Day of my Life, 31.03.2020
Artist Maria Guta was stranded in Bucharest, Romania (her country of birth) during the first lockdown of the Covid 19 pandemic and was unable to travel back to Switzerland, where she lives in Neuchatel, for months. For the HEK Net Works series, she realized a video that shows her in the apartment in Bucharest, staging herself as a bored housewife. With the ironic refraction of her situation, Guta addressed on the one hand her experiences of growing up in the so-called Eastern Bloc, as well as the current situation of social distancing and isolation during the pandemic.
Statement by the artist: «In an age where the idea of a totalitarian, restrictive regime is mostly a somber reminder of a pre-1989 era (or material for dystopian scenarios) it’s interesting to observe how the world – starting with some of the most democratic countries – is suspending «voluntarily a couple of the most basic human rights and freedoms by imposing the first nationwide lockdowns since World War II. And, although the causes are of a very different nature today, I can’t stop myself from drawing a line between the current restrictions and those experienced by prior generations (me included, as a kid growing up in Romania in the late 80s) under totalitarian regimes.
During Ceausescu’s dictatorship but also a while after (through the harsh transitional period that followed the “89 revolution), the greatest form of escapism were Hollywood movies (in communism only available through the VHS black market). Because of my then early age and a certain naivety, I initially became fascinated with American „cheap” cinema, soap operas and later on Latin-American telenovelas, where everyday life was blending in a fantasy world and reality was basically represented as illusion. This fictional form of escapism was very “first-degree” rewarding for eyes and senses, and most comforting in times of discomfort. That’s also when I started impersonating different characters, which is a big part of my practice today.
All the best from Bucharest!»
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