Benera and Estefan
IDEA arts+society #44
From Object to Subject
cover of the magazine and 24 pages insert
2014

"The two artists present in IDEA Gallery a series of cases where politicians and other international public figures offer gifts to their guests or hosts, expressing reverence, gratitude or friendship, reminding of historic injustices with the hope of not repeating them, sealing contracts, joking about clichés and misunderstandings. Each case is researched and presented over a background that evokes the current political headlines and their haunting character. From the Trojan horse to the Panda diplomacy in China, diplomatic gift giving has a spicy tradition, some of which can be read in the selection here. However, whether we look at the more symbolic tokens or at the tribute-reminding, carefully chosen and often expensive presents, what we see are not emblems of an economy of the gift, but steps in rituals of diplomacy, meant to brush the road in which middle the two partners meet, weather with good or with hidden intentions. By looking at different examples of these encounters and discovering patterns following which one can create possible diplomatic gift-exchanges that never took place, Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan place this rather anecdotic aspect of bilateral cooperation onto the ground where politics becomes imaginative, where it bypasses rigid rules and technical discussions, sees humanity in stiff leaders and reads between the lines of behind-closed-doors agreements, where it appears as contingent and permeable to change." (Raluca Voinea)

more info: HERE