• Bianca Vinther

My 1st Encounter with Dan Perjovschi and the Curse of the Hanging Ladder

The world-renowned artist Dan Perjovschi and the classic German superstition of the hanging ladder are like chalk and cheese: they have nothing in common. Yet, they suddently converged for me. How? Find out below.

Sketches in black on white by the lumbung artist Dan Perjovschi for documenta 15 in Kassel.
Sketches for The Horizontal Newspaper in Kassel by Dan Perjovschi. Courtesy of the artist.

The other day, I walked under a leaning ladder. This is like tempting fate in Germany, so I said to myself: “Bianca, you may get into trouble soon. Watch out where you drive your bicycle!” Gesagt, getan (no sooner said than done): within the last 24 hours, I drove my bicycle with extreme alertness. And courteously stopped for all pedestrians.


Everything seemed to work fine: I managed to not run anyone over. Nevertheless, the curse was cast, and I was doomed to misfortune. Perversely, good luck came first: the one and only Dan Perjovschi kindly accepted my invitation to appear on The Pointless Artist Podcast!


On Saturday, 4 June 2022, we had an amazing one-hour conversation about his contribution to the upcoming documenta 15, his trajectory as an artist, and his social engagement with his wife, Lia, in Romania and around the world. We also discussed his ways of working, his future projects, and so much more. Substance, depth, lovely stories, insights, humour – we had them all.


Then bad luck struck (the leaning ladder!!): no sound on the recorded video with Dan Perjovschi (in spite of previous sound and call tests). Die Welt ging unter (the world was ending) at the snap of a finger … I luckily managed to avoid a nervous breakdown when I realised that the joy and honour of having met and talked with this amazing person for an hour will never be taken from me.


NB: Dear fella podcasters, if this kind of bad luck hasn't happened to you yet, it will one day, I promise. And when you’ll get so far, please remember: keep calm and be bluntly honest with your guests. People like Dan Perjovschi, with a clear understanding of human nature and the misery of modern technology, will be always willing to give you another chance, I promise that, too.


Watch for my upcoming summary of my conversation with Dan Perjovschi on this blog, and keep an eye out for my interview with him on The Pointless Artist Podcast, which will be released next week. Here’s a little appetizer for Dan Perjovschi's current and future fans, from Germany with love.


Who is Dan Perjovschi in a nutshell


He’s the most popular Romanian living artist and an icon of the international art scene. He had solo exhibitions at the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen in 2021, the MoMA, New York and Kunsthalle Basel in 2007, and the Tate Modern, London in 2006, to name a few. He also represented his home country at the 48th Vennice Biennale in 1999.


But Dan is so much more than himself and his successes. He’s a voice of consciousness and social change, a bold political commentator without being a politician, and a lumbung artist, too (he's one of the invited artists to the upcoming documenta 15; yep, only 14 days to go!).


Put simply, Dan is a collective noun, for he represents more than one person; he embodies a plurality of one kind. Dan is like a large, heterogeneous group of people working together in one entity. It’s easy to get confused over whether to treat Dan as singular or plural. That’s why I’m telling you: while collective nouns are usually treated in singular, Dan is an exception. A plural. He are.


Documenta 15 curators, Ruangrupa, understood correctly Dan’s true nature and made him and his drawing installations the foreword to their concept of collective, socially-engaged art. Mark these words: Dan is the first artist to ever draw on the columns of the Fridericianum Museum in Kassel, a sacred symbol of documenta!


By the way, the opening of documenta 15 and inauguration of Dan's "Generosity, Regeneration, Transparency, Independence, Sufficiency, Local Anchor, and, most of all, Humour"! will take place on 18 June 2022. Save the date in your calendar!


Snapshot of The Horizontal Newspaper in Kassel by the Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi.
Sketches of The Horizontal Newspaper in Kassel by Dan Perjovschi. Courtesy of the artist.

What you may know less about Dan Perjovschi


He began his career as an illustrator and art director for the first independent oppositional weekly called Revista 22 published in Romania in the aftermath of the 1989 Revolution.


Revista 22 was founded by a think tank of dissident writers and artists who bravely fought for freedom of expression and human rights behind the Iron Curtain, and carried on fighting for what they believed in after 22 December 1989.


Since 2010, Dan has been drawing the public art project entitled The Horizontal Newspaper in his hometown Sibiu/Hermannstadt in Transylvania, Romania. Take a look at some excellent snapshots here. Recently, he has created a pendant (you can also call it a sibling or a twin) in Kassel. See the two pictures above.


What Dan Perjovschi’s art is not


The drawings and installations he creates are not graffiti. Nor are they comic strips.


Comin’ next


Watch for the upcoming summary of my conversation with Dan Perjovschi on The Pointless Artist Blog, and keep an eye out for my interview with him on The Pointless Artist Podcast.


Fragment from The Horizontal Newspaper by the Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi, Sibiu, Romania
The Horizontal Newsaper (fragment), Sibiu/Hermannstadt by Dan Perjovschi. Courtesy of the artist.

Via The Pointless Artist Blog and Podcast, I support the creative energy of life and the artists who contribute to transforming this world into a freer, kinder, more inclusive, caring, transparent, and compassionate place to live. I firmly believe in the passion for art, the importance of sharing knowledge and experiences, and the power of personal stories to bring us together.


Thank you for reading this blog post till the end. If you’ve got something to add, please comment on this blog post below, drop me an e-mail, or pm me on Instagram @the_pointless_artist. I'd love to hear from you!

 

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Recognise your pointlessness and keep creating!


From Germany with love,


Bianca Vinther


#documentafifteen #ziarulorizontal #horizontalnewspaper #danperjovschi #ruangrupa #lumbungartist #lumbung #sociallyengagedart #drawinginstallations #offthecuffdrawings #offthecuffart

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