1989 is an important year for many countries from Central and Eastern Europe, because it represents the end of communism. It all started in the summer with Poland, then it extended to Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and ended in December with Romania.

Romania’s ruler back than was Nicolae Ceausescu who was head of state from 1967 to 1989. His regime became oppressive in early 1970’s, after his visits to China or North Korea when he became more obsessed with power, with grandeur, putting his people on second place, striping them from their basic human rights. Helped by the Secret Police, also called Securitate, he eliminated anyone who could or would interpose his megalomaniac plans, by which we name three: his resolution of paying all external dept (and he succeed, but this left the people without food, medicines, fuel or energy). Or the demolishing of entire neighborhoods in Bucharest so that he would built The House of People, that according to the World Records Academy, is the world’s largest civilian building with an administrative function, most expensive administrative building and heaviest building. The third mention should be about the nationalization of the entire private sector.

In the same time, Ceausescu’s delusions of grandeur came bundled with an amplified cult of personality. I remember that every classroom in our school had a portrait of his hanged on the wall, sure enough every state institution. Also every first page of every manual had his picture. And so on.

Like all dictators, Ceausescu used art to feed his narcissism, this way he embodied the figure of the father or the hero. Another purpose of the art commanded by him was to communicate with the people. The paintings showed always their leader surrounded by happy, dedicated people, collecting rich harvests or taking part to  life celebration moments. This Official art, later called Totalitarian Art, was most of the times very funny back then and even more now. Here are some exquisite examples of how far those artists would go with their imagination.

 

But not all art about Ceausescu is funny. Adrian Ghenie, the young Romanian painter about who we have talked to you in a previous post, decided to paint Ceausescu, as he also has an affinity for this era, but he offers another perspective on the subject. Here is an interview with him where he talks about it. Enjoy!

 

Sources: wikipedia.com; geopolitikon.files.wordpress.com; artbabble.org