Exchange Agent

Simion Cernica

21/06/2016 - 30/08/2016

Șelari 13, Bucharest, Romania

The artist as agent of cultural exchange. The artist as agent of social change. The artist as mediator of a transaction in the public or private space. The artist as freelancer forced to survive financially. The artist as producer of plus-value (with or without commercial success). The artist from whom one expects more than the socio-political-cultural context in which he activates would be able to take.

The artist assuming the performative role of a typical character active on the streets of large cities in Romania throughout the 80s and 90s: the racketeer, the one inviting you to exchange currency, and thus unavoidably produce “cultural” exchange. The project at ODD is an echo to this type of relation: the artist simulates an exchange office, he manipulates the rate according to algorithms he alone decides, appropriating the financially unfair process, or the power game which also governs the art market. Attempting to bracket off for a short period the economical – hence also social – parameters, temporarily annulling the main engine of capitalism: profit.

To accompany this intervention, the artist stages an exhibition comprising new video works, accompanied by an installation made up of elements accumulated during the 3 weeks of residency. The stakes: using precarious means of production; the kindness of a few friends, the availability of materials found in the public space, the accessibility of analogue techniques. The simplicity behind these gestures is very much assumed, in the subversive spirit of the inadvertent artistic act. Reacting to the tradition of marginality as valorising position, the artist as exchange agent takes note of the limits instituted by self-colonisation and forced professionalization, and proposes to renounce the humourless positions that have become the standard in contemporary art.

Photos by Simion Cernica.


Simion Cernica

Born in Bucharest, Romania. Currently works and lives in Los Angeles.

As an artist deliberately avoided the conservative and stagnant reality of attending art school in Romania during the chaotic transition from communism to capitalism in the 90s. As a result, he created his own personal method of studying contemporary art.

Initially he focused on photography, painting, video/film, installation and later extended toward whatever medium and discourse necessary to express his conceptual position and formal exploration. Recently, after many years, he has returned to the ‘painting’ medium as his main studio practice.

He develops his practice by researching the current socio-political and cultural energies, the layered 20th century and recent history. While questioning our approved cultural perspectives, he is committed to creating art that is continuously adjusted, aiming to challenge the way we perceive our reality, cultural history and advance our precarious humanity.

His works and projects have been exhibited internationally in alternative art spaces, commercial galleries, public space, contemporary art institutions and museums and are found in private collections in Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. 

Venues among others: Expanded Space 2016, Romania; ODD project space, Bucharest, Romania; Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Rome, Italy; Art Encounters Biennial, Timișoara, Romania; National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest, Romania; MAGMA, Sf. Gheorghe, Romania; Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest, Romania; ‘photo LA’, Los Angeles, USA; HAU, Berlin, Germany; Matadero, Madrid, Spain; Atelier 35, Bucharest, Romania; UQBAR art space, Berlin, Germany; National Dance Center, Bucharest, Romania; The Know, Public Art Project Germany/ Romania; Romanian Cultural Institute, Venice, Italy.