To Virtual Tour

Irina Nicolau, ethnologist and writer, co-organizer, together with Horia Bernea, of the Romanian Peasant Museum, coordinator of 6 volumes of oral memory, author of 8 books of alternative ethnology, creator of object-books, clothes and jewels; she loved kitsch objects, she loved her friends and she loved to play.

One day, it must have been nineteeneightysomething, I received a letter from Irina. She had managed to travel to Athens, to visit her aunt. I must also tell that she had first received an official negative answer from the Passport Department and she had been forced to request an audience at the Militia, hoping she would change their mind. She prepared thoroughly, she combed her hair back, tied it with a white ribbon and gathered it at the back of her neck, she wore a blue shirt with a white little collar, a straight dress, no make-up, she removed her famous rings and she took care that she looks stupid and poor. I don’t remember what she told the officer or whoever, but she finally obtained the passport. And thus I return to the letter I received from Athens! An elegant envelope, smelling of occidental glue, that I opened respectfully with the coupe-papier, only to find a piece of toilet paper inside, written upon with brown ink: THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL HERE. RIRI

Much later, in 2000, we made an album on Sibiel icons together with a younger friend. Thanks to Irina’s design, the book turned out to be a beautiful object. However, because of the bad binding, the colorful pages would fly away at the first skimming through the volume. Every time she gave the book as a present, Irina would write in the dedication: TO BE READ PREFERABLY CLOSED. RIRI

What is there to learn from these two stories? Well, first of all, that Irina Nicolau felt she was RIRI; secondly, that she had the gift of writing the essential, in simple words, short and very telling; thirdly, that she liked to work with her friends. And, in general, that she knew how to transform the unpleasant and the mistake in funny and memorable accidents.

Unfortunately, most of her books appeared in minuscule number of copies and where thus read mainly by her friends (Irina gave away as gifts everything she received as author’s rights and then bought some more so she could continue to make presents) and borrowed by her friends’ friends. The generous friendship, floating around her like mist led to a phenomenon manifest only after she left us: a sui generis community was formed of very different people who feel close to each other only by virtue of the feelings she had unveiled in them; some had just discovered her, other had known her for a long time and grew apart for whatever reasons; some, very young, were professionally formed by her, others adopted her (or were adopted?) as close relative.

Ioana Popescu


A apărut numărul 23/2018 al revistei MARTOR, „Curating Change in the Museum”, volum coordonat de Gruia Bădescu, Simina Bădică și Damiana Oțoiu. Tema numărului din acest an aduce împreună unsprezece texte științifice și studii de caz despre muzee care răspund provocărilor timpului, sunt inaugurate, în loc să fie închise, sunt îndrăznețe, în loc să fie precaute, în timp ce țin pasul cu normele de conservare și de păstrare a obiectelor și artefactelor pe care le au în grijă. Volumul se încheie cu două recenzii a două titluri de referință în lumea muzeelor. Totodată, numărul include un eseu vizual, cu o selecție de imagini din Arhiva de etnologie a Muzeului Național al Țăranului Român, imagini care intră în dialog cu articolele științifice.
Revista se găsește online integral, la adresa:

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Entrance hall. Curatorial statement.
Gruia BĂDESCU, Simina BĂDICĂ, Damiana OȚOIU
Curating Change in the Museum: Introduction to the Volume

First Hall. Transitional Museology: Museums React to Social and Political Change
Revolutionary Curating, Curating the Revolution: Socialist Museology in Yugoslav Croatia

Charline KOPF
Dakar’s Museum of Black Civilisations: Towards a New Imaginary of a Post-ethnographic Museum

Working with Contested Ethnographic Collections to Change “Old Museum” Perspectives: Mutare Museum, Eastern Zimbabwe, 2015-2017

Study Corner. The Antidote Museum 25 Years On
The Museums of the World and I. My Museum Experience in an Eastern European Country

Florian FOUCHÉ, Marianne MESNIL
Le musée antidote mis en pratique: regards croisés d’un artiste et d’une ethnologue sur le Musée du Paysan Roumain

Second hall. The Antifragile Museum: Embracing Change
Towards a Typology of an Emergent Museum Form

Cracks and Light: Observing the Resilience of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

From Iconoclasm to Museum: Mussolini’s Villa in Rome as a Dictatorial Heritage Site

Martijn van GILS
Material Remembrance in Contentious Spaces: Framing Multi-Scalar Memories and National Culpability in the Museo della Fondazione della Shoah

Third Hall. Museums Reviews and Interviews
Jasmina AL-QAISI
Objects + Things = Stuff. A Visitor’s Guide to Berlin’s Museum der Dinge

Elephants, Cockoos, Horses, and Me. A Different Exhibition About Toys

Exit Through the Bookshop

Janet Marstine, Critical Practice: Artists, Museums, Ethics, New York: Routledge, 2017, 212 pp.
(recensé par Martin HULLEBROECK)

Fiona Candlin. Micromuseology. An Analysis of Small Independent Museums, London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016, 224 pp.
(reviewed by Anca-Maria PĂNOIU)

Visual Archaeologies
by Viviana IACOB


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