Hope swapping, fixed
curated by Nathalie Hoyos & Rainald Schumacher

Larisa Sitar is this year's KVOST scholarship holder and will be honoured with the Claus Michaletz Preis 2023.

In her exhibition Hope swapping, fixed at KVOST, Larisa Sitar focuses on the points of contact between art and architecture in East and West, concentrating on ornamentation as a socio-political statement. Her sculptures and bas-reliefs are influenced by her own biographical background. They reveal the changes in the social and cultural fabric of her home country, which, after the Romanian Revolution of 1989 against the real-socialist dictatorship under Nicolae Ceaușescu, still shape everyday life today.

In her series Home Palace from 2008 – 2020, Sitar photographed buildings commissioned by migrant workers in their native country Romania, often left unfinished and uninhabited in the fields in a kind of no man’s land. Robust Boast, another series in the exhibition, alludes to the phenomenon that workers began to adopt fancy designs and romanticised ornaments from the West and recreated them with the materials at their disposal. Stucco-like elements, floral and figurative patterns as flat reliefs, as well as ornamental and profiled mouldings increasingly entered the sameness of former socialist living as an adaptation to western lifestyle, bourgeoisie and an expression of individual taste. To evoke these diverse cultural associations, the artist interweaves familiar analogue motifs with digital techniques and creates a link between past and present.

Larisa Sitar was born in 1984 in Baia Mare, Romania, and lives in Bucharest. She studied at the Faculty of Photography and Moving Image at the National University of the Arts in Bucharest, where she graduated in 2010. In her interdisciplinary artistic work, she addresses issues of cultural heritage, memory and nostalgia. Her solo and group exhibitions include: Robust Boast (2022), Suprainfinit Gallery in Bucharest, Romania; Chronicles of the Future Superheroes (2021), Bega Art Gallery in Timisoara, Romania; Robust Boast (2019), WIELS in Brussels, Belgium; Life, a User’s Manual, Art Encounters Biennale (2017) in Timisoara, Romania; Inventing the Truth. On Fiction and Reality (2015), Romanian Cultural Institute at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Sitar as this year’s recipient of the KVOST scholarship and the Claus Michaletz Preis 2023, which is endowed with 10,000 euros. The artist was selected from 174 applications.