I Put My Head...

I put my head – I pledged my head – in a bowl of plaster, right ear first, then left ear. The molding caught my hair and I had a hard time taking my head out; I had to cut my hair. Then I had to crop it, and from the cuttings I added to what had been caught in plaster, to the copy – to the head of Aga Balaceanu.

These external things, taken off me, become alienated, more and more distant; he is someone else, looks like Lenin too. I also look like Lenin, the one pictured on the second page of our books, traveling incognito to Finland, or in railway stations, leaning forward in a stormy posture, followed by railway workers.

The Aga is riddled with wounds, they defiled his body. He is sometimes me, those who enter the exhibition don't know me. My problem is whether to me he is a revenant, a threat, a risk.

The courage to carry Ceausescu's face, although people demonstrate with his enlarged portrait – it's even an obligation: Peltz introduced him now in the new edition of a novel written before the war (Vacaresti Road, 1989, Minerva), Popescu "God" makes him the hero of The Fist and the Palm, but under a different name. One may say it is not the people who are carrying Ceausescu, but Ceausescu is carrying them. Is Ceausescu in the people, as they declare at the Congress [of the communist party]? But do they believe it? The Romans, the senators, used to wear small effigies of the emperor – who was honoring whom?

But taking him in the real dimension, the way I want (not the way they want), with all due respect? Respect drives me away from him, turns him into a nobody; they will notice it, this is lack of respect, mockery, in their opinion. I take the risk, I feel it's forbidden – I take his name and face straightaway. Thus I make sure I'm not him – to me it's a drama, to them a comedy. This makes me unsure about the genre.

What comes over me that makes me take off my mask and give myself away? The gestures were too alike already. Without the mask, it looks like I'm not me, but his son, Nicu. I comfort myself thinking that's how peasants from the same village resemble one another.

In fact, I'm not worried, because I'm not in the habit of looking in the mirror, that is at myself, of sizing myself up (ballet dancers examine themselves daily in the mirror, in three dimensions, plus their back) – I don't have the image others have of me. I don't look, I hide then. Only from myself, though. My image is always conveyed encoded, and not in its entirety, but according to whim. But what if somebody wore my face? Let's say, Ceausescu – what if he appeared on TV with my face?

Do I want to change anything? Operate, not with a coat, or objects strewn in the hair, but in a comprehensive action. Conceptually, or rather spiritually, too, but it's magic through gestures. Then a daily action performed casually – washing – on one face only, a two-dimensional drawing, for at the back we are incapable. Behind the curtain, we have the backstage, but no back. There appear paths, signs, evidence, such as symbolic acts that mark a certain age – circumcision – that remain in my curriculum vitae.

If it is I who made them, I may have wanted to shake off my past; he who hasn't made them is more marked by them than me. People don't open up their past, which is like an eglantine hip, in which seeds cling on one another's fine thorns, some as guilty thoughts, others as thoughts of revenge. The past is buried (sometimes in the drawer), because we believe it to be a game: a game can be stopped without any consequences. But we bury it because we are afraid of it. It is a threat. It lies down, chases us, presents itself in our stead.

I borrowed the standoffishness of superstitions, I applied their theatrical power. Through mirrors, I cloned my character, I set afire, I immersed in water, I talked. But it is precisely by means of the mirror, of the camera, that I shunned implication, veneration. And there are also the issues of the trade, its doubts, art's lack of responsibility. In art take refuge terrorist politicians, followers of banned cults, perverts. In it one goes from innocence to crime, and the other way around.

The questions of the past cannot get any answer. I tried to lay the cards on the table, but they are as insignificant face up. Did I want to live with a blue skin? Maybe it's better to accept both answers: C'est l'art, c'est la vie! While my artistic experiences come and go, and bore me (perhaps the others are bored by their own past as well), they torture me with interviews. They tell me about the sacred, the same old mythological knick-knacks and passementeries.

Is it not me in those photos? The child is asking the adult where he has taken him. The child is in for a slap in the snout.

by Ion Grigorescu