In May the artists Alina Ușurelu and Cristina Lilienfeld met for two weeks in Portugal, at the AADK residency space, with Anca Ușurelu, Maria Bîrsan and Siegmar Zacharias to continue and develop a performative research about death, loss and the emotions we face when we lose a loved one or ourselves.

The artists’ attachment to the theme of loss emerged during a residency at PerfocraZe International Artist Residency in Kumasi, Ghana in 2020, which resulted in the performance See You Soon, reiterated at Diptych Art Space and the National Dance Centre Bucharest, an exhibition and a series of related events. Drawing on personal experiences of loss, the artists explored connections between Ghanaian and Romanian rites of passage, later extending the research to other territories.

The experience of loss and rites of passage are a point of intersection between collective/social reality and personal/emotional reality that stimulate community practices of mutual care and understanding. At the cultural level, rites of passage are constrained by silence, submission to traditions and customs, with no room for expression of their personal dimension. From the actions carried out by the artists in collaboration with researchers in the field of cultural studies, it appears that this theme is a robust basis for the development of intergenerational and intercultural dialogue. In this way they have encountered similar practices and research by artist Siegmar Zacharias, with whom they continued developing performative practices that support personal experiences.


Could You Hold My Heart While I Go On

Performance by Cristina Lilienfeld

Could You Hold My Heart While I Go On started with several questions. What happens when you perceive what you lose as a defining part of yourself? How can you deal with yourself as an incomplete image and how can you manage to find strength to go on living fully? Even if the object of your loss is a person, a love, a dream, an image, an illusion, a part of your body at a basic human level it seems that we deal with the mourning process very similarly in different cultures; the overwhelming emotional spiral is part of the way we grieve and process different “deaths”, a process that can come more or less organically depending on the rituals that take part in different areas of the world. Starting from a need which was not met in my current living environment I started to look/ discover/ create mourning rituals which are more personal and powerful at a personal level. Developed from fragments and images that appeared to me over the last year in different contexts (artistic residencies and personal life experience) this time that we’ll share in the beautiful AADK natural environment it’s meant to open a space for emotion to flow, a witnessing space where you are encouraged to let go of what you don’t need anymore in your lives.


The Birds Might Weave It Into Their Nest

Creation: Alina Ușurelu

Mentors: Va Bene Elikem Fiats, Evamaria Schaller, Anthony R. Green

Curator: Maria Bîrsan

Artistic consultants: Anca Ușurelu, Irina Bobei

The Birds Might Weave It Into Their Nest is a durational performance. A vulnerable process of exposing identity in a continuous transformation. The focus is on the invitation for the public to cut the hair, a gesture that is decomposing the image of the self and makes space for something else to become. A grief and transformational ritual.