To Virtual Tour
RIRI


Irina Nicolau, ethnologist and writer, co-organizer, together with Horia Bernea, of the Romanian Peasant Museum, coordinator of 6 volumes of oral memory, author of 8 books of alternative ethnology, creator of object-books, clothes and jewels; she loved kitsch objects, she loved her friends and she loved to play.

One day, it must have been nineteeneightysomething, I received a letter from Irina. She had managed to travel to Athens, to visit her aunt. I must also tell that she had first received an official negative answer from the Passport Department and she had been forced to request an audience at the Militia, hoping she would change their mind. She prepared thoroughly, she combed her hair back, tied it with a white ribbon and gathered it at the back of her neck, she wore a blue shirt with a white little collar, a straight dress, no make-up, she removed her famous rings and she took care that she looks stupid and poor. I don’t remember what she told the officer or whoever, but she finally obtained the passport. And thus I return to the letter I received from Athens! An elegant envelope, smelling of occidental glue, that I opened respectfully with the coupe-papier, only to find a piece of toilet paper inside, written upon with brown ink: THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL HERE. RIRI

Much later, in 2000, we made an album on Sibiel icons together with a younger friend. Thanks to Irina’s design, the book turned out to be a beautiful object. However, because of the bad binding, the colorful pages would fly away at the first skimming through the volume. Every time she gave the book as a present, Irina would write in the dedication: TO BE READ PREFERABLY CLOSED. RIRI

What is there to learn from these two stories? Well, first of all, that Irina Nicolau felt she was RIRI; secondly, that she had the gift of writing the essential, in simple words, short and very telling; thirdly, that she liked to work with her friends. And, in general, that she knew how to transform the unpleasant and the mistake in funny and memorable accidents.

Unfortunately, most of her books appeared in minuscule number of copies and where thus read mainly by her friends (Irina gave away as gifts everything she received as author’s rights and then bought some more so she could continue to make presents) and borrowed by her friends’ friends. The generous friendship, floating around her like mist led to a phenomenon manifest only after she left us: a sui generis community was formed of very different people who feel close to each other only by virtue of the feelings she had unveiled in them; some had just discovered her, other had known her for a long time and grew apart for whatever reasons; some, very young, were professionally formed by her, others adopted her (or were adopted?) as close relative.

Ioana Popescu

Horia Bernea: de la grădină la iconostas
12 august – 15 septembrie 2020




The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant hosts the exhibition Horia Bernea: from the garden to the iconostasis, commemorating 20 years since the artist passed away, untill September 15, 2020.

From the garden to the iconostasis, as Horia Bernea stated himself, he had looked for the path to set up the dialogue and the alliance with God. After going through a conceptual and abstract phase, Horia Bernea gradually returned to figurative art. He approached established genres and themes, using the tools of a painter who have not denied neither contemporary art nor tradition. He did not consider art a goal in itself, he really believed the art helped him in his spiritual survival, and sharing all the joys he experienced on his way to the truth was like a real confession.

His artistic endeavour has stood under the sign of the cross, which he has recognized, with unceasing astonishment, in all things around. Through the exhibition "The Cross", he had marked the setting up of the Romanian Peasant Museum, highlighting the Christian faith as the foundation of the Romanian village civilization and the cross as an important landmark through the contemporary times. Horia Bernea brought a new vividness in contemporary curatorship by thinking the museum as a story, placing in its centre the icon of the "peasant" and thus keeping alive the memory of the spirituality of the Romanian peasant.

The exhibition is organised by Eleon Association from Alba Iulia, with the support of the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant and in partnership with the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Most of the works were made available by kind permission of the collectors Dr. Sorin Costina, Daniel and Roxana Ghiuruțan and Doina and Constantin Xifta.

The exhibition is part of the Peasant Museum Days event, which, this year, will take place between 10 and 20 September 2020.

Opening times
Tuesday - Sunday 10 am - 6 pm
Closed on Monday

 


 




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