Str. I. L. Caragiale nr. 32
Scena9 BRD Residence is located in an historical monument on 32 Ion Luca Caragiale Street, built in 1890 that belonged to King Mihai and was also a gift of King Ferdinand to Queen Mary. In the future, BRD — Groupe Société Générale plans to transform it into a cultural-artistic space, open to the new generations of creators.

Journey to the Navel of the Earth

19:00 - 03:00
Tip eveniment:
Perioada expozitie:
10/06/2017 - 11/05/2017

„You’ve come, you’ve seen, we’ve conquered!” No journey is ever simple. And the journey to the navel of the Earth – Planet Petrila is no exception to this rule. Planet Petrila resembles a pocket full of everything. This charming mixture, like the hugger-mugger of tongues spoken once in the Colony (a fact which, at the time, did not seem to injure anyone’s sense of national identity) was suddenly ripped out of the stitching where it lay quiet and happy and thrown somewhere, nobody really knows where exactly. The Petrila Colony, Planet Petrila, considering the absurdity of the history it is facing, is not far from the state of the country where it is at. This is why, the `Bad Man` Festival, the `Sick Man` Festival, the `Pompadou` Hall or the Museum of the Romanian Plumber should not come as a surprise to anyone. At least not to any of this country’s inhabitants. On the contrary, they should excite us, for their presence is as embarrassing as the voice of the child calling the emperor out on his nakedness. The paradox of reality is that this voice, in our current daily landscape, resembles the court jester. It wears garish clothes, walks the streets in bizarre processions, scribbles and draws on the walls in all the colours of the rainbow and speaks the truth in a place where the language of lies is the norm. And, because history is full of missteps, correcting them does not necessarily imply abiding by rules and principles. I. D. Sîrbu, one of those people whose lives were destroyed by the horrors of communism, was declared, posthumously, a honorary citizen of Petrila with precisely such a procession. Ion Dezideriu Sîrbu does not have bust sculptures set up in his honour all across the country like other heroes of the anti-communist resistance. Unfortunately, statistics records, in this respect, too, a sad fact: Romania is the absolute champion when it comes to hideous busts and statues, as serious an offence as could be brought to those people who did not want well-stacked busts, but merely that their country be less deranged. I. D. Sîrbu’s house museum is the most colourful ever set up in Petrila, purposefully garnished as if to sweeten the bitter pills scribbled on its walls that tell one of how unforgiving, cruel and absurd can man’s fate sometimes be. On its colourful walls lie written quotes that, were they to be read at least once a year, would remind us who we are and how easily evil can be forgotten. The Petrila Literary Colony / The `I. D. Sîrbu` Museum, just like all the other museums Ion Barbu has set in place, brings together between its walls pieces of the human condition, paints, assembles, wraps them up and displays them in tragic – comic capsules. Many good people have passed through Planet Petrila and each has left a piece of their heart there. Some have done more than that, lending a hand to its construction. Among them a former president of Romania who painted the `I. D. Sîrbu` House Museum fence. This detail, symbolic as it is, shows how important it is not to ignore the small, anonymous gestures around us as they may pinpoint events or even engender history-laden actions. Others, like myself, were there,  rejoiced and left with a property deed over a piece of the Petrila Colony and with a certificate of honorary citizenship. I picked up something else, too, while I was there, a lump of old iron from the Petrila Mine which I keep next to me on my desk to remind me why I first embarked on this project. The presence of Planet Petrila in the line-up of this year’s White Night of the Galleries  merely illustrates an example of how resistance through culture should set a lot of people thinking: the art world which, for the time being, is unable to show cohesion among its members (which would be crucial if they wish to claim their rights in a coherent manner), the authorities in whose hands lies the decision-making power when it comes to `actually` salvaging a national heritage on the brink of collapse (the Petrila Mine being one of the industrial architecture monuments that queue up waiting for their turn to come) and, last but not least, society whose appetite for cultural products as shown by the barographs is at `danger` level. Petrila is a town whose image, alongside that of the whole Valea Jiului, is still associated with one of the saddest moments in Romania’s recent history. The ravine battlements still bear encomiastic inscriptions addressed to the well loved president who, in the early ‘90s, `rescued` the nation with the help of the miners’ bludgeons. The rest is but history. A history that is not pretty, one that hides much of the truth under the rug and which, more than 25 years since the `Great Swap` of 1989, is grinning to us ahead of the Centenary, preparing to celebrate the unification of a country where national identity is gravely mistaken for hateful pride. Romania’s oldest mine, Petrila, closed its gates ceremoniously on 30th October, 2015, and the symbolic funeral of a dead mine was held a day later (this time, without the officials being present), in the courtyard of the `I. D. Sîrbu` House Museum. What was left is a place where Ion Barbu, alongside many other extraordinary people, attempts to salvage an entire nation’s memory and humour. In the show that was especially produced for this year’s White Night of the Art galleries,  we will be talking about the Night of the Mine Galleries that remain sunk in darkness forever, a darkness that is no stranger to the state Romanian culture is currently in. `A Journey to the Navel of the Earth` brings together for the public not only elements of the three museums – concepts set up by Ion Barbu, but rather weaves, in the six rooms, stories about all of us, stories that laugh with and at us, that weep and recite poetry to us or wail for the confusion of a recent history that should be repeated over and over in its truthful version so as to become engraved in the collective memory. A journey to Planet Petrila will show you that things are actually different. There, the objects and the houses have a soul and speak to you about things that not only the locals should be reminded of as they pass by them. There, the houses speak to you about how important it is to remain honourable, however hard history may be stomping on your face. And never to forget that `all dreams retalliate`. Suzana Dan