With the largest surface of virgin forests, Romania is Europe’s last bastion of biodiversity, but it currently faces unprecedented ecological challenges. As a developing country ripped apart by corruption, its economic interests are often falsely depicted in a conflicting relationship with the protection of natural areas. The current and ongoing concerns include the uncontrolled exploitation of forests, extensions of surface mining, over-exploitation of non-renewable resources, fish-poaching in the Danube Delta, and the explosion of populations of invasive species that result from both climate change and human interventions. Human development and welfare are interconnected in complex and sometimes unpredictable ways with these ecosystems. While this is hardly news, when it comes to scientific data and statistics about the climate crisis, the majority of us barely know how to process this information, let alone transform it into action.
To quote Timothy Morton, “All art is ecological”. Using art as an interpretation of reality might prove to be a useful way, even a coping strategy, to grow ecological awareness and to better equip us to experience the uncanniness of the fact that we find ourselves at the edge of a sixth extinction, unknowingly and unwillingly set in motion by the Neolithic Revolution. Thus, Under Pressure is a project that does not pretend to offer solutions as ecological practicums; it rather conceives itself as a collection of poetic explorations that look into a potential reconciliation with what it means to be human in the age of climate crisis. Following and researching the evolution of technological development, some of the artists included in this project propose new frameworks for a better understanding of the times we live in, while others deconstruct ideological narratives, focusing instead on capturing the lyrical materiality of the world. Altogether, through storytelling, the artists included in the exhibition contribute to the project’s goal: that is to germinate a mind of curiosity locally and internationally and to practice reimagining the multitude of different ways of being in the world.
Kuwaiti visual artist born in Senegal and educated in Japan. In 2010, she received a Ph.D. in intermedia art from Tokyo University of the Arts, where her research was focused on the aesthetics of sadness in the Middle East, stemming from poetry, music, art, and ritual practices. Her work explores unconventional gender identities, petro-cultures and their possible futures, as well as the legacies of corruption. Monira has shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions including Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; MoMA, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Migros Museum, Zurich; MoMA PS1, New York; Haus Der Kunst, Munich; Kunstverein Göttingen, Göttingen; Gasworks, London; Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Sultan Gallery, Kuwait; Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo. She currently lives and works in Berlin.
Artist and poet, based in Bucharest. Completed her studies in 2018 at the University of Bucharest, having a background in cultural and image studies. Her work is research-based, and spans different registers and media, including objects, sound-installations, performances and writings. She is interested in how artworks can become epistemological instruments, debunking socio-economic realities and deconstructing issues of power production between humans and nature. Lately, she has been researching the unseen ecologies of the soil within wider or particular extractive contexts. She is editor at fractalia press, where she curates Compost collection.
Musical & visual entity, part of Queer Night family, Shape Platform artist in 2017, and since 2016 until present, a founding member of Corp. platform, with a main focus on representing and promoting queer identities (trans, nonbinary etc.). She has been a Noods Radio resident for three years, hosting Alien Flora, a show inspired by the traveling of seeds or spores making their way through space, with the final purpose of laying on the fertile and inconspicuous soil of Terra. As a direct quote from the sci-fi horror movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, she tries to evoke an esoteric atmosphere, incarnated in vocal musical works that blend with ambient, 1990s aesthetics, and beyond. Chlorys operates from Bucharest.
Multilateral artist with a background in classical and contemporary music, currently active in Bucharest’s free improvisation music scene. Interested in syncretic art, she is a multi-instrumentalist (she plays piano, percussion, accordion, saxophone, violin), a musician, and a performer, looking to develop a deep understanding of the complexity of colors, melodic tones, and vibrant fabrics. Her composition is an ostinato, with polyrhythms and a subtle juxtaposition of songs and polyphonies that work in harmony. Bogdana lives and works in Bucharest.
Adrian is drawn to the unreal, intrigued by the magic of the intangible and the ethereal, he seeks the sorcery that incarnates the virtual into solid matter. His practice ranges from designing scenography and sculptures to programming CG simulations and composing videos. He graduated from UDK Berlin, receiving a master’s degree in Set Design with his project “Cyborgia” based on Paul B. Preciado’s essay: “How Pompeii invented Pornography, The “Gabinetto Segreto” and the Sexopolitical Foundations of the Modern European Metropolis”. He is also a founding member of the artists’ group virtuellestheater. Adrian lives and works between Cluj and Berlin.
Maria's work looks into mechanisms of self-representation and self-promotion as a strategic form of public identity. A passionate researcher of celebrity culture and new forms of fame and influence created through social media, she investigates concepts such as beauty, eternal youth, and immortality, often placing herself both behind and in front of the camera. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from The National University of Arts in Bucharest and a MA in Art Direction from École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL). Her most recent works were presented at Scena9, Bucharest; Istituto Svizzero, Milan; Sundance Film Festival - New Frontier; Locarno Film Festival; GIFF - Geneva Film Festival; Swissnex, San Francisco; Gessnerallee Zürich; HeK, Basel. Maria currently lives and works in Neuchatel.
Nona Inescu works with photography, objects, installations, and video to define contemporary relationships between the human body and its environment through the lens of posthumanism. Concepts such as geological time and our relationship with the environment, compose in her practice an aesthetic language of contemporary coexistence in a biological techno-sphere. Nona studied at Chelsea College of Arts & Design in London, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, and at the National University of Arts in Bucharest and exhibited internationally at Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn; Peles Empire, Berlin; SpazioA, Pistoia; Künstlerhaus Bremen, Bremen; Savvy Contemporary, Berlin; FRAC des Pays de la Loire, Carquefou; Art Encounters Biennale, Timișoara; Kunstverein Nuremberg, amongst others. Nona currently lives and works between Bucharest and Berlin.
Katja Novitskova tackles in her work the complexity and eventual failures of depicting the world through technologically driven narratives. By uniting art and science to the level of nature, Novitskova brings awareness to the mediation and representation tools used to depict these realms. Her work has been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions including Kunstfort, Vijfhuizen, mutagen.xyz, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich; Powerlong Museum, Shanghai; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Baltic Triennial, Vilnius; the Estonian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, and The Public Art Fund, New York, amongst others. Katja lives and works between Berlin and Amsterdam.
Sound and mixed-media artist interested in the sound’s ability to radically change our understanding of images. Her practice focuses on several topics: from how the still and the moving images enhance one another, to the use of sound as a medium of expression. An increasingly visible presence on the international electronic music scene, Simina is a SHAPE alumni artist at Platform for Innovative Music and Audiovisual Art from Europe; and holds a Nomination at Phonurgia Nova, Pierre Schaeffer. She currently lives between Bucharest and Berlin, where she is starting a Master's program in Sound Studies and Sonic Arts at UDK Berlin.
Works with words, sounds, and other living media, such as Bacillus subtilis nattō bacteria and the “many-headed” slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Her audiovisual pieces, sculptures, and performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Sutela's work has been presented internationally at museums and art contexts, including Guggenheim Bilbao, Moderna Museet, Serpentine Galleries, and, most recently, Shanghai Biennale and Liverpool Biennial. She is a Visiting Artist at The MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) in 2019-21. Jenna currently lives and works in Berlin.