It consists of a multi-channel video installation at the Romanian Pavilion, complemented by a virtual reality extension, hosted by the New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research in Venice.
Today, once again, the body has become a contested site for ideologies, a pretext for cultural and political anxiety, brought to the extreme by the recent outbreak of an atrocious war on the European continent, motivated by an imperialist, nationalist ideology and fascist ethos. Amidst this resurgence of right-wing ideologies, seen throughout the world and accelerated during the pandemic—which also saw a hijacking of the discourses on body autonomy—Pintilie imagines a space of togetherness beyond borders and binaries.
While contributing to the current conversations towards reassessing the normative in gender, sexuality, bodily ability and diversity, Pintilie’s distinctive perspective is conveyed through her particular visual universe and aesthetics, as well as through a sophisticated and seductive rethinking of the role and power of the moving image. Emerging from her personal experiences, background, and research, and nurtured by long-term collaboration with her protagonists, the artist’s idiosyncratic methodology explores the central role of intimacy in the everyday, centering on embodied practices and deep psychological investigations inspired by Family Constellations, attachment theory, psychosomatics, trauma therapy, and bodywork practices. It proposes possibilities to see, to think, and to relate, destabilising ingrained visual rhetoric and politics of the gaze.
Pintilie’s contribution to the Romanian Pavilion is inscribed in a lineage of artists who have responded over the past two decades to the question of national representation. It continues a conversation about who represents the nation and who is excluded, about collective shame and responsibility, in the shadow of Romanian society’s fraught history of dealing with intimacy, sexuality, and bodily diversity, and by extension with solidarity between the individuals forming a perpetually fractured nation. Against the backdrop of a public sphere haunted by biopolitical control, religious and cultural conservatism, and a traditionally corrosive climate of shame, the Romanian Pavilion is conceived as a site to reflect upon the body as a device to process recognized and unrecognised history, trauma, and desires. Engaging with these complex narratives of institutionalised normativity and their habitual denial of the body, Pintilie transforms the historically loaded pavilion into a contemporary cathedral that celebrates the body and human connections beyond any preconceptions. In the spirit of the Mayan greeting You Are Another Me, the project places our connection to the bodies of others and to our own at the centre of our personal and political lives.
You Are Another Me—A Cathedral of the Body marks the next stage of Pintilie’s multi-platform research on the politics and poetics of intimacy and the body, initiated with her feature film Touch Me Not—winner of the Golden Bear at the 2018 Berlinale and acclaimed worldwide for its boundary-pushing language and aesthetics. Her long-term, trans-disciplinary inquiry explores, through different artistic languages and mediums—installation, cinema, interactive performance, publication—notions of how we relate to each other and to our own bodies, calling into question regimes of seeing in these different fields.