In Romania, the repressive political regime of Nicolae Ceausescu (1967–89) drove many artists who worked outside of the official art system and feared censorship into isolation. While Bratescu worked as a graphic designer for the cultural magazine Secolul 20 (Twentieth century), her artistic practice evolved in private. Toward the end of the 1970s, she rented a studio that functioned as a stage for temporary installations as well as a production venue for her films. Her first recorded performance, _Atelierul (The Studio)—_filmed by fellow artist Ion Grigorescu—is an exploration of this environment. Related works, such as the photographic collage Atelier. Invocarea desenului (The Studio. Invocation of the Drawing), also thematize her studio and the conditions of its production. In addition to these autobiographical works, Bratescu produced a series of abstract sewn drawings on textiles, Ipostazele Medeei (Medea’s Hypostases). Using fragments of cloth left to her by her mother, the artist conceptualized the Greek mythological character Medea, who, in the Euripides play, kills her children to revenge her husband’s betrayal, thereby confounding
traditional expectations of a mother figure.
Gallery label from Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, September 5, 2015–January 3, 2016.