Artists and the Building of a National and Socialist Art during the 1950s”.
- Caterina Preda published the book Art and Politics under Modern Dictatorships A comparison of Chile and Romania, (Palgrave Macmillan July 2017) (ISBN: 978-3-319-57269-7)
- Caterina Preda edited a special issue of the journal of political science, Studia Politica Romanian Political Science Review (issue 3/2017) indexed in several international databases (Scopus, CEEOL, ProQuest, SSOAR, EBSCO) which is currently being published (October 2017). In this special issue, “Creating for the state: the relationship between artists and the state during communism” are included articles by Caterina Preda, ”Creating for the State: an Introduction”, Alina Popescu, ” Uniunea Artiștilor Plastici din România, mediator al dialogului artistic cu Estul și Vestul în anii 1950-1980”, and Dumitru Lăcătușu, ” Biografii transideologice: cazul sculptorului Ion Irimescu”. Other members of the research team (Cristina Stoenescu) wrote reviews of important volumes on the topic of our research project.
- Caterina Preda, ”The Role of Art in Dealing with the Communist Past” chapter published in the volume Justice, Memory and Redress in Romania New Insights edited by Lavinia Stan and Lucian Turcescu (Cambridge Scholars, 2017), pp. 166-189. [ISBN: 1-4438-3152-2]