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Manuel Pelmus: A Luxury That We Can’t Afford (Wisdom of the Earth)

Fri, 1 Nov 2019 ⏐1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Manuel Pelmus: A Luxury That We Can’t Afford (Wisdom of the Earth) presented in the frame of eXplore festival #14


01 and 02 NOV 2019

National Geology Museum, Bucharest

13:00 – 15:00 ongoing action with Cristina Toma and Maria F. Scaroni

A Luxury That We Can’t Afford (Wisdom of the Earth) starts from a less-known sculpture of Constantin Brancusi, Sculpture For the Blind (1920), along with an “immaterial” version of Wisdom of the Earth (1907). The live-work aims to enter into dialogue with the history and legacy of the two Brancusi sculptures through speech, movement, strategies of enactment and politics of embodiment, proposing a less canonical narrative of art history, interrogating modernist constructs, as well as imagining a notion of history in motion, open to change and transformation.

The “immaterial” version of the Wisdom of the Earth sculpture, built from text, will come to life for several hours, updating and entering into dialogue with the gesture of Constantin Brancusi from 1920. The text is a collage consisting of comments made over time, from 1910 to the present, by the public and critics, often contradictory about the sculpture. Wisdom of the Earth responds and speaks “back”. Using Sculpture for the Blind dramaturgy, even if we don’t see it, we will have to listen to what it has to say and how it wants to rewrite history.

A sculpture you don’t see, but you listen to.

Manuel Pelmuș (b. 1974, Bucharest) lives and works in Oslo and Bucharest.  He is one of the most influential artists of the “new performance”, being interested in the last decade to reimagine the role of performance in the context of visual arts. In recent years, his projects have been presented at Para Site, Hong Kong (2017 – 2018), Tate Modern, London and Tate Liverpool (2016); Ludwig Museum, Cologne (2016); Off-Biennale Budapest (2015 and 2017); Kyiv Biennale (2015); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2014); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw (2014); Para Site, Hong Kong (2014); The Venice Biennale (2013), among others. In 2012, he was awarded the Berlin Art Prize for performance arts and the prize for excellence from the National Dance Center of Bucharest in 2014. Starting October 2019, Manuel Pelmus is a “research felow” at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO).


A Luxury That We Can’t Afford (Wisdom of the Earth)
Author: Manuel Pelmuș
With: Cristina Toma, Maria F. Scaroni

Production: WASP Studios

Cultural project co-financed by: Romanian Cultural Institute, The Administration of the National Cultural Fund, Romania

Project commissioned by Europalia Arts Festival, curator Andreea Căpitănescu, for Brancusi: Sublimation of Form exhibition, at BOZAR, Brussels

Partners: National Geology Museum – Bucharest and Craiova Art Museum

@Maria F. Scaroni  by Frank Sperling

eXplore festival #14

Producers: 4Culture Association and WASP Studios

Cultural project co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund AFCN
The project does not necessarily represent the position of AFCN. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or the way the project results can be used. This is entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.

Partners: Balassi Institute – The Hungarian Institute in Bucharest, Brancovenesti Palaces Cultural Center, Geological Institute of Romania – National Museum of Geology, Craiova Art Museum

Media Partners: Radio România Cultural, Modernism, Zeppelin, Revista ARTA, Designist,, IQads, România Pozitivă


WASP Studios
View Organizer Website


Muzeul National de Geologie Bucuresti
Pavel D. Kisellef 2
Bucharest, Romania
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