Emil Loteanu (b. 6 November 1936, Clocușna, Ocnița – d. 18 April 2003, Moscow) was a Moldavian director, script writer, and composer. Loteanu, who lost his father and mother in World War II, studied with famed actor Vasilii Toporkov (1889–1970) at the studio school of the Moscow Art Theater (MKhAT) from 1953 to 1956 while also acting on stage at the Moscow Pushkin Theater. He subsequently enrolled in Grigorii Roshal’s directing workshop at the Soviet State Film School VGIK, graduating in 1962, and began to work as a director at Moldova-Film Studio. Loteanu joined the Communist Party in 1968. In 1969, he was named Artist Emeritus of the Moldavian SSR, and in 1980, People’s Artist of the Russian Federation. He served as chairman of the Moldavian Union of Cinematographers in 1987–1992. Loteanu once called himself “a Moldovan Muscovite or a Muscovite Moldovan”; his relations with his motherland were often strained. Loteanu began his career with poetic documentaries, a genre in which he worked simultaneously with feature films well into the 1980s (Freska na belom / Fresco on White, 1967; Moi belyi gorod / My White City, 1973, and others). In 1963, he produced his first full-length feature, which also became his diploma film, Zhdite nas na rassvete / Așteptați-ne în zori (Wait for Us at Dawn), set in 1919 in Bessarabia where pro-Bolshevik troops defeated Romanian forces. Krasnye poliany / Poienile roșii (Red Meadows, 1966), a simple triangle story set among shepherds in contemporary Moldavia, impressed critics with its romantic worldview and expressive use of colour. Loteanu became the leading director of Soviet Moldavian cinema with three pictures that all combine nineteenth-century scenery, sophisticated cinematography, and love stories overflowing with uninhibited passion and grand gestures. Lautary/ Lăutarii (Fiddlers, 1972) is a broad canvas about Gypsy life, displaying all of the director’s strengths—panoramic landscape compositions, sensual music, and a slow narrative rhythm erupting in sudden acts of violence—but also characteristic weaknesses, most frustratingly a plot structure that falls apart due to Loteanu’s overindulgence in beautiful imagery and sound. With Tabor ukhodit v nebo (Gypsies are Found Near Heaven/ Queen of the Gypsies, 1975), based on early stories by Maksim Gor’kii, Loteanu landed one of the greatest box-office hits of Soviet cinema and made stars of its leads, Svetlana Toma and Grigore Grigoriu, who portray a beautiful girl and a horse thief in love. The Gypsy milieu and its melodious culture—longtime favourites of Russian audiences—denote both unabashed emotions suppressed in the modern age, and a fatalistic acceptance of the tragic outcome. This holds true, too, for Moi laskovyi i nezhnyi zver’ (My Loving and Tender Beast / The Shooting Party / A Hunting Accident, 1978), a picturesque Anton Chekhov adaptation that earned harsh criticism for the liberties taken with the original source. The 1980s proved a decade of slow decline for Loteanu. His international mega-production Anna Pavlova (The Divine Anna / Pavlova: A Woman for All Times, 1983) turned into a commercial disappointment, despite sensational subject matter and a fashionably nostalgic air. (Noteworthy, too, is the appearance of two famous filmmakers in episodic roles, Martin Scorsese and Michael Powell.) The director had obviously lost his feel for viewers’ predilections and he seemed forlorn in post-Soviet cinema. His last film, Skorlupa (The Shell, 1993), is a three-hour requiem mourning the loss of beauty and free bohemian life in a contemporary urban setting. At the time of his death, Loteanu was preparing an international coproduction about legendary singer Maria Cebotari.
- Chișinău, Moldova
Monica Lovinescu (1923–2008) was one of the most important figures of the Romanian exile community, who dedicated her entire life and activity to supporting dissidence against the communist regime. Her work as an exiled literary critic, writer, translator, radio broadcaster at RFE, and journalist not only revealed the existence of Romanian dissidents but also presented them as models of unquestionable moral and human dignity who could be emulated by those who would eventually decide to “live in truth.” She was born on 19 November 1923 in Bucharest, the daughter of Eugen Lovinescu, a well-known literary and cultural critic of interwar Romania, and Ecaterina Bălăcioiu, whose old landowner family had connections to the royal court. From an early age, Monica Lovinescu not only became familiar with the intellectual environment of the time but also enjoyed the company and friendship of many Romanian intellectuals who usually gathered in her father’s house for meetings, public readings, or literary debates (Crăciun 2009, 279).
Her anti-communist convictions became visible immediately after the end of the World War II and the establishment of a communist-dominated Romanian government under the leadership of the "fellow traveller" Petru Groza. She joined other young people who gathered in Bucharest to celebrate King Michael I’s name day (8 November 1945) and manifest their support for the Romanian monarchy, an institution which resolutely stood against the menacing communist takeover. In May 1947 Monica Lovinescu represented her faculty at the Students’ Congress, a congress which the communists hoped to use to purge professors who were hostile to the new political regime. She successfully counteracted this plan and put an end to the discussions by singing the Royal Hymn (Burlacu 2014, 35).
In the same year of 1947, Lovinescu left Romania at age of twenty-three after receiving a French Government scholarship. The forced abdication of the King Michael I and the subsequent proclamation of the Romanian People’s Republic were soon followed by the breaking up of cultural relations between France and Romania. Thus, Monica Lovinescu and other Romanian students (including her future husband, Virgil Ierunca) lost their scholarships and although the communist authorities ordered them to return home, they applied for political asylum and some of them, including Lovinescu, started a long life in exile (Stan 2010, 684–686).
This first wave of exiles considered communist rule in Romania to be temporary and hoped that a military intervention by the Western powers would soon free the region. Thus, their efforts were directed towards raising the awareness of public opinion about the real situation in Romania. Monica Lovinescu joined this effort by translating into French Adriana Georgescu’s memoires from her time in prison, La început a fost sfârșitul (At the end was the beginning), in an attempt to inform the Western world about the terror and repressive measures employed by the Romanian communist regime against any form of protest and resistance. The French translation of the volume was published in 1951 at the Hachette publishing house. Also, in 1951, she began her collaboration with Radio Paris, but her contributions were limited to reading announcements or literary reviews under a pseudonym in order to protect her mother, who had remained in Romania. The following year she married Virgil Ierunca, who also became a critic of the communist regime in Romania (Vladimirov 2012, 16; Vladimirov 2011, 312).
The death of her mother in June 1960 in the Văcărești prison after an imprisonment of two years under the false accusation of “hostile action against the social order” allowed Monica Lovinescu to engage herself in an open criticism of the Romanian communist regime (Vladimirov 2012, 18). In fact, the decease of Ecaterina Bălăcioiu sharpened her criticism against communism as she interpreted her mother’s death as being “an indubitable crime of the communist regime and a human sacrifice for her intellectual and political independence” (Crăciun 2009, 281). All the more so as the last message that Ecaterina Bălăcioiu sent to her daughter through one of the prison inmates mentioned that she was very proud of her daughter and of her work in exile. More importantly, the same message reassured Lovinescu that there were no reasons for her to be ashamed of her mother’s behaviour in prison, of her possible betrayal of friends under torture, as she mentioned that: “J’ai tenu bon, mon petit” (Vladimirov 2012, 75).
Monica Lovinescu started working at Radio Free Europe (RFE) in 1962, and in 1967 she launched two weekly programmes that focused on developments in European and Romanian cultural life (Crăciun 2009, 285). Her work at RFE also reflected a significant change in the general strategy of the Romanian exile community. After understanding during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 that the Western powers would never engage in a war against the Soviet Union, the Romanian exile community concluded that only Romanians inside the country could overthrow the communist regime and thus, assumed the mission of supporting any domestic acts of resistance and opposition (Stan Snejana 2013, 138).
Monica Lovinescu’s broadcasts at RFE, Teze și antiteze la Paris (Theses and antitheses in Paris) and Puncte de vedere (Points of view), which was part of the general news programme Actualitatea românească (Romanian cultural events), tackled primarily cultural topics. However, their anti-communist message underlined that resistance or dissidence in any communist regime was possible and desirable. At the same time, opposition was a necessary act of courage that should unite all for the greater common good, i.e., bringing down the criminal communist regimes. In particular, Lovinescu criticised Romanian intellectuals for failing to assume the role of community leaders in the struggle against communist party domination. Thus, considering the fight against the communist regime to be a personal and a moral duty, Lovinescu used the microphone of RFE to denounce political compromise, the collaboration of Romanian writers with the regime, their eager participation in promoting Nicolae Ceausescu’s personality cult, and their fight for power, for a better social status and higher official positions. She also condemned the “moral resignation” of some of the well-known writers, such as Tudor Arghezi, a poet who was first marginalised than recuperated by the communist regime, whom she criticised not for their literary works but precisely for their opportunism, for their compromise out of the temptation of benefits and fame (Burlacu 2014, 41–43, 52–56). Monica Lovinescu believed that it was difficult but not impossible for Romanian writers to refuse political compromise with the regime. Thus, in her broadcasts, she aimed at constructing an alternative cultural canon combining moral and aesthetic values and took every available opportunity to praise those writers such as Paul Goma and Marin Sorescu whose conscience and morality prevailed over material advantages (Crăciun 2009, 281, 288–289).
Monica Lovinescu also drew public attention to the cases of the Romanian dissidents and critical intellectuals who were persecuted by the communist regime, such as Paul Goma, Dorin Tudoran, Doina Cornea, and Dan Petrescu. She would regularly read texts by some of them during her broadcasts, hoping that these public stands would diminish the harassment which these individuals had to endure because of their critical attitudes. Lovinescu’s stance on this issue reflected the general strategy of the Romanian desk of RFE towards dissidence. Not only did RFE manage to break the official monopoly of information by broadcasting dissident writings for its listeners. It also ensured the safety of the dissidents by simply mentioning their names and cases to both a Romanian and a foreign audience (Petrescu 2013, 24–25, 33, 42).
Moreover, Lovinescu’s political activism also involved her in organising demonstrations or protests in front of the Romanian embassy in Paris, press campaigns, collecting signatures, and spreading memoranda in support of persecuted Romanian dissidents. These actions were coordinated through the RFE network. In the context of the worsening of the economic and political situation in Romania at the end of the 1970s and especially during the 1980s, Monica Lovinescu used her RFE broadcasts to denounce the politics of the Romanian regime and to praise those who had the courage to protest against him. Thus, in 1985 and 1986 she criticised Ceausescu’s so-called programme of systematisation which resulted in the destruction of many villages, as well as many historical areas and buildings in Bucharest for the sake of the new House of the People and the Victory of Socialism Boulevard. Lovinescu’s listeners also found out about the first major protests against the communist regime such as the miners’ strikes in the Jiu Valley in 1977 and the workers’ protest in Brasov in 1987, or about the Militia or Securitate’s repression of protests and acts of opposition in a flagrant violation of human rights (Crăciun 2008: 288–289; Vladimirov 2012, 136).
Monica Lovinescu was a person of strong character who rejected any compromise and any person who made compromises, just she refused to collaborate with the Securitate even though the price was saving her mother’s life. She replied to every intimidating message or offer to reach a compromise with the Romanian communist regime with a firm answer: “I won’t sell my conscience” (Vladimirov 2012, 67). The firmness of her criticism, the popularity she enjoyed among the Romanian audience, and her influence upon international public opinion motivated the Romanian authorities to organise press campaigns to undermine her credibility and reputation. The Securitate even ordered a physical attack against her in December 1977, which instead of silencing her triggered an international protest against the Romanian communist regime and its secret police (Crăciun 2009, 291, Vladimirov 2012, 130–133).
Monica Lovinescu’s contribution to the fight against communism was officially recognised in 2006 when the Romanian authorities acknowledged the role that she and her RFE broadcasts had had in keeping alive “the moral consciousness of the Romanians” (Mănescu 2012, 16). She died in April 2008 in Paris and her funeral urn was returned to Romania and buried in Fălticeni. She was decorated post-mortem with the highest national order, the Star of Romania, with the rank of Grand Officer (Vladimirov 2012: 31).
- Paris, France
She is currently the Director of the Foreign Croatica Collection, as well as a translator and writer, and graduated in comparative literature and the Spanish language and literature, and also has a PhD in Croatian language and literature. Since 2004, she has been an employee of the National and University Library in Zagreb, and from 2007, a director of the Foreign Croatica Collection. Her role as director is to conceive and implement projects involving the Collection. That includes purchasing items, research, organising exhibitions and presenting the Collection at different events, as well as running public debates concerning the Foreign Croatica Collection.
She is also vice-president of the Croatian Writers' Association and the president of the Committee for Literary Connections at the Croatian Writers Association. She translates works from the Spanish language and is a promoter of Croatian literature throughout the world, especially in Spanish speaking countries. She has translated, written and edited about 50 books.
She spent five years in Chile where she worked as a teacher in Puntarenas and later in Croatian diplomacy. This is also the reason behind here interested in the Croatian diaspora, especially in Latin America. Despite spending five years among the Croatian diaspora, she does not consider herself a part of the diaspora and neither was she a part of the cultural opposition to the former Yugoslavia. Her reason for having a connection with the cultural opposition is attributed to her role as director of the Foreign Croatica Collection.
To her, the underlying meaning of this cultural opposition is “a cultural resistance, through literature, not pamphlets, and proof that you can do something without the need for someone’s approval – from anyone.” As a member of cultural scene, she asserts that cultural opposition is very important, primarily as a way of preventing cultural activities from ending up in oblivion.
- Zagreb, Croatia
Petru Lucinschi (b. 27 January 1940, Rădulenii Vechi, Florești district) is a Moldovan politician who served as a Soviet party dignitary (including First Secretary of the Communist Party of Moldavia) and later as President of the Republic of Moldova (1997–2001). He graduated from the State University of Moldova in 1962. He is a member of the Academy of Social Sciences of the Russian Federation (Moscow). He holds a PhD in Philosophy (1977). During 1960–1971, Petru Lucinschi held the positions of: instructor, chief of department, secretary, First Secretary of the CC of the Moldavian Leninist Communist Youth Union. Later (1971–1976) he was a Secretary of the CC of the CPM. During 1976–1978 Lucinschi held the position of First Secretary of the Chisinau City Committee of the CPM. He worked as deputy chief of department at the CC of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) during 1978–1986. He then was appointed Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Tajikistan during 1986–1989. In 1989 Lucinschi was elected as First Secretary of the CC of the CPM, a position he held until 1990. In 1990–1991 he was a secretary of the Central Committee and a member of the Political Bureau of the CC of the CPSU. During 1991–1992 he held the position of senior researcher at the Institute for Social-Political Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). He was also executive director of the Social Sciences Development Fund of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). During 1992–1993 Lucinchi was the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Russian Federation. He was elected Chairman of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova on February 4, 1993 and then reelected as Chairman of the Parliament on March 29, 1994. Petru Lucinschi held the position of President of the Republic of Moldova from 15 January 1997 to 4 April 2001. He was a member of the Supreme Soviet of the MSSR (1967–1980), member of the Supreme Soviet of the Tajik SSR (1986–1990), and member of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1986–1991). From 1990 until 1996 he was a Member of Parliament of the Republic of Moldova. Currently he is chairman of the Lucinschi Foundation for Strategic Studies and Development of International Relations. Petru Lucinschi holds several distinctions and awards: The Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour (France, 1998), Order of the Redeemer (Greece, 1999), Grand Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre (Greek Orthodox Church, Jerusalem, 2000), and the Collar grade of the Star of Romania Order (Romania, 2000). In the context of the present collection, Lucinschi’s position and role were somewhat ambiguous: while he played the role of an ideological vigilante in December 1970, he was also instrumental in assisting Noroc’s leader, Mihai Dolgan, to re-create the group under a new guise and name, Contemporanul (The Contemporary), in 1974. Lucinschi also reflected on the Noroc phenomenon in a later interview.
- Chișinău, Moldova
Jerzy Ludwiński (1930) was born in Zakrzówka in the Lubelszczyzna region. He was a critic and an art theoretician, a curator of numerous exhibitions, an academic teacher, and a visionary whose concept still inspires artists and researchers. His intellectual and organisational activity, especially during the time he spent in Wroclaw in 1966-1975, greatly influenced the development of the Polish conceptualism and neo-avant-garde. Ludwiński died in Toruń in 2000, where he had lived since 1975.
In 1955 Ludwiński graduated from art history at the Catholic University of Lublin. Two years later he was one of the founders of the Lublin’s group Zamek; he also became an editor of the “Structures” (an addition to the “Kamena” magazine), at the same time cooperating with other press issues and actively participating in various artistic events. In 1966 he co-organised the Artists’ and Scientists’ Symposium “Art in the changing world” in the Nitrogen Plants in Puławy – with the participation of local engineers. It proved to be a breakthrough event, both for Ludwiński, who started to sketch his main ideas, and for the whole conceptualism in Poland.
The same year Ludwiński moved to Wroclaw where he presented the idea of the Current Art Museum – an institution which would analyse and document currents artistic facts; being art’s “sensitive seismograph” and its catalyser. The extension of this concept was the idea of a “game’s museum”, which was led by an artist, critic (and curator), and the audience, enabling all parties to negotiate the meanings of created works. Under Mona Lisa Gallery – as the modest gallery in the International Press and Books’ Club’s (IPBC) hall was informally named – was an attempt to materialise those ideas with the limited funding and exposition possibilities. Gallery was ran by Maria Bierny, a head of whole IPBC, but Ludwiński was its curator between 1967-1971, and thanks to his activity the institution was of an extremely authorial character. It provoked authentic, not routinized, discussion about contemporary art. Every exhibition was preceded by the dialogue of an artist and a curator, published in the “Odra” magazine, and finished with a public debate. One of the most important exhibitions in the Under Mona Lisa Gallery was the Terminology art in 1970 – an exposition in a form of text and documentation from the outdoor workshop in Osieki from the same year. It was in Osieki where Ludwiński presented his famous paper Post-artistic art (published later under a slightly changed name Art in a post-artistic epoch), which described the following phases of art evolution; both those form the past (from an object to space) and those that were yet to come. The ending point was specified as dispersion, and merging of the art and reality. Ludwiński predicted that the eagerness to dematerialise art, to exchange a work of art with the “creative process” and action, will lead to a gradual penetration of art in into the spheres of everyday life, science, and technology.
Also in 1970, in Wroclaw, one of the most important events of the Polish conceptualism took place: the Wroclaw ’70 Fine Arts Symposium, organised to commemorate the 25th anniversary of joining the Recovered and Northern Territories to Poland – but in fact it was an excuse to gather tens of the Polish conceptual and neo-avant-garde artists. Ludwiński was an important member of the Symposium Organising Committee. During the event he presented his vision of the Artistic Research Centre (ARC), describing it as an institution both of research nature, and at the same time stimulating art development (as a substitute for ARC may be seen the Art Documentation Centre, founded in 1972 and closed just a year later). In 1971 Ludwiński also managed to organise (together with Antoni Dzieduszycki and Jan Chwałczyk) an outdoor workshop Ziemia Zgorzelecka “Art and science in the process of protecting human natural environment”. It was an expression of ecological consciousness of the conceptual artists and theoreticians. However, the same year Ludwińki resigned from running the Under Mona Lisa Gallery, which was an effect of a conflict with the IPBC’s authorities.
After moving to Torun in 1975 Ludwiński started to run a gallery Punkt (in 1976-1978). He still took part in the artistic life, visiting various exhibitions, symposiums, and outdoor workshops. It is worth mentioning i.e. the International Meetings of Artists, Scientists, and Art Theoreticians in Osieki or the biennale Golden Bunch in Zielona Gora. Since 1982 he tought in the State Higher School for Fine Arts in Poznan, and for the rest of his life he concentrated on the didactics. He was a member of the Polish section of the International Association of Art Critics AICA and a persistent promoter of art in the press, radio, and television.
Ludwiński strongly contributed to shifting the attention from an artistic object to the „artistic process”; he sought a dialogue of the artists, critics, curators, and audience, aiming to democratise and decentralise the art world. He opposed the exclusiveness of art and the pomp that accompanies it; he provoked confrontations and polemic. Ludwiński has never written a whole book (there are only articles, notes, diagrams, and papers), as he was rather a man of a spoken word, of discussion and dialogue. However, his influence on the changes in art of the 1960s and the 1970s is invaluable. His somewhat hippie lifestyle and staying in the peripheries of the art field (little, independent galleries, reviving the creative circles in Lublin, Wroclaw, Torun), definitely made him a person standing out from mainstream. His importance is not even diminished by the fact that he cooperated with the security services, what he explained with the desire to explain them the complex processes within art evolution. In the article Performative mythology. About Jerzy Ludwiński’s curatorial strategies Piotr Lisowski underlined Ludwiński’s thought radicalism and his prophetic attitude: “His work practice has always been characterised by ephemerality and a specific kind of nomadism. It was largely determined by the critic’s biography and myth: a vagabond in jeans, hitchhiking from a symposium to symposium, from a reading to a reading, who found important talking about art”. Play, processual thinking, dialoguing, blurring borders, nomadism, and a visionary attitude made Ludwiński an unusual figure, standing out from easy labelling and interpretation schemes.
Dzikie pola. Historia awangardowego Wrocławia, Dorota Monkiewcz (ed.), Zachęta – Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, Muzeum Współczesne Wrocław, Warsaw 2015.
Jerzy Ludwiński. Wypełniając puste pola, Piotr Lisowski, Katarzyna Radomska (ed.), Centrum Sztuki Współczesnej Znaki Czasu, Toruń 2011.