Anca Benera (b. 1977) and Arnold Estefan (b. 1978) work in a range of media spanning installation, video, performance, drawing, and urban intervention. They examine power relations in social, economic, and political contexts to reflect on society as being a tissue of laws and conventions that must be permanently reimagined. They investigate geopolitical strategies, postnational subjectivities and the instability of history and its perception between public and private memory. They are co-founders of CIV/Centre for Visual Introspection.
Selected exhibitions: Natural Histories, Traces of the Political, MUMOK Museum Vienna (2017); Dreams&Dramas. Law as Literature, NGBK, Berlin (2017); Remastered, Kunsthalle Krems (2017); Universal Hospitality, Futura Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague (2017); Sights and Sounds: Highlights, The Jewish Museum, New York (2016); We Only Went to NASA Together, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles (2016); GLOBALE: Global Control and Censorship, ZKM | Karlsruhe (2016); The School of Kyiv, The Biennale, Kyiv (2015); Check Your Head!, Off Biennale, Budapest (2014); Der Brancusi-Effekt, Kunsthalle Wien (2014); Compensation for Lack of Resources, Ivan Gallery Bucharest (2013, solo); Mom, am I barbarian?, 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013), Intense Proximity, La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012), We Were So Few and So Many Of Us Are Left, tranzit.ro/Bucharest and tranzit.hu/Budapest (2013, solo); Navigating London’s lost rivers, Camden Arts Centre London (2011).
The works of the artistic duo generally reflect the strategies of institutionalizing the power and tension between the individual and the hierarchical systems he or she is confronted with. A frequent subject is reimagining national, cultural or ethnic affiliations. The work, Isa, por ës homou vogymuk, takes aim at the destabilization of imposed ideological narratives about acceptable individual characteristics at the social level, in contrast with others which are completely ignored. The Kopjafa is a wooden burial monument that can be seen in Szeklerland (the south-eastern part of Transylvania) and has recently spread through Hungary as a symbol of the political far-right. Originally, carved elements on this column would correspond to the biography and social status of the deceased, but now they are seen in close contact with Hungarian nationalist rhetoric. In 2015, during a workshop for the OFF biennale in Budapest, Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan proposed that new visual representations be created for the social groups marginalized by the present Hungarian government, subverting such pre-existing nationalist symbols. The newly invented vocabulary is presented in the form of drawings and sculptures, the ultimate goal of the project being their gradual infiltration in Szekler folklore.