subREAL Group

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Founded in 1990 by Călin Dan and Dan Mihălțianu and joined by Iosif Király in 1991, it functioned as a duet since 1993 when Dan Mihălțianu left.

Stamped by post-conceptual attitudes, overstated with irony and self-mockery, subREAL was the first to introduce an operating mode that challenged the viewer’s knowledge. Their historical reflection explored the native artistic, institutional context. Over short period they had been flexibly inspired to social and institutional issues.

The most well-known project focused on Arta magazine archive and highlighted upon the way the communist art system functioned and issues of representation. subREAL captured the stereotypes and distortions induced by the globalization but did not harbor any illusions on the way the West saw the post-communist reality. They had exhibitions in renowned institutions and have been invited to events such as Manifesta, Berlin and Venice Biennale, etc.

Dataroom (How to Change your Wallpaper Daily), 1995-2012

Inkjet print mounted on aluminium, 151 × 232 cm

A.H.A. (Art History Archive) is a project based on the experience of Călin Dan and Iosif Király as artists and editors at Romania’s only art magazine during the communist period. Published by the Union of Artists, Arta (plastică) magazine controlled the public image of local art between 1953 and 1989. As a result of institutional changes and the lack of funding, the magazine closed in 1993, also losing the premises where it stored its archive. subREAL rescued the archive, storing it in their own studio. In the autumn of 1994, the Art History Archive (A.H.A.) project came into being, as an application for a residency at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. As part of the first project in the A.H.A. series, the walls and ceiling of the subREAL studio at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (a room measuring 10 x 8 x 4.5 m) were entirely covered in photographs from the Arta archive. As the artists also lived in the same space, visitors were able to see two beds and everyday items alongside the photographs. Installation, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 1995 / Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, 1996 / Kunsthal Rotterdam, 1996 (part of Manifesta 1) / MNAC Bucharest, 2012* / SALT Istanbul, 2013*