Drișcu Mihai, “From Object to Performance”, in Arta, No 8, 1971→
Arghir Anca, “Ana Lupaș”, Contemporary Artists, London, St. James Press, 1977
Ana Lupaș, Galeria Wspólczesna, Warsaw, 8 March – 1 April 1973→
Rencontre avec Ana Lupaș, museé cantonal de beaux-arts, Lausanne, 4 – 17 January 1982→
Ana Lupaș, Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, 28 June – 24 August 2008
Romanian visual artist.
Descending from a family of Transylvanian Romanian intelligentsia, which experienced the political purges of the 1950s, Ana Lupaș graduated from the Institutul de Arte Plastice “Ioan Andreescu” in Cluj-Napoca in 1962. Bearing the imprint of the place where the artist grew up, her work is intimately connected with the specific rhythms and the integrative social order of the rural world, with its ancestral rites and its everyday practices. Thus, the adherence to the long-standing peasant traditions undertakes a distinctive role in reading the manifold practice of A. Lupaș, understood both as a premise, as a formative environment, and as a referential field that stands at the core of her art.
She first received international recognition with her participation in the Lausanne International Tapestry Biennials in 1969 and 1971, where she was associated with the new generation of Eastern European artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930-2017), Jagoda Buić (born in 1930) and Ritzi Jacobi (born in 1941) whose works led to a conceptual engagement with the sculptural and immersive dimension of textile. However, A. Lupaș’s practice cannot remain captive to such medium specificity, and should rather be understood as an ongoing attempt to radically shift the understanding of art’s place and experience. Her series of Flying Carpets, exhibited in Lausanne in 1969 and 1971, already showed her rapid transition from the two-dimensional surface of the fabrics towards the tri-dimensionality of the object, embedding it with a performative potential.
Works such as The Solemn Process (196-2008), Humid Installation (1970) and the series of Coats, part of the installation Heaven (1972)—Coat for Reaching the Sun (1962-1964), Coat for Reaching the Heaven (1962–1964) and Coat for Reaching the Purgatory (1962-1964)—formulate a complex mode of experiencing space and temporality, a systemic and laborious grammar, intimately entangled with an anthropological gaze upon timeless gestures. Being concerned with their conversion and transfiguration into an artistic act, with their symbolical and ethical embodiment, A. Lupaș explored their essentialised, processual simplicity. Her preoccupation with the idea of transference of every human action, incorporating its social and ritualic manifestations, has been amplified in her seminal action Humid Installation, which took place in 1970 in the village of Mârgău. This installation was realised with the help of 100 inhabitants of the village. The artistic intentionality adds to the domestic gesture of hanging the laundry a new function and connotation. Dozens of ranks of wet, white linen hung up on chords were drawn over a hill, modulating the space, the artist aiming to an infinite extension of the artistic gesture in order to preserve it, similar to the way traditions are passed from one generation to another.
With the itineration of the 1971 exhibition of the Lausanne Biennial in Warsaw at the Zachęta Gallery and with her participation to the Paris Biennale in 1973, A. Lupaș’s artistic career followed a vertiginous international path. Later her practice became involved with a process of preservation and restoring of her early works. This takes, in the case of long-term performative installation The Solemn Process (1964-2008), the form of a series of drawings and of sculptural metal tins that encapsulate the original wreath structures produced together with the villagers of Mârgău. A. Lupaș’s ongoing interest in preservation regards her decision to stop producing new works during the 1980s, unveiling a process of self-historicisation, of conceptualising new solutions that will provide a new inscription to the initial artistic gesture. Her works are part of international collections such as the Central Museum of the Textile Industry in Łódź; Ludwig Museum in Budapest; Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris; Tate Modern in London; Museum of Visual Arts in Galați in Romania.
Ana Lupaș, Coat for reaching the Heaven, 1962-1964, various fabrics, thread, diameter 110 cm, Courtesy Ana Lupaș & P420, Bologna
Ana Lupaș, Coat for reaching the Sun, 1962-1964, various fabrics, thread, 70 x 90 cm, Courtesy private collection, London
Ana Lupaș, Humid Installation, 1970, two photos printed on paper (printed in the 70s), artist’s original text, original cloth roll, 70 x 100 cm each and 50 x 720 cm, Courtesy private collection, Italy, © Photo: C. Favero
Ana Lupaș, Humid Installation, 1970, four color photographs (printed in the 70s), 40 x 61,5 cm each, 80 x 123 cm overall, Courtesy private collection, Romania, © Photo: C. Favero
Ana Lupaș, Identity shirt, first generation, 1969, sewing machine-stitched drawing, 49 x 63 cm, Courtesy Ana Lupaș & P420, Bologna, © Photo: C. Favero
Ana Lupaș, Identity shirt, second generation, 1969, various fabrics, thread, pencil, ink, 53,2 x 46,2 cm, Courtesy private collection, Switzerland, © Photo: Mark Blower
Ana Lupaș, Machine for flying through the woods, 1973, various materials, 265 x 201 x 30 cm, Courtesy Ana Lupaș & P420, Bologna
Ana Lupaș, The Solemn Process, 1964-1974, 1980-1985, 1985-2008, steel, straw, wire mesh and 2 digital prints on vinyl, © Tate