2013 | IDEA. Art + Society, #44

Property, Wage and Strike
three test papers

*in IDEA. Art + Society, #44

Raluca Popa often uses as a raw material of her works personal objects and documents, such as drawing notebooks of her father or, presently, test papers from her middle school period. Working on/with documents is a widely used practice among different artists, through different methods, but it is perhaps most effective when interventions and minimal modifications, sometimes unexpected, change the situation and enrich the spectrum of possible interpretations with new perspectives.
For the insert column of this issue, Raluca Popa has chosen three test papers from her personal archive of hundreds, which respond to three subject matters in the “civic culture” discipline: property, wage and strike (all of them graded with the highest possible mark). The date when these tests were written is crucial, since it was immediately after 1989, when these concepts went through essential structural and symbolic modifica-
tions. The way these subjects are initially analyzed, in a superficial and cold manner, mirrors not only the level of school expectations, but also the inability and the frivolity with which these social changes were discussed in the educational frame. For instance, as regards property, there is a complete lack of information and meanings from the recent history of this subject matter. The fact that only 5 years ago, property has meant something totally different in Romania is ignored.
We also notice a slight contradiction with the impression injected in the public consciousness, according to which before 1989 these topics were treated erroneously or dishonestly, while after 1989 we started to take them seriously or to discuss them in a correct manner. Thus, the discussion moves from an object from personal connotations and nostalgia to a reflection upon the changes through short-circuits that affected the generation to which Raluca Popa belongs. Namely, a generation that lacks the possibility to analyze these changes and, for this reason, has been left in a state of total amnesia and denial. (Ciprian Mureşan)