Cristian Nae is an associate professor at George Enescu National University of the Arts in Iasi, Romania, where he teaches critical theory, curatorial and exhibition studies, art-historical methodologies, and contemporary art history. His research focuses on exhibition studies and contemporary art history in Central and Eastern Europe after the 1960s, especially on the histories and legacies of conceptual art and the politics of memory.



(conceptual work proposed for Mobile Biennale)

  1. Conceptualism is, first of all, claiming the freedom to imagine processes and situations, mutations and transformations that, often remaining virtual, exceed the current institutional, material and even logical possibilities of actualization. In doing so, it verges on the sublime, since it may also often exceed the possibilities of visual representation.
  2. Conceptualism re-affirms the freedom of thought upon the very conceptual frameworks that support it. It is, therefore, often self-contradictory, mischievous. It appears as a failed promise or, in the best case, as a crack in a given system.
  3. As David Joselit noticed, often conceptual art projects intervene like viruses in a hosting system. First, they adapt to the hosting medium, then, they produce viral transformations that should be able to be propagated and replicated through further commentaries and discussions. The medium of communication is not separated, but it is intertwined with the artwork itself.
  4. Contemporary capitalism expands not only upon our physical space, our sense or within and through our bodies, but it also colonizes our imaginative capabilities, restraining both their form and their patterns of visualization. Conceptual art should attempt to break free of these constrains, working with the political embedded in our everyday-life aesthetic regime.
  5. Conceptual art is a potential activity, the sketch of a project yet to come. Therefore, it is also an action upon other actions in the current power field rather than an action upon definite objects. Therefore, it should remain affirmative, temporarily disturbing the cultural field instead of a mere reactive performativity that reflects its environment.
  6. As a not yet realized project, it is the best way of working with temporality, preferring the verbal tenses of the past future and the past perfect.
  7. Conceptual art is not about the physical impossibility of realizing an artistic project, but often about the uselessness of doing it, since the idea exceeds the actual realization of the project. You do not have to do it because the mere idea or its representation is able to obtain the same results.
  8.  Many conceptualist projects expose inherent contradictions existing in the context in which they intervene. They are a temporary disturbance of an entropic ecosystem. The realization of the project is secondary or perfunctory because, often, its physical materialization would only enhance the absurdity of the proposed project.


Given the above mentioned theoretical statement, my proposal for the organizers of the Mobile Biennale is to facilitate the displacement, dismemberment and shattering in small pieces, transportation and relocation of the resulting remains of the monumental statue of Alexander Ioan Cuza from its actual location, the Union Square in Iasi, to Mars with the next NASA spatial shuttle program.

Such a displacement would enhance its visibility for all Romanians in the world, irrespective of the country they are currently living and working in. Although it would remain invisible for the naked eye in most ordinary conditions, the displaced monument would be mentally perceived and perpetually present for all Romanians, becoming an object of national pride and strengthening their unity regardless of ethnicity, language or religion.

Its physical lack in the public space in Iasi would become the material proof of the unseen monument sent in cosmos. Thus, Romania would also become the first country on the earth to have its own monument on Mars, becoming one of the earliest space colonizing nations.