most probably the best known romanian contemporary artist, dan perjovschi has been drawing on the walls of many art institutions the world over for some time now. his tongue-in-cheek naive stick men sketches might just as well be a registered mark: his undiscriminating commentaries are instantly recognizable and his site-specific play on concepts is epic. his ephemeral delvings into the current common subconscious are worthy of any great artist: he’s hitting the zeitgeist nail on its damned head!
perjo was kind enough to answer a couple of my questions:
you have a proper, well-stocked website as well as a quite active facebook page. what’s your relation with the internet?
i’m fascinated, but suspicious. i use it but i’m trying to control the extent to which i am being used by it.
romanian art vs. world art
there is no vs.
who are the most interesting new coming artists?
new coming is already something questionable. all the obsession with fresh flesh is kind of cannibalistic, don’t you think?
do you think ai wei wei was imprisoned because of his big politically incorrect mouth or because of tax evasion? can an international artist express oneself freely nowadays?
the us get all al capone on tax because they can’t prove he’s a killer. the communists arrest people on homosexual or spy charges, never on dissident issues. the communists don’t admit political issues. ai wei wei was arrested because of his criticism. on the other hand, there are hundreds of dissidents in china, but there is no guggenheim behind them. he was famous and loud. his tango with the government broke down at a certain moment. now he is in a sort of imposed silence. let’s see what happens and keep supporting him and others like him all over the world.
yes, they/we can.
why do you choose to live in romania?
i choose not to leave. it is a difference.
you travel a lot. what do you do to fill all those hours?
when traveling, i am working, it is my studio time. i observe and i draw. almost all the time. when i’m in the process of installing an exhibition, i am boring because i am fully submerged into my work. aah, and yes, mainly, in flights, there are some detective novels (to kill time and improve my english).
you are very successful but barely known in romanian outside the creative circles. how do you take that?
no, i argue with that. i have been active for the past 21 years in the printed media, at the oldest independent weekly magazine, revista 22. this is a political, not cultural, weekly. and you may not remember it, but in 2000, lia and i moderated a live tv show on romanian tv channel one. every saturday, from 10 am to 1 pm for 3 months. that was big time national exposure. but if you make reference to the vip stars, i’d rather be not known like that.
is artistic success to be measured rather in financial earnings or social impact?
neither. it is hard to measure it. romania used to have very successful artists who kissed the ass of the dictator and now they are all gone. there are very successful sculptors who planted horrible monuments all over the country, but this is success that kills culture. i am not rich, but i manage, and i am having zero social influence when writing a text or doing a drawing. but that does not make me unsuccessful. i got to occupy a place in the society and i will not let go of it.
i read you have known lia for 40 years and declared yourself to be happily married. you two are such an inspiration. please tell us your secret.
no idea. we are passionate about what we are doing and this keeps us together. we are completing each other, lia reads books, i read newspapers.
you seem to love the young romanian creatives. what do you think they need in order to flourish?
i love anything interesting. and i am happy to help and support people at the beginning of their careers. they need resilience, hard work and uncompromised sincerity.
favourite hang outs (bucharest or anywhere else in the world)
green hours in bucharest and pubs and cafes with no loud music elsewhere.
thank you very much! i hope you get to draw on the great wall of china!