„Roma Exhibition“ – La Biennale di Venezia





Eugen Raportoru: The Abduction from the Seraglio

Roma Women: Performative Strategies of Resistance

Exibition Site: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti | Campo S. Stefano 2945

Opening Event: 22 April 2022

Public Dates: 23 April – 27 November 2022

Commissioners: ERIAC, Zeljko Jovanovic, Timea Junghaus

The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) is proud to present Eugen Raportoru: The Abduction from the Seraglio, accompanied by Roma Women: Performative Strategies of Resistance, an official collateral event at the 59th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale die Venezia, curated by Ilina Schileru. In the long history of La Biennale, this is only the fourth occasion when a presence of Roma art is ensured, and the second time when ERIAC is commissioner of the collateral Roma event. This solo show of an artist of Roma origin, presented in collaboration with a group of Roma women artists and intellectuals reflecting upon, questioning and offering alternative perspectives on the main theme of “The Abduction”, represents a new milestone in European art history and an achievement of the vibrant European Roma cultural movement.

Among the most recognised painters of his generation in his country of origin, Eugen Raportoru (Bucharest, 1961) has always taken pride in his Roma origins. His recent experiments in installation narrate past memories from his childhood and often contain self-referential elements through which he creates a hidden genealogy of the unspoken truths of domestic environments. The exhibition comprises a series of site-specific installations composed of numerous household objects inherent to the (Roma) domestic space, while a selection of paintings retraces the fraught trajectory of oriental carpets in Eastern European households. The series is grounded in an understanding of the significance of – and bearing witness to – the narratives that such objects embody, as well as their capacity to inform and reflect Roma culture, Roma lives and the distribution of Roma knowledge.

Getaway, a public installation by artist Daniel Baker, placed outside the venue of Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, provides further context with a symbolic object reflecting on mobility and encampment, highlighting the role of décor within Roma society and the construction of Roma identities.

Abduction in this context is charged fundamentally with patriarchal projections onto the female (and the Other) body. Roma Women: Performative Strategies of Resistance, a series of interventions, actions and performances, reflects on the double minority position that Roma women occupy. The audience is invited to enter a resonatory chamber, and to listen and learn from their voices and stories.

The artists invite the viewer to meditate on the specific time-space configuration of notions of identity and history, as well as trauma, hope, the body and affect. Focusing a magnifying glass on the ongoing mystification, exoticism, feminisation, sexualisation and criminalisation of the Roma body in western society, The Abduction invites a critical interrogation of the links between power and realism, violence and the picturesque.

Eugen Raportoru, ”Spells to make someone love you forever,”, detail from installation, 2022, courtesy of Ilina Schileru
Eugen Raportoru, ”Spells to make someone love you forever,”, detail from installation, 2022, courtesy of Ilina Schileru

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.

With special contributions from:

Ethel Brooks, Ioanida Costache, Mihaela Drăgan, Carmen Gheorghe, Delia Grigore, Angéla Kóczé, Dijana Pavlovic, Erasma Vicenzina Pevarello, Alina Șerban


The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC), as a joint initiative of the Council of Europe, the Open Society Foundations, and the Roma Leaders’ initiative – the Alliance for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, has a unique mandate as the transnational, European-level organisation for the recognition of Roma through the means of arts and culture.

ERIAC offices in Berlin and Belgrade support a broad network of Roma individuals and organisations working in the fields of arts and culture, giving space to a contemporary art gallery and educational programmes. ERIAC exists to increase the self-esteem of Roma and to decrease negative prejudice of the majority population towards the Roma through arts, culture, history, and language education.

La Biennale Link: https://www.labiennale.org/en/news/biennale-arte-2022-collateral-events

Abduction link on our website: https://eriac.org/abduction/

Cover picture: Eugen Raportoru, ”The Abduction from the Seraglio”,  2021, installation view, The National Museum of the Romanian Peasant. Photo: © Alex Busuioceanu

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Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.