Veda Popovici

− Look at our the gallery of portraits... Tell me, do you see any woman? − No. − Exactly. And you won't ever see any. So forget it!” The portraits of the professors shouldn't be confused with working portraits, portraits of hired models. Ioana... Cornelia... Valeria... Georgeta... Cătălina... Alexandra... And many more. A long row of anonymous figures.

The Blind Museum presents: The tree under which I grew
Within the framework pf the Blind Museum, a careful research was initiated to find out the inner genealogy of the Department of Painting of the National University of Arts in Bucharest. For this, we have chosen all the professors that have been educated at this department and/or have educated future professors. Thus, the selection purposefully leaves out the persons that have not been educated at the Painting Department and who have not had students that became professors at the same department. However, even with this omission, the people selected form the majority of the professors that have taught at this department. The research, although thorough, does not hold the ambition to be final. The sources used, the archives of the National University of Arts, some volumes on the history of the institution and the biographies of the artists-professors written by themselves, are far from being exhaustive or infallible. The results of the research are considered to be initial, just a starting point for an archeology of repressed and negated subjectivities, necessary for the founding of the instance of authority in the process of the institutionalization of modern art. One of the fundamental institutions in the installment of modern art's authority of the Academy of Art. Alongside the museum, it is also one of the necessary art institutions for the 19 th century process of implementing Western modernity on the „insecure” territories of Eastern Europe. Indispensable to the representation of the nation-state, the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest, the today National University of Arts, has from its inception considered the painting department its cornerstone.

In this disciplinary model the central figure is the Master or the Professor. His function is a key position for establishing the norms for the figure of the modern artist. Our research has followed various embodiments of this function. The multitude of names designating these embodiments pertain to various working styles, attitudes and mentalities. Only one dimension seems to be common: their masculinity. Let's remember for a moment Judith Shakespeare i, the sister of the famous William. She is the one who, although having the same writing skills, wit and intuition as her brother, never becomes not even a writer, because she is denied education. She remains forever unknown, occupying a presumably always imaginary place, the non-real place of an absent history. The Blind Museum is an institution meant to evaluate marginal histories, that are pushed to the periphery, underground histories that couldn't grow in the light and histories that are only desired and invoked retrospectively as a need, non-histories actually. The tree created here is a long row of Judiths, doubles of their masculine originals, sisters unworthy to become professors. It indicates towards the other row of very real professors. They belong to a genealogy that determines its subjects (meaning members and the people that follow these members, the students): a tree under which one grows. A filiation that determines, creates, anticipates. We all grow under trees, some climb them and see afar, some leave it and choose another, some remain in its shadow forever and some simply cut it off. Just like Judith, this tree is a fiction, it is itself a creation that determines a negated subjectivity. A subjectivity that corrects her genealogy to reclaim her present. This non-exhaustive genealogical schema is neither a denouncement, nor is it an exposal. It is rather a tool to appropriate histories that negate the present of a marginalized subjectivity. A tool to express a non-history. This schema abbreviates the one that legitimizes itself as being the “true” one: Ion becomes Ioana, George and Gheorghe become Georgeta and so on. O row of womenbuffoons that mimic the real, the male. Here are some women that have created and maintain the most important institution of living art: the painting department of the academy of arts. The ridiculousness of this chain of filiation and posterity is the true subject of this work. The ridiculousness of an improbable thing staging itself as reality.


Judith Shakespeare is a fictional character creted by Virginia Woolf in A Room of One's One, published in 1929. The Romanian edition is O cameră separată, translated by Radu Paraschivescu, Univers, Bucharest, 1999.