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Review: “Invisible Body, Conspicuous Mind,” contemporary Romanian art, at Kennesaw

Kennesaw State University’s “Invisible Body, Conspicuous Mind” is a fascinating, if hermetic, exhibition featuring a dozen contemporary Romanian artists, who comment on and embody their country’s recent history and politics in the art world’s international languages: video, photography and conceptual art as well as drawing, painting and sculpture. It’s on view in the Sturgis Library gallery through March 3.

I say “hermetic” because you need to know something of that history to find your way into much of this art, and there is, unfortunately, precious little explanation provided to grease the path. You should know that the artists belong to the generation who were children during the repressive reign of Nicolae Ceausescu and experienced the struggles of progress that followed the dictator’s 1989 demise as well as the lingering psychological legacy of totalitarianism.

Take Ciprian Muresan’s photograph titled “Leap Into the Void, After Three Seconds.”  Clearly a riff on Yves Klein’s fake flying picture, it shows the reality of defying gravity: the figure has fallen splat on the ground. Could it be a metaphor for aspirations and disappointments of a fledgling modern society? His beautiful “Pioneers” (at left), a monumental yet delicately limned drawing of a little boy beating up a little girl, resonates more deeply when one learns that the Pioneers were the Communist youth group.

It’s definitely worth a visit, but you might want to brush up on your recent world history before you go. (You could start here.) For my full AJC review, click here.

Also on view: “Modern and Contemporary Art From the Permanent Collection,” in the Bailey Performance Center gallery through April 28.

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