Anca Munteanu Rimnic

PSM Gallery, Berlin, Germany

The sound of footsteps emanates from a pair of tap-dancing shoes on the floor of PSM Gallery, an aural frame for Anca Munteanu Rimnic’s exhibition ‘Simulanta’. The black shoes, which are titled Device (2017) and house two small porcelain ducks, were worn by the artist a few days before the opening, as she traced the walls of the exhibition, recording her various movements and pauses. Now, her presence lingers over the works like a friendly ghost, teasing viewers with its reticence.

anca_munteanu_rimnic_show_simulanta_installation_view1_photo_nick_ash.jpg

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Giving further form to this sense of playful reluctance, Pucci (Well, That the Eyes Are Not Yet the Brain) (2017) sees a glazed ceramic stork coyly turn its face to the wall. In stark contrast to the bird’s reserve, a faint recording of an opera singer plays within the sculpture: a particularly bold passage from Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème (1895), performed and recorded, again, in the gallery prior to the opening. In this oscillation between presence and absence, performance and withdrawal, Munteanu Rimnic plays a game with the supposed fixity of identity, continuously encouraging and defying our expectations.

Born in Romania, but raised mostly in Germany, notions of heritage and otherness often find their way into the artist’s work. In mischievous riposte, she employs time-honoured Romanian weaving techniques, not to romanticize local craftsmanship but to undermine exoticizing desires to find within that removed locality something of ‘cultural significance’. Concrete Portrait I and II (both 2013) are hand-woven depictions of such mundane features as a puddle and a hook on a wall. What do you want from me, Munteanu Rimnic seems to ask, my national identity cast in bronze? Spoon (2017), a typically Romanian stirring tool ordinarily made out of wood, is exactly that.

anca_munteanu_rimnic_portrait-2016-70x77-unique-stichery-japonese-ink-wool-thread_photo_ancamunteanurimnic.jpg

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Portrait, 2011, stitchery, japanese ink, woollen thread, 70 x 60 cm. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Portrait, 2011, stitchery, japanese ink, woollen thread, 70 x 60 cm. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Two large photographs, Simulanta I and II (both 2017), capture a dancer struggling under a traditional Romanian rug. Somehow less convincing as objects than ideas, these works testify to the ways in which, for Munteanu Rimnic, the process that precedes the work takes prominence – not only over the critique that ensues, but also over its material outcome. In this respect, as well as in the various unseen performances that prefigured the exhibition, there is a disregard for audience, even a rejection of publicness. As a contrived container for sprawling content, the structure of an exhibition has a lot in common with that of identity. But while exhibitions are made for viewers, such a comparison beckons the question: who is identity for? Here, by way of an answer, Munteanu Rimnic denies the audience the pleasure of identity as spectacle. Her dancer is concealed by a rug that is heavy in both matter and signification, her movements made awkward and clumsy as a result. Here is a challenge to the feminist dictum that ‘the personal is political’. Because while there is a certain truth to that, in chasing such a definition we risk squandering the personal as an increasingly precious space for the idiosyncratic, secret and nonsensical. 

anca_munteanu_rimnic_show_simulanta_installation_view2_photo_nick_ash.jpg

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Anca Munteanu Rimnic, ‘Simulanta’, 2017, installation view, PSM, Berlin. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

In Eliza (2014), a conversation between the artist and a thusly-named psychoanalytic computer programme developed in 1966, Munteanu Rimnic wrestles with this demand for her inner world to fit an un-sexy, pre-determined, psychic schema. ‘Explain how I can be of assistance to you’, Eliza says in a framed transcript of their exchange. ‘Lick my pussy first’, the patient instead demands. ‘I feel that you’re still holding something back’ is the computer’s oblivious reply. With ‘Simulanta’, Munteanu Rimnic makes an argument for privacy and agency, not as placeholders for bourgeois libertarianism, but for eccentricity, spontaneity and play; for trial and error, and for art as an opportunity to undo coherence. 

Main image: Anca Munteanu Rimnic, Simulanta I (detail), 2017, c-type print mounted on aluminium, 190 x 160 cm. Courtesy: PSM, Berlin

Kristian Vistrup Madsen is an arts and culture writer based in Berlin, Germany.

Issue 190

First published in Issue 190

October 2017

Most Read

The punk artists’s invasion of the pitch during the Croatia vs. France match reminded us what Russia’s new ‘normality’...
In further news: Brexit voters avoid arts; New York libraries’s culture pass unlocks museums; Grayson Perry-backed...
If artificial intelligence were ever to achieve sentience, could it feasibly produce art? (And would it be good?)
The punk activist-artists have been charged with disruption after they charged the field during the France vs Croatia...
27 educators are taking the London gallery to an employment tribunal, demanding that they be recognized as employees
In further news: Glasgow School of Art to be rebuilt; Philadelphia Museum of Art gets a Frank Gehry-designed restaurant
Highlights from Condo New York 2018 and Commonwealth and Council at 47 Canal: the summer shows to see
Knussen’s music laid out each component as ‘precarious, vulnerable, exposed’ – and his conducting similarly worked from...
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...
‘You can’t reason with him but you can ridicule him’ – lightweight as it is, Trump Baby is a win for art as a...
Anderson and partner Juman Malouf are sorting through the treasures of the celebrated Kunsthistorisches Museum for...
From Capote to Basquiat, the pop artist’s glittering ‘visual diary’ of the last years of his life is seen for the first...
‘When I opened Monika Sprüth Galerie, only very few German gallerists represented women artists’
Can a ragtag cluster of artists, curators and critics really push back against our ‘bare’ art world?
In further news: German government buys Giambologna at the eleventh hour; LACMA’s new expansion delayed
Gucci and Frieze present film number two in the Second Summer of Love series, focusing on the history of acid house
Judges described the gallery’s GBP£20 million redevelopment by Jamie Fobert Architects as ‘deeply intelligent’ and a ‘...
Is the lack of social mobility in the arts due to a self-congratulatory conviction that the sector represents the...
The controversial intellectual suggests art would be better done at home – she should be careful what she wishes for
Previously unheard music on Both Directions At Once includes blues as imposing as the saxophonist would ever record
In further news: Macron reconsiders artist residencies; British Council accused of censorship; V&A to host largest...
In our devotion to computation and its predictive capabilities are we rushing blindly towards our own demise?
Arts subjects are increasingly marginalized in the UK curriculum – but the controversial intellectual suggests art is...
An exhibition of performances at Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, unfolds the rituals of sexual encounters
An art historian explains what the Carters’s takeover of the Paris museum says about art, race and power
Artist Andrea Fraser’s 2016 in Museums, Money and Politics lifts the lid on US museum board members and...
The Ruhrtriennale arts festival disinvited the Scottish hip-hop trio for their pro-Palestinian politics, then u-turned
The Baltimore’s director on why correcting the art historical canon is not only right but urgent for museums to remain...
Serpentine swimmers complain about Christo’s floating pyramid; and Hermitage’s psychic cat is a World Cup oracle: the...
The largest mural in Europe by the artist has been hidden for 30 years in an old storage depot – until now
Alumni Martin Boyce, Karla Black, Duncan Campbell and Ciara Phillips on the past and future of Charles Rennie...
In further news: po-mo architecture in the UK gets heritage status; Kassel to buy Olu Oguibe’s monument to refugees
The frieze columnist's first novel is an homage to, and embodiment of, the late, great Kathy Acker
60 years after the celebrated Brutalist architect fell foul of local authorities, a Berlin Unité d’Habitation apartment...
The British artist and Turner Prize winner is taking on the gun advocacy group at a time of renewed debate around arms...
The central thrust of the exhibition positions Sicily as the fulcrum of geopolitical conflicts over migration, trade,...
The Carters’s museum takeover powers through art history’s greatest hits – with a serious message about how the canon...
The 20-metre-high Mastaba finally realizes the artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s design
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
In the age of Brexit, why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to return the ‘stolen’ Parthenon marbles has never been...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’
US true crime series Unsolved takes two formative pop cultural events to explore their concealed human stories and...

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018