Summer Travels To SE Europe

Prompted by the working energy on the new chapter of my memory atlas, “The 100 Scents”, i decided to revisit my birthplace, Craiova, in the southern region of Romania. There were distant reminiscences, from childhood travels, of extensive tobacco fields, endless sunflower plantations, copious watermelon production and brutal, ruthless waves of heat, i felt a structural urge to immerse myself into again. Moreover, it was Brâncuși´s work in Targu Jiu i had to see. I made it, while my stay in Paris to his Atelier, left by his will to the French state, but did not make it until now to Targu Jiu, a small town, at about 70 km north of Craiova.

Craiova, Romania


Targu Jiu, Romania

Before our trip to Romania we stayed for five days in Athens. We flew then from Athens to Bucharest, traveled by train to Craiova, Targu Jiu, then through the Eastern Carpathians up to the southern border of Transylvania. We then left the country and headed home with a three days break in Budapest.


Brasov, Romania


Budapest, Hungary

For the first time in Greece and in Athens, the city is a towering experience. It stroke me, above all as an overwhelmingly beautiful city. It is a heavy pack of pungent savors and sounds, sundry aromas, sea smells and manifold emanations, some of them reaching delightfully far, some surprisingly familiar. We did plunge into historical tours, besides a whopping 40°C, flanked tightly by a humming crowd of jaunty selfie hunters. A draining and rewarding venture, being it (also) for the Martin Parr humble genuflection.

Athens, Greece


The Art of Memory


The last days of the last year i have been taking some time to get through the “Art of Memory” ongoing installation-archive, ongoing inventory of objects and images. During the last year, after several design concept tests and trials, it seemed like a suitable choice the black lid glass container as a “preservation” solution – sort of a direct recourse to a shape and form with functions and aims very much bound to our cultural idea of conservation… There is something visually and tactile pleasing in the plain form, the compact solidity of the glass and the unexpected (playful) convergences between the original purpose of the recipient and its new content.

But there´s also something peculiarly satisfying in the process of preparing/cleaning/altering the jars, covering in opaque black paint the previous lids´patterns and glossy adverts…

The most enjoyable, yet is the sensual exercise of going through the items, touching their skins and selecting, smelling the matter across layers of dust particles and inventing categories, arranging then, the assigned jars to the new section, family, type, level… For now there are named: “tickets”; “notes”; “identification cards”; “silver and golden gifts”; “writing tool gifts”; “Paris goods”.

It comes to mind Walter Benjamin´s “Talk about Book Collecting”, an essay that starts like: “I am unpacking my library. Yes, I am.” and formulates the mechanisms of the relationship between a (book) collector and its obsession (possession) such as:

“Every passion borders the chaotic, but the collector´s passion borders the chaos of memories.” (…) Thus, there is in the life of a collector a dialectical tensions between the poles of disorder and order. Naturally, his existence is tied to many other things as well: to a very mysterious relationship to ownership, something about which we will have more to say later; also a relationship to objects which does not emphasize their functional utilitarian value—that is, their usefulness—but studies and loves them as the scene, the stage, of their fate. The most profound enchantment of the collector is the locking of the individual items within a magic circle in which they are fixed as the final thrill, the thrill of acquisition, passes over them. Everything remembered and thought, everything conscious, becomes the pedestal, the frame, the base, the lock of his property. The period, the region, the craftsmanship, the former ownership—for a true collector the whole background of an item adds up to a magic encyclopedia whose quintessence is the fate of his object.” (Benjamin, Walter. “Unpacking my Library: A Talk about Book Collecting,” in Illuminations, New York: Schocken Books, 1969; translated by Harry Zohn, edited and with an introduction by Hannah Arendt , pp. 59-67./ p. 60

Enjoy a healthy new year!