RCA talks

Visual Cultures Lecture Series – Mihnea Mircan

25 November 2014 | 6.30pm – 8pm

Battersea, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Free admission, booking required.

The RCA School of Fine Art is pleased to welcome Mihnea Mircan for the third Visual Cultures lecture of the series 2014/15. Mircan will give an insight on his latest project at Extra City Kunsthal in Antwerp, A Breathcrystal.

A 2010 archaeological study found that the prehistoric Bradshaw paintings in Australia 'paint themselves', colonised by ‘living pigments’ whose rejuvenation and symbiosis may account for the paintings’ vividness, in spite of their age and the drastic changes in temperature or humidity to which they are exposed. A biofilm of cyanocacteria and black fungi replenish the paintings permanently, while also etching them deeper into the quartz wall. At least 40000 years old, ‘alive’, the paintings maintain an idiosyncratic pictorial temporality and economy – or ecology – of signification. They are as much a product of prehistory as they are made now, in a radical contemporaneity. What they mean cannot be disentangled from what they are, from the chemical and aesthetic metabolism that revitalises their contours. Mircan's lecture presents ‘curatorial’ take on the Bradshaws: while their living self-identity eludes both visual inspection and art-historical categories, can it be apprehended as mental model for an ‘exhibition’? 

Mihnea Mircan is the artistic director of Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, where he has curated A slowdown at the museum, 1:1. Hans van Houwelingen and Jonas Staal, the series Cross-examinations, and Jean-Luc Moulène, Endwards. In September 2014, he presented his long-term research project 'Allegory of the Cave Painting', with an exhibition and the first volume of the accompanying reader in September 2014. Mircan has also curated exhibitions at institutions including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest; Museion, Bolzano; Stroom Den Haag, Den Haag; Spinnerei, Leipzig; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; and the Venice Biennale, as curator of the Romanian Pavilion in 2007. He was the editor of the book Hans van Houwelingen: Undone (2012), and has contributed essays to monographs on Pavel Büchler, Nina Beier, Patrick Nilsson and Remco Torrenbosch, and to the catalogue Six Lines of Flight. His writing also appeared in journals such as Mousse, Manifesta Journal and Afterall. 

About the Visual Cultures Lecture Series, Contemporaneity and other tales 2014/15 

The Visual Cultures Lecture Series enables us collectively to learn as we produce new knowledge. We use the lectures as a means of addressing questions pertinent to our understanding of Fine Art and its broader context today. Our guest speakers: distinguished artists, writers, curators and academics, are carefully selected and invited to speak about their work in relation to a given line of enquiry. Each season's lectures, together with related seminar and workshop activity, contribute towards a body of material, which is collated as a source of new insights in the field and made available within the college and to our broader community. This season's series will consider the question of contemporaneity framed as an investigation of this ephemeral and ungraspable concept – always to be re-defined within the production, circulation and reception of artists' work. The series intends to provide a critical overview of what it means to produce culture today, giving an insight into the complex fabric of artistic production. Each guest is invited to take an in-depth focus on a recent project, and to consider the development of a piece through the process of displays and presentations. 

The lecture is now fully booked. You are more than welcome to come by on the day – if so, please arrive early – although there is no guarantee of seated space. A screen will be placed outside the Lecture Theatre to allow additional audience members to watch the talk. The lecture will also be broadcast live on this is tomorrow:www.thisistomorrow.info


  • Mihnea Mircan

    Mihnea Mircan