New East Poetistas is a contemporary historical record of the moment in Romanian-European-global forms of life from both a diagnostic and speculative perspective. The works of Jasmina Al-Qaisi, Ioana Cîrlig, Larisa Crunțeanu and Patricia Morosan reflect the shifting perceptions of Central and Southeastern Europe and follow the lives and occupations of those living in the region.

New East Poetistas Exhibition

with Jasmina Al-Qaisi, Ioana Cîrlig, Larisa Crunțeanu, Patricia Morosan

at Alte Feuerwache—Projektraum 
Address: Marchlewskistraße 6, 10243 Berlin
Exhibition opening: Friday, July 10, 2020, starting at 5pm
Exhibition period: July 11—August, 23, 2020
Opening hours: Monday—Thursday 11am—7pm / Friday—Sunday 12am—8pm

Texts written by Ulrike Gerhardt
Translated by bellu & bellu

The exhibition New East Poetistas deals with the transformation of European geographies and identities. Selected by the photographer and artist Patricia Morosan, the works by Jasmina Al-Qaisi, Ioana Cîrlig, Larisa Crunțeanu and Patricia Morosan reflect the shifting perceptions of Central and Southeastern Europe—both their own and those of others—and follow the lives and occupations of those living in the region.

The suffix -ista usually marks an affiliation, a membership. In the case of the New East Poetistas, however, the artists develop an artistic language each of their own, which is based on encounters and observations, and in which poetic methods and image concepts coincide in the production of the new (lat. poiesis). Their biographical connections to Romania is what the artists have in common; they are based in Bucharest, Halle, and Berlin. From here, the Poetistas—three decades after 1989/1991—rethink the so-called ‘New East’ as a questionable branding of Eastern Europe. They belong to the “generation of transformation”, called “children of post-communism” (Boris Buden) as well, who grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s and who have since been socialised globally.

New East Poetistas is a contemporary historical record of the moment in Romanian-European-global forms of life from both a diagnostic and speculative perspective. On the one hand, the life of the well connected folk singer (Crunţeanu), the self-proclaimed superhuman qualities of the women from Zâne (“superhuman women”), and the landscapes devastated by deforestation and open pit mining in Postindustrial Stories (Cîrlig), they all unveil the limitations of everyday life. On the other hand, they also disclose the surplus value, that resists the exhaustive logic of documentary images and exceeds the aesthetics of representation. The vocal polyphonicity of women stories (Al-Qaisi) and the symbolic shifts of Europe’s geography (Morosan) are the Poetistas’ keyboards, that transform the “New East” each in a way of her own.

PATRICIA MOROSAN, (I) Remember Europe (2018)

In her work (I) Remember Europe (2018), starting from Berlin, Patricia Morosan visited seven locations in Central and Eastern European countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Slovakia, Germany, and Poland), that were each considered the “centre of Europe” at different historical moments in time. In her photo book, Morosan’s images unfold a psychogeography of people, landscapes, villages, cities, and buildings that partly precede and partly react to the cartographic constructions of the centre. They not only show the general alterability of borders, which Morosan summarizes as a “contingent element of the construction of Europe.” The continual redefinition and shifting of centres and peripheries also undermines any established meaning of “Eastern” or “Western” Europe.

IOANA CÎRLIG, Postindustrial Stories (2012-2015)

The series Postindustrial Stories (2012-2015) is the result of a long term research project in two mining towns in Romania by Bucharest based photographer Ioana Cîrlig. Postindustrial Stories also deals with the shift of centres and the economical decay as a consequence of the decline of the mining industry since the 2000s and the subsequent life in its depopulated and ecologically devastated remains. In her second series titled Zâne (2014-17), the artist draws our attention from a post- to a pre-industrial situation and focuses on the arduous agricultural life of women in the Romanian counties of Maramureș, Oaș, in the Apuseni Mountains and in the Danube Delta. These too are female identities of today: In Zâne, the woman farmer works high up on the haystack and the sixteen-year-old daughter of the mushroom pickers keeps herself warm by the fire while waiting for her parents. Cîrlig’s magical-realistic images and scenes integrate individual biographies, local myths and nature-related superstition as speculative material.

LARISA CRUNȚEANU, Jealous of the Forest (2018)

Larisa Crunţeanu’s video Jealous of the Forest (with Traian Frâncu, produced by META Cultural Foundation, 2018) shows a moment in the everyday life of a single man, a professional folk singer in rural Romania. While he walks with hayforks through its wide garden, his eyes continuously focus on two mobile phones at once—a reference to the geography of Europe reshaped and expanded by communication technology. At the end of the walk he suddenly starts singing the 19th century folk song Bine-i codrule de tine (Jealous of the Forest). He sings of the supposed immovability of the forest, which seeems to be immune to painful unreturned feelings (of love). And yet his desire “to feel as little as the forest” is tightly linked to the massive, economically caused migration of women from rural regions, especially after the enlargement of the European Union. In Jealous of the Forest Europe’s present and cultural heritage converge to precarious yet touching constructions of masculinity.

JASMINA AL-QAISI, Bine Biene (2020)

Bine Biene (2020) is a sound installation by Jasmina Al-Qaisi (Scenography: Pelin Gebhard), specially produced for this exhibition. In this work, the genealogy of care serves as a starting point. The artist, who lives in Berlin and Halle, asked women (memories with & from Despina Ilinca Maria Iorga, Smaranda Ursuleanu, Sina Kerschbaum, Olga Konik, Natalia Acevedo Ferreira, Adela, Ioana, Sasha Nicolae und Ligia Popa) whether and (if yes) what expectations, obligations and burdens they encounter in the face of intergenerational relations and affective cultural transmissions, and in what ways they avoid them. In the material of her research, the figure of the tireless host—as a distorted archetype of female identity (“the busy bee”)—is constantly present. Al-Qaisi responds with poetic autogenic sounds, repetitions and homophonies, through which she plots the conversations and her own research into a kind of a mode of resistance. Bine Biene is an acoustic experiment with language on the symbolic dowry of the young “women of transition” and their sisters of choice. Listen to an excerpt of Jasmina Al-Qaisi’s sound installation here.

One of the 13 pages of the Bine Biene poem
for the sound installation by Jasmina Al-Qaisi

I thought that’s self centered but now I know it’s unity

Totul are o limită

They figure it out for themselves tell it to others they say you don’t know unless you have slept on it
or simply If you have liiiiiiived iiiiiiiiiii it
Regularly displacing my desires from myself to biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
A story of Alliance

Die Allianz



When I am leaving There will only be questions
there will be no trace of the word love my cavities behold the margins the tested margins
of this word
There will only beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee questions

o sută de sunt sunete sunt o sută

Any absence is an absence leaning on these questions
In dream language I have been conceived by a handful of hands fabricated indoors
my cavities that behold that information I still try to translate that language like I have any other

lieber kräuter liebhaber
Schild Kräuter
Kräuter Kräuter Kräuter

Imagining myself in this perpetual role of making up always something to be put in the mouth
I let go small but strong being opening gates nice night noises sssssssssssssssss

Mică și a dracului
Bis biss der biss

Not lazy I see I see I see I see that thing that was there I’m up for showing laughter
I laugh I can’t ooooooonly I need to

Blabberling with strength as transparent as my sweat
I was the gate, I was the door

PATRICIA MOROSAN studied photography at the Ostkreuzschule in Berlin. In her visual poetic work, she negotiates the duality of intimacy and identity. Represented by Galerie Franzkowiak, her work have been exhibited at Les Rencontres de la Photographie d‘Arles Voies Off, Arles; Les Boutographies, Montpellier; at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest; Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin; Metamatic TAF, TV Control Center (KET), Athens; Atelier Varan, Paris; at FotoWien, Vienna; the Noorderlicht International Festival and at the Foto Forum, Bolzano. 2019 she won the New European Photography Award from Les Boutographies and the Courage Prize of the Association of Women Journalists in Germany. She was nominated for the Art Prize of the Haus am Kleistpark in Berlin (2019), for the Wellcome Photography Award (2020) and the Documentary Prize Wüstenrot (2020).

IOANA CÎRLIG is a photographer whose work has a documentary and artistic character. She studied photography at the University of Arts in Bucharest and co-founded the Center for Documentary Photography 2016 in Romania. Her work has been exhibited in London, New York, Vancouver, Ve- nice, Amsterdam, Seoul and Paris. She has received the Lensculture Exposure Award (2014), the Balkan Photo Award (2016) and the FujiFilm Award (2019). Her work has been presented in Der Spiegel, Inge Morath Magazine, F-Stop Magazine, Broadly, It’s Nice That, The Calvert Journal and British Journal of Photography among others.

LARISA CRUNȚEANU studied film and photography at the University of the Arts in Bucharest, where she is currently a PhD candidate. Her works have been exhibited internationally; among others in the Spinnerei, Leipzig; Warsaw Biennial and Zacheta Project Space, Warsaw; RKI Gallery, Martin Gropius Bau, District * Schule ohne Zentrum, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; FAAP (Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado), São Paulo; Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Anca Poterasu Gallery, Gallery Ivan, tranzit, Atelier 35, Salonul de Proiecte, Galeria Posibila, Bucharest and many more. Larisa Crunțeanu works mostly collaboratively at the intersection between research and speculation, creating contexts for the emergence of new art and social practices. Many of her projects reflect on concepts related to the social body and collective consciousness.

JASMINA AL-QAISI studied journalism and visual studies in Bucharest and Ljubljana. She is an author—oscillating between sound and visual poetry. She lives in Berlin and Halle Saale and has been working at SAVVY Contemporary since 2017, where she recently inaugurated the experimental practice and archive of performance „Behind Shelves“. Furthermore, she makes the sound and music event series „Untraining the Ear“. She works together with the collective „Research and Waves“ and writes for art and culture magazines such as Revista Arta and Scena 9. She produces sound poetry and uses the medium of radio for experimental artistic- communication methods (see: SAVVY Radio for documenta 14, SAVVYZAAR, BOL Hyderabad, Radio Corax, The Lake Radio, Cashmere Radio, Datscha Radio, Radio Mischpoke and many more).

Cover image credit: Ioana Cîrlig, Postindustrial Stories (2012-2015)