3. lidia neagu - 1997 / 2008

The exhibition took place on October 11, 2008, at 20.00, within a home gallery set up in a typical block of flats living room.

Not all of us were fortunate enough to live the first part of our lives in the same house. In a fast and agitated world such an experience might seem too motionless, but it has its own psychological advantages. One of these is the precise localization of memories within a given geographical area.

Lidia Neagu is among those who, walking through the neighborhood where she lives, can make quantum leaps between childhood and teenage years just by going to get some bread, entering the park, or taking the underground from the nearest station. Past events are archived in the spatial structure of the city, layer by layer, being accessible to those who have lived them through storytelling.

After eleven years, Lidia Neagu returned to a place she last saw during the summer of 1997. This was a deserted park, where some of the memories from the teenage years still persisted. After the initial moment of surprise in which the past was suddenly rediscovered, she tried to document and re-enact this period of her personal history using photos, short stories, a few objects and an audio recording.

The exhibition consisted of two successive moments. In the first phase the public gathered inside the gallery, and the tombola procedure was carried out. The exhibits were 12 sealed envelopes which contained postcards of 12 locations in the deserted park, along with their respective stories printed on their back. The winners were kindly asked to open the envelopes at home, or at the end of the evening.

Then we all went out in the park. This was the performance part, in which the public was able to have a direct experience of the locations that were documented in the postcards, during a night walk. The artist stopped in each of these 12 places and played an audio recording of her own voice telling a story of what happened there eleven years ago. A few objects acted as clues in the environment of the park. They were mentioned in the stories, but they were also physically present, lit by a powerful, portable electric light while the story of the place was played.

Through a walk between bushes, trees, and the side of the lake, the stories, the objects and the movement turned into a multiple sensory input, which placed the participants in the role of the one who walks at night through an unknown park, in the dark, having access at the same time to someone's tangible memories.

The postcards were distributed towards two public segments. As mentioned above, half of them were given to those who participated at the opening through a tombola procedure. Because of the limited space, access was invitation based only.

The other half was offered to the members of the incepem internet group, using the same method. The announcement was also open to those who lived outside Bucharest, as the gallery could afford covering expenses for mail tax and envelopes. Once more, out of 500 enlisted members, only three people participated in the tombola. They were automatically declared winners.

The low interest for the initiative raised my doubts about this public segment and for the next exhibition I gave up on this forum of Romanian contemporary art as a means for distribution. Beginning with November 2009, galeria 29 started a collaboration with feeder.ro, a web page covering commercial and underground music events in Bucharest.