Urban comics with ArtiViStory Collective

June 16, 2023 - July 2, 2023
Cluj-Napoca Art Museum
Cluj-Napoca Museum of Art, a cultural institution operating under the authority of the Cluj County Council, organizes in the period June 16th - July 2nd the exhibition "Unboxed Stories. Urban Comics with ArtiViStory Collective" in partnership with the Artivistory Association and the UniversitArt Association of the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca (UAD). The opening of the exhibition will take place on Friday, June 16th, 2023 at 17.00.

Unboxed Stories. Urban Comics with ArtiViStory Collective is the third exhibition organized by the ArtiViStory Collective, in an effort to illustrate the experiences and concerns of young artists in their search for their identity and the questioning of the everyday creative context. The artists of ArtiViStory Collective (Evelina Grigorean, Teodora Predescu, Melinda Urecki, Lucian Barbu, Adrian Buda, Mihai Guleș) continue in this exhibition project to explore the mechanisms of community activation, in this case of young artists, as a form of collective research of an imaginary resulting both from subjective documentation, self-referential and introspective analysis, and from rigorous and lucid observations anchored either in the immediate reality of the contemporary society or in alternative constructs of fictional worlds.

Curated by Alice Iliescu and Anamaria Tomiuc from the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, together with the exhibition commissioner Alexandra Sârbu (Cluj-Napoca Museum of Art), the exhibition proposes both a reflective journey on the human memory and identity and an encounter with the creative laboratory of the young exhibiting artists, students and graduates of the comic strip and animation courses within the Bachelor's (Fine Arts - Graphic Arts) and Master's (Comic Strip and Cartoon) degree programs of UAD Cluj-Napoca together with their coordinator, Alice Iliescu: Evelina Grigorean, Teodora Predescu, Melinda Ureczki, Lucian Barbu, Adrian Buda, Mihai Guleș, Adina Constantin, Miruna Urbanek, Rahel Rudolf, Andreea Homan, Raluca Pavelescu, Andreea Tabita Curelaru, Andrada Băeș, Iris Golgoțiu, Borbély Szilvia, Siklódy Fruzsina, Maria Brâneț, Mara Bisa, Ana-Maria Bozdog, Sarah Popuț, Dariana-Ionela Ilie, Ionela-Georgiana Purcel, Daria Axente, Sabina Georgescu, Andreea Juncă-Guzu, Gabriela Baciu, Delia Elena Șuteu, Starmüller Boróka, Roberta Gașpar, Bianca Maria Berlea, Ana Savu.

Based on the basic principles of sequential art, as a highly versatile visual narrative practice, the selected projects are rendered in a variety of artistic media including comics, animation, engraving, sculpture, multimedia, and installations, and bring to the fore multi-varied perspectives on themes that reflect the constant concerns of these young artists. In a conceptual approach that combines auto-biographical comics with socially engaged comics, the exhibition takes the visitor on a symbolic journey through intimate or fictional, subjective or collective, historical or fantastic narrative universes, unboxing countless stories.

In the exhibition, a series of projects that start from the inquiry of autobiographical events become both mechanisms of exploration of personal identity through self-reflexive processes and real constructions of personal archives of subjective memories (Lucian Barbu, Adina Constantin, Adrian Buda, Maria Brâneț) or interiorized architectures (Alice Iliescu). Other series that problematize a modus vivendi in a perpetuating routine or in an often hostile and distressing everyday life generates inner dialogues and disturbing confessions with strong reverberations (Dariana-Ionela Ilie, Ana-Maria Bozdog, Gabriela Baciu). And the trauma of the past, the anxiety, the constant pressure, the pain, the disappointment are sources of projects that investigate various states of mind, emotions and feelings (Miruna Urbanek, Iris Golgoțiu, Rahel Rudolf, Mara Bisa, Raluca Pavelescu, Delia Șuteu), illustrating in the visual discourse the need for healing, for self-discovery (Starmüller Boróka, Daria Axente) and the search for well-being (Mihai Guleș, Ionela-Georgiana Purcel). Last but not least, in addition to subjective identities and narrative spaces (Siklódy Fruzsina), initiatic journeys and inner quests (Borbély Szilvia, Bianca Maria Berlea, Ana Savu, Sabina Georgescu, Roberta Gașpar) other series of projects approach from a critical perspective the relationship of the individual with the society, the inter-human relations and the social identity (Evelina Grigorean, Andreea Tabita Curelaru), reflecting on myths, traditions and collective memory (Andrada Băeș, Andreea Juncă-Guzu, Sarah Popuț, Melinda Ureczki) in gestures of recording the historical past (Andreea Homan) or imagining future worlds (Teodora Predescu). In addition, starting from these concepts explored in the projects presented above, some comic strip publications by the artists Bernát Zsófia, Pánczél Évi, Andrada Nedelcu, Eunicia Zidaru, Mátyás Réka, Andreea Radu, Roxana Andreea Iordache, Diana Amarandei, Iulia Rad, Raluca Vlad are presented.

In order to enhance these visual discourses, the exhibition also includes a series of one-page comics on the theme Walking into society - Find Your Trust as well as a series of 16-page comics and short animations on the theme For the First Time by second and third year students participating in the comics and animation courses of the above mentioned undergraduate programme: Szilágyi Csenge, Andreea Catana, Sofia Martina, Ioana Man, Cosmin-Alexandru Grigoraș, Cristina Boştină, Péntek Kincső-Virág, Cătălina Grițcu, Bianca Manea, Ioana-Flavia Popa, Alexandra Lazăr, Dan-Ciprian Memei, Denisa-Maria Pădurariu, Adelina Abrudean, Adriana Gabriela Liciu, Ana Constantin, Andreea Vasiu, Anna Peter, Daria Barbu, Denisa Dănuleț, Erik Raul Sas, Estera-Hermina Csatlovszky, Fabiana Ginghină, Lakatos Antonia, Mihai Alisa, Miruna Anton, Paula Roșca, Radu Coroian, Cristina Ilie, Pierpaolo Scrivano. These projects join the ArtiViStory Collective's initiative to build a safe space in the exhibition area, where, through sequential art, artists enter into a dialogue with the public, and where the subjects addressed can become a mirror of the concerns common to the young generation, supported by a solidarity of age, experiences, daily needs and challenges of the contemporary society.

In addition to the stories revealed, the exhibition is also a broad exploration of visual narratives and sequential art that illustrate the complexity of the creative processes involved in the projects on display, sketches, character constructions, conventional and unconventional narrative frames and sequences, symbols, chromatics, stylistics, set design and other elements inherent in their construction mechanisms.

The ArtiViStory Collective is a community of artists, curators, researchers and other professionals from interdisciplinary fields working together, mainly through comics and sequential art, for social engagement. The practice of the artists in ArtiViStory Collective investigates the urban imaginary and social identity in subjective ways and is based on the belief that art is always connected to real situations, contexts and processes and should engage directly with the society, by either depicting ordinary aspects of everyday life, by stirring up reactions, conversations or discourse on various specific topics, or by engaging in projects and processes that act for the well-being of the community.

Artivistory Association is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that was founded in 2023 to support, promote and engage young artists in the community through the use of sequential art, comics and other socially engaged contemporary art forms in order to create a positive impact on how the general public perceives these forms of artistic expression. The association aims to inspire alternative ways of communicating, relating and developing creativity among the public through comics and socially engaged contemporary art.

UniversitArt Association is a non-governmental, non-profit, apolitical and independent organization of public interest, founded in 2017 within the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, with the aim to represent the interests of its community, to promote its members locally, nationally and internationally and to support the university in fulfilling its cultural mission by organizing artistic and scientific events (research projects, artistic projects, exhibitions, conferences, creative workshops). UniversitArt Association supported the first stage of development of the ArtiViStory Collective, within the project "(in)VISIBLE: Creative documentation & process evaluation in support of E2A Framework and community engagement for Learning Hub Cluj" funded by Fondation Botnar within OurCluj initiative and coordinated in 2022 the first two exhibition projects of the ArtiViStory Collective, Imagining Futures and Voices of Youth at Cluj-Napoca Art Museum and Casa Matei Gallery.