Calling Cards

Dec 06, 2013 - Apr 08, 2014

Opening: December 6, 2013, 3 pm

articipating artists: Marika Schmiedt (Austria), Eszter Kinga Deli (Hungary), Selma Selman (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Cristina David (Romania), Laszlho Sefcick (France),  Liliana Basarab (Romania)

And: students from Roma Access Programs (Central European University, Budapest), anonymous postcards, collages and letters, signed postcards, collages and letters, diary pages and other material traces of the calling cards’ exchange.

Opening Speech: Maria-Alina Asavei

CALLING CARDS is an exhibition-concept which aims to raise awareness and to purge the noxious growth of discrimination against Roma communities. This exhibition takes as its point of departure, reenacts and extends Adrian Piper’s concept of Calling Cards. This reenactment is a form of social activism which attempts to rectify discrimination by re-acting and re-staging one of the most important artistic assertions against racism formulated by a first generation conceptual artist. Piper confronted the pervasive racism of our society. With Calling Cards, she challenges viewers to take the confrontation with racism “into their own hands”.  A calling card is the precursor of the contemporary “business card”. It is an old fashioned social convention which used to signify an invitation, an introduction for oneself or a means of communication. Each piece of art from this exhibition acts symbolically as a calling card meant to draw attention to the Roma’s social, cultural and spatial segregation. Actual “Calling Cards” (inspired by Adrian Piper’s Calling Card No.1, 1986-1990) will be disseminated within and beyond the art space.

This exhibition focuses on the relational (collaborative) component of art practice (even in terms of co-authorship). Both Roma and Non-Roma European artists, cultural workers, educators, activists, poets and writers are invited to collaborate. The works displayed are both disturbing (critical, thought provoking) and beautiful (heartbreaking and sentimental). In spite of their conceptual and material variety, they have in common the fact that all of them act politically, as a temporary displacement of agency from people to art in order to foster collaboration and social justice. The force fields are diversified in such a manner that not only the impulse to act and react will count as political and critical but also the rekindling of our feelings and emotions. This exhibition attempts to illustrate that not only radical forms of artistic activism can be effective but also what Tom Block would call a “prophetic activist art”.

The pieces displayed range from mail art and confession art to video performance and digital-collages. “Calling Cards” intends to be an open, de-centralized network of “correspondence art” which will expand the audience by focusing on collaboration, sharing and exchange. Collaboration is envisioned in dialogical terms: where all members involved partake actively and decisively in the artistic project. “Calling Cards” is conceived as an itinerant and cumulative exhibition.

Curator: Maria Alina Asavei

Consultant: Timea Junghaus

Image: Correspondence for “Calling Cards” project

The concept of “correspondence art” connotes:  “An intimate gesture. It is a pure idea often direct and unrefined. It may also become political, psychological, religious, outrageous, sentimental, humorous, horrific, enlightening or indulgent” (From Commentaries of the New Media Arts by Robert C. Morgan, 1984)

Collaborating Partners: Gallery8 (ERCF), CEU Center for Art and Culture, Roma Access Program (CEU)

The exhibition is part of the program series of Gallery8, to be realized between September 2013 and September 2014, supported by the EEA Grants/Norway Grants and the Autonómia Foundation.

Curatorial Statement

Opening Speech


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