The National Museum of Maps and Old Books is thrilled to announce Silvia Trăistaru’s exhibition The Story of a Day/ The Story of a Day During Pandemic, a project curated by Ioana Marinescu. The artist presents a series of works created between 2019-2020, in which she investigates the course of a regular day before and during March-May 2020, a period when the pandemic restrictions greatly limited everyday possibilities of movement.
The exhibition is on display between 16 December 2021 – 20 February 2022. The museum’s visiting hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00.
Exhibition fee: 5 lei
As the title announces, the artist links the distance she walks in a day with the trace left behind by her movement to create a personal map infused with the artist’s experience and transposed in graphic form. The exhibition compares two types of days that generate two types of maps: the distance travelled during an ordinary period when Silvia can explore all the routes she desires, versus the painfully simplified paths of March-May 2020, when the beginning of the pandemic limited and controlled all travelling and movement. The differences are easy to spot: complex and harmonious geometrical shapes that sometimes cover tens of kilometres and include different towns and addresses, compared to minute triangles that describe journeys to the nearest shops and back. The artist overlaps artistic research and cartographic representation with her own concern for documenting and remembering personal gestures and endeavours.
The project started in 2019, during a period of extended travelling through Germany, when the artist noticed that Google Maps continued to record her movement even when she wasn’t connected to the Internet. Surprised and at first irritated by this invasion of privacy, Silvia Trăistaru used this apparently intrusive situation to her advantage. She kept the tracking setting on and analysed the trace of her various trips through German towns. The project started to grow and extended to Silvia’s day to day travels through Bucharest, as well as her trips to Vienna and other places. The beginning of the pandemic and the onset of a quarantine period seemed like threats to the project, but the artist managed to make the best of this situation as well. With artistic interest she continued to observe the new state of things, even if the shape of her traces was becoming simpler and simpler. Some days there was no travelling at all, and her sheets have remained blank, witnesses to the limitation of free movement and the frustration that came with losing privileges you didn’t even know you had.
“In 2019 I used the maps on Google Maps Timeline to create a set of works. I made those drawings as a form of protest because Google had recorded in its application so much data about my trips. I was vexed by the fact that I was feeling monitored, but I resolved to use the information Google had stored about all the places I had been to. Subsequently, I discovered I could deactivate the setting, but I decided to keep it on because of its utility as a mnemonic device.”
The project is a wide-scale one, consisting of 100 works and growing. A corpus of them can be seen at The National Museum of Maps and Old Books. Starting with 2020, some works have been included in group exhibitions: PANDEMIC LOOP DISORDER, curator: Magdalena Pelmuș, assistent curator: Lina Țărmure, Camera K’ARTE, Târgu Mureș, Romania; PANDEMIC LOOP DISORDER, curator: Magdalena Pelmuș, asistent curator: Lina Țărmure, Diptych Art Space, Bucharest, Romania; Perspectiva series, OKNA Espaco Cultural, Porto, Portugal; Behind The Times, organized by Solo Show, curated by Abby Lloyd and Alyssa Davis Gallery, New York, USA; Social Isolation, Rattha Gallery, Santiago, Chile; PandemicArt (exhibition and catalogue), TehnoArte, Timișoara, Romania.
Special thanks for graphic design: Tudor Guță
Silvia Trăistaru (b. 1979) is a visual artist and independent restorer. After graduating from Bucharest National University of Arts in 2002, she started working in her own studio, where she combines her own painting, drawing and photography projects with art conservation. Silvia is particularly interested in direct observation of nature and interspecies communication.
Ioana Marinescu (b. 1988) is an art historian, curator and PhD student at Bucharest National University of Arts, interested in artistic biography and artistic research. She worked for nearly 14 years at H’art Gallery, one of the first private art galleries to open in Romania. Her interests combine art history and theory with the practice of working with active contemporary artists. She is currently managing the art website www.thereart.ro.