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 Boxing, the artist engages in a physical struggle with an image of himself. Made by exposing the film first as he faced in one direction, then again as he faced the other way, the work is divided into three-minute “rounds.” As Grigorescu’s alter ego becomes less visible, it appears to gain strength and eventually emerges as the winner.
Gallery label from Performing Histories: Live Artworks Examining the Past, September 12, 2012–March 8, 2013.