Exhibitions

Geta Brătescu
Freedom of Forms


02. March - 11. April 2021

GETA BRÃTESCU - FREEDOM OF FORMS

GL STRAND presents a retrospective exhibition of the Romanian artist Geta Brătescu (1926-2018). The exhibition Freedom of Forms is an exuberant look at a major artistic oeuvre from one of the most inspiring eastern European avant-garde artists.

Geta Brătescu’s works have a certain musical quality. Her line moves rhythmically, almost dancing, within the framework of a tight geometrical formal idiom: the circle, the triangle, the line. The playful and serious coexist in her works. “Art is a serious game”, Geta Brătescu said in an interview a few years before her death.  

Geta Brătescu lived a large part of her life in Bucharest under the Communist regime, but in her home studio in Bucharest, she found a productive and inspiring artistic base – in the form of both a physical and mental space. There she continued throughout her life to investigate the relation between the material world and the abstract form in a variety of media. Her oeuvre ranges over drawing, collage, textiles, photography, experimental film and per­for­m­ance art. In the course of her long artistic career, which covered seven decades, she developed a profound perso­nal practice where she explored themes like identity, gender and dematerialization.

At GL STRAND, the exhibition has a focus on Geta Brătescu's oeuvre since the 1970s when she turns towards a primarily performative and abstract language. The exhibition gathers photographic, filmic and drawn works as well as collage-based work series. Central to the last of these groups is the late, wide-ranging work series Jeu des formes/Game of Forms, which sums up Brătescu’s ideal of the essential element of playfulness in her art. Other works – both early and late – involve the self-portrait as subject. Throughout her career, Brătescu explored woman as motif, but also her own role as an artist and the role of the artist in general in society.

ABOUT GETA BRĂTESCU

Geta Brătescu (1926-2018) was born in inter-war Romania and moved at a young age to Bucharest, where she lived all her life. In 1945 she took up the study of literature at the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy at the University of Bucharest and at the same time was admit­ted to the Bucharest Academy of Fine Arts (today’s National University of Arts, Bucharest), but in 1949 she had to break off her studies. The Communist government considered her origins ’unsound’ because of her parents’ social position as pharmacists and denied her an academic education. Brătescu found her own path and became a technical draughtsman, then a graphic illustrator. In the late 1960s she also won a position as artistic editor of the prestigious literary magazine Secolul 20 (’The Twentieth Century’), which at the turn of the century was renamed Secolul 21. In the 1950s, she achieved membership of the Romanian visual artists’ association UAP, which gave her the opportunity to go on several study trips to both Eastern and Western European countries. Moreover, in 1969, because of changes in the political climate, she was able to resume her studies, which she finished in 1971. In the last two decades of her life, she furthermore had several solo exhibitions at major museums in the West. This attention culminated in 2017 with her solo exhibition, Apparitions, which was the first presentation of a female artist in the Romanian national pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Geta Brătescu, Lady Oliver in her Travelling Costume, 1980-2012. Photo: Mihai Brătescu. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu & Ivan Gallery, Bucharest

Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

Geta Brătescu, Capricio (detail), 2008. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu. Courtesy of Manuela & Iwan Wirth Collection

Geta Brătescu, Capricio (detail), 2008. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu. Courtesy of Manuela & Iwan Wirth Collection.

Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

Geta Brătescu, Game of Forms, 2016. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu Courtesy the Estate of Geta Brătescu, Ivan Gallery, Bucharest and Hauser & Wirth

Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

Geta Brătescu, Game of Forms, 2013. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu Courtesy the Estate of Geta Brătescu, Ivan Gallery, Bucharest and Hauser & Wirth

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Geta Brătescu, Lady Oliver in her Travelling Costume, 1980-2012. Photo: Mihai Brătescu. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu & Ivan Gallery, Bucharest

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Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

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Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

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Geta Brătescu, Game of Forms, 2016. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu Courtesy the Estate of Geta Brătescu, Ivan Gallery, Bucharest and Hauser & Wirth

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Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

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Installation view of ‘Geta Bratescu – Freedom of Forms’ at Kunstforeningen GL STRAND, 2021. Photo by David Stjernholm.

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Geta Brătescu, Capricio (detail), 2008. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu. Courtesy of Manuela & Iwan Wirth Collection

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Geta Brătescu, Game of Forms, 2013. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu Courtesy the Estate of Geta Brătescu, Ivan Gallery, Bucharest and Hauser & Wirth

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Geta Brătescu, Capricio (detail), 2008. © The Estate of Geta Brătescu. Courtesy of Manuela & Iwan Wirth Collection.