Still underexplored: the rich history of the avant garde in Central and Eastern Europe. The Romania programme Videograms of a Nation, Redux features eleven short experimental films by the illustrious art collective Kinema Ikon. With an introduction by Andrei Tănăsescu (film curator EUROPALIA România 2019).
It was in the early 1970s that George Săbău formed a cine club at the Art Academy of Arad named Atelier 16. Its lectures and film screenings had an irresistible appeal for young artists, and also attracted the attention of the Ministry of Education. As extracurricular activities were encouraged by the state, Atelier 16 received funding to set up the technically well-equipped, self-provisioning Kinema Ikon collective.
secretly holding on to film reels
The collective did not only make 16mm films on behalf of the state, but also secretly held on to half of the film reels so as to make experimental films. In 1989 Kinema Ikon produced 62 documentaries and 62 experimental films, delivering a major contribution to Romania’s experimental cinema.
Deconstructing, reediting, abstracting or even having a go at film material itself: it turns out the artists of Kinema Ikon challenged the conventions of mainstream cinema just like their colleagues in the free West. They examined everything, from the materiality of film to the possibilities of an abstract film language. These works amount to a true cinematic discovery and are now screened internationally for the first time since 1995.
Alone with the Snow (Romulus Budiu, 1975, 8′)
Autopsy of Forgiveness (Ioan T. Morar, 1977, 5′)
Spring-Coming Effects (Ioan Pleș, 1978, 4′)
Subliminal Exercise (Alexandru Pecican, 1979, 6′)
Bird Hunting (Emanuel Țeț, 1980, 6′)
The Snake Charmer (Emanuel Țeț, 1981, 7′)
Illuminations (Ioan Pleș, 1981, 5′)
Pulsations (Marcela Muntean, 1983, 7′)
The Window Open Toward (Alexandru Pecican, 1984, 6′)
Fragmentarium (George Sabau, 1985-1990. 9′)