One of the first Romanian Conceptual artists, Grigorescu has made significant contributions in exploring the relationship between performance and recorded image. Part of the Romanian “post-Actionist” movement in the 1970s, he has produced numerous films, photographs, and works on paper exploring his roles as an individual and an artist under a despotic political regime. Grigorescu made his work in a period of sociopolitical decline: in the late 1970s, Romania’s president, Nicolae Ceausescu—also Secretary General of the Romanian Communist Party—enforced policies that impoverished the nation, increased the authority of the police, and imposed a cult of personality. (In 1989 Ceausescu was overthrown and executed, the first revolution that was broadcast live on television.) Grigorescu used film to record intimate experiments that he staged secretly in his home, using his own body.
In Dialogue with Ceausescu, the artist carries on an imagined conversation with the Romanian president, also performed by himself. Again acting in double, opposing roles, Grigorescu wears everyday clothing, while Grigorescu-as-Ceausescu wears a suit, tie, and exaggerated mask. The film begins with the phrase, “If the people cannot rule, they should at least criticize!”