Alex Mirutziu's Artwork Presented at UN/MUTE NYC
Updated: Oct 7
Exhibition featuring new collaborative works by 28 artists from 10 countries
Co-curated by Daina Mattis and Melinda Wang
Austrian Cultural Forum New York, 11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY; September 22, 2021 – January 7, 2022; open daily 10 AM – 6 PM
Undercurrent, 70 John Street, Brooklyn, NY; September 22, 2021 – November 21, 2021; open Thursday – Sunday, 1 – 7 PM
Free and open to the public
HIGH-LEVEL OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 23, 2021 at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly. Opening remarks by European representatives and performances by Mariella Cassar-Cordina and Tricia Dawn Williams (Malta), as well as Luisa Muhr (Austria). Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, this event was by invitation only.
ARTIST TALK & PUBLIC RECEPTION: Friday, September 24, 2021 at Undercurrent. Artist Talk, moderated by Romanian Cultural Institute Director Dorian Branea, featuring several artists of UN/MUTE and co-curator Daina Mattis, followed by reception.
The Romanian Cultural Institute is happy to support the participation of Romanian artist Alex Mirutziu in the UN/MUTE project, an international group exhibition of collaborative works by 28 artists across multiple disciplines. On view at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and Undercurrent, this multi-media exhibition is the culmination of an 18-month-long project that was launched in 2020 to provide European and NYC-based artists an opportunity for critical exchange and collaboration during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
What do communication and collaboration mean in a time of uncertainty and isolation? How is the artistic process impacted by going “fully remote”? In un/mute, artists from 10 countries were paired to explore these questions. We recognize that effective communication requires active engagement of all the senses and an openness to diversity, interpretation and digitalization. But what does that look like in practice? The project challenged teams to overcome the limitations of lockdowns as they connected across artistic mediums, language, culture, generations and time zones to find new forms of expression and meaning within art.
UN/MUTE is the physical manifestation of online conversations among strangers who became collaborators. What began as abstract, ephemeral and digital are now 14 tactile, analog and concrete artworks presented across two locations. The artists confronted the parameters imposed by the lockdowns and each team found creative solutions that we might all learn from. The common thread that runs through the sculptures, installations, films, drawings, photographs and performances is the importance of language.
Ever-evolving, language encapsulates an innate power dynamic that is renegotiated, redistributed and reimagined in uncertain times. While words like “screenshare,” “Zoom-bombing” and “unmute” enter a universal lexicon, and #relatable memes are shared across cultures, we also face the limits of language as we work to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding. Cultures and countries apart, the artists endeavored to find a bridge across two points in (virtual) space through the ephemeral Zoom link. What they also discovered were empathy from a fellow artist, discussions that sparked new ideas, a shared language around the creative process and a rethinking of the power of art.
With cities re-opening, a recontextualized focus on systemic racism and xenophobia, and our collective experience of 18 months of self-reflection, un/mute observes the transition into a new epoch – one that imagines an inclusive and diverse ecosystem. Differences may surface in times of cooperation and compromise, but synergy can be forged through friction. We trip, we regain our balance, we shift, we reconsider. What is crucial is that when we do have the chance to rise to meet the moment, we seize the opportunity and “click unmute.”
FEATURED ARTISTS: Eren Aksu (Germany), Anna Bera (Poland), Aaron Bezzina (Malta), Alex Camilleri (Malta), Mariella Cassar-Cordina (Malta), Saddie Choua (Flanders, Belgium), Sanne De Wilde (Flanders, Belgium), FOQL (Poland), Gabrielė Gervickaitė (Lithuania), Nicola Ginzel (Austria), Justyna Górowska (Poland), Kris Grey (NYC), Kyle Hittmeier (NYC), Ada Van Hoorebeke (Flanders, Belgium), Olesja Katšanovskaja–Münd (Estonia), Mo Kong (NYC), Yi Hsuan Lai (NYC), H. Lan Thao Lam (NYC), Marie Lukáčová (Czech Republic), Sheila Maldonado (NYC), Ieva Mediodia (Lithuania), Emmanuel Massillon (NYC), Alex Mirutziu (Romania), Luisa Muhr (Austria), Barbara Maria Neu (Austria), Emily Shanahan (NYC), Sydney Shavers (NYC), and Terttu Uibopuu (Estonia).
Please visit www.unmute.nyc for updates.
ONLINE MEDIA: Recordings of the artists’ conversations and collaborative processes are also available at www.unmute.nyc.
UN/MUTE is a project by Undercurrent and the following members of EUNIC New York - European Union National Institutes for Culture: Austrian Cultural Forum New York, Czech Center New York, Consulate General of Estonia in New York, Delegation of Flanders to the USA, Goethe-Institut New York, Lithuanian Culture Institute, Arts Council Malta in New York, Polish Cultural Institute New York, and Romanian Cultural Institute in New York. UN/MUTE is also supported by EUNIC Global, the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, Hope Recycling Station, and Jindřich Chalupecký Society.
ABOUT ALEX MIRUTZIU
Alex Mirutziu (b. 1981) is an eclectic artist who explores two parallel trajectories with ease: performance, a discipline he has practiced for over fifteen years, and another more related to drawings, sculpture and poetry as well as critical and curatorial projects. The “body” plays an important part in Mirutziu’s work, the artist considering it as an emotional archive of his feelings and a site where ideological conflicts play out. Although his work does not always explicitly incorporate his body, he uses it as an index and generating mechanism for his art. This approach has led many critics over the past years to define Mirutziu as the enfant terrible of Romanian art.
As part of his theoretical practice the artist has lectured at (Royal College of Arts, London, Von Kraal Theatre, Estonia, Konstfack, Stockholm, Bezalel University of Art and Design, Tel Aviv) and has collaborated with artists/writers/musicians/designers/philosophers among which, Grit Hachmeister (DE), Elias Merino (ES), Graham Foust (US), Graham Harman (US). His work has been shown at Power Plant, Toronto, Glass Factory Lab, Boda, Mucsarnok Kunsthalle, Budapest, Center for Contemporary Art and National Museum, Warsaw, Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Kunsthalle Mulhouse, Kunsthalle Winterthur, Kunsthalle Bega, Centre for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Royal Academy of Arts, London, and Venice Biennale.
Fiind out more about the artist:
Team "Branch": Alex Mirutziu (Romania) + Sydney Shavers (NYC)
Throughout their online exchange, Alex Mirutziu and Sydney Shavers probe language and discuss its shapeshifting abilities. Both commencing from a practice of performance, they explore language’s fickle nature with concepts of disembodiment, potential and the boundary where the two points meet to create concrete objects which intermingle in their installation. Mirroring the lifespan of a tree, Mirutziu takes molds of his own body as a way to measure and record time, growth, age and decay. These forms are suspended over the functional yet physically uncomfortable chairs Shavers has constructed. Their design originates from a found object, shaping
new utility and giving multi-purpose to the discarded/invisible. Her chairs are painted to materialize the digital glitch; a green screen and Photoshop’s transparent checkerboard interface. The chair’s utility is visible, but only when an individual sits upon one and experiences the time spent, do we fully recognize our mindfulness and awareness of the self/body. Mirutziu and Shavers’s complementary forces meet in a physical space to meditate on the capacity and limitation of our own time and experience in the corporeal world that we encounter spiritually or virtually; actively or passively.
Text by curator Daina Mattis
Featured: Alex Mirutziu, Seven places I can’t go to but talk to, 2021, plaster and fishing line, dimensions variable & Sydney Shavers, Untitled (Sit), 2021, wood, paint and fasteners, 24 x 24 x 24 inches each
Alex Mirutziu talks about "The challenges of art practice during the pandemic"
EXHIBITION PRESENTED @ AUSTRIAN CULTURAL FORUM NEW YORK
ART TALK & EXHIBITION PRESENTED @ UNDERCURRENT
September 24, 2021
Moderator: Dorian Branea, Director of the Romanian Cultural Institute & President of EUNIC NY
Participants: Co-curator Daina Mattis and artists Nicola Ginzel (Austria), Aaron Bezzina (Malta), Yi Hsuan Lai (Taiwan), Sydney Shavers (NYC), Kris Grey (NYC), Luisa Muhr (Austria) (from left to right)
ABOUT THE AUSTRIAN CULTURAL FORUM NEW YORK
With its architectural landmark building in Midtown Manhattan, the Austrian Cultural Forum New York is dedicated to innovative programming, showcasing Austrian contemporary art, music, literature, performance and academic thought in New York and throughout the United States. In addition to presenting exhibitions in its multi-level gallery space and housing around 13,000 volumes of Austriaca in its library named in honor of the late Vienna-born American writer and intellectual Frederic Morton, it hosts over 100 free events per year in its auditorium and supports at least as many projects at partner institutions across the nation.
Undercurrent, defined as a body of water below the surface and moving in a different direction from any surface current, is a dedicated exhibition platform for art aiming to support contemporary art practices that are contrary to prevailing trends and movements. It showcases local and international contemporary artists with an inclusive subprogram of artists and creative entities of the Baltic states. This exchange augments its mission by providing a switchback, for a diverse and accessible platform distilling cultural perspectives in New York City. Undercurrent represents, reflects and identifies aesthetic, emotional and philosophical complexities in the arts of our time as exhibited in painting, sculpture, mixed media, film, word and sound. It intends to highlight the existence of multilayered, multipolar systems operating today that simultaneously radiate openness, vulnerability and self-reflection.
ABOUT EUNIC NEW YORK
EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture – is the European network of organizations working in 90 countries worldwide through a network of 125 clusters and acting as a platform for promoting European values, sharing knowledge, building capacity amongst its members and partners, and engaging local partners in dialogue and common cultural projects. Created in 2007, the New York cluster of EUNIC, bringing together around 40 cultural missions from the European Union, is working in partnership to strengthen the transatlantic dialogue and cultural cooperation and showcase European values and creativity. The presidency of EUNIC NY is held, in 2021, by Dorian Branea, the director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in NY.
In the press:
Yelp Events, ACFNY
NYC Insider Guide, Joint submission
CitiTour NYC, ACFNY
Art Rabbit | https://www.artrabbit.com/events/unmute
Art in Brooklyn | “un/mute” Artist Talk and Public Reception
Allevents.in | un/mute Artist Talk & Public Reception
Please note that in compliance with New York City law, proof of COVID-19 vaccination, as well as an ID, is required for entry at both venues. Visitors will have to wear a mask covering both mouth and nose at all times, except in designated food and drink areas.