Anton Roland Laub (RO) "Last Christmas of Ceausescu" - helphoto 22




LAST CHRISTMAS (of Ceausescu)
LAST CHRISTMAS (of Ceausescu) examines the judicial discourse and the institutional memory of the Romanian revolution three decades later. Anton visited museums that bear witness to the events of that time and raised questions regarding their claims of transparency. The focus is directed at the agency of things and what they reveal or conceal. The work investigates constructions of power and the latency of controversy related to injustice and disorientation. Dealing with the fall of Romanian dictator Ceaușescu on Christmas Day 1989, three places are at the forefront: the execution site in Târgoviște; Ceausescu’s private house in Bucharest; and Casa Poporului – the never-inaugurated ruler’s palace. How do they look back on us today? All three are traumatized places, silent witnesses of an undead past. In the 80’s, there were rumors of a bathroom of pure gold that was supposedly found in Ceaușescu’s home. From the empty bathroom, the banality of evil looks back at the viewer. Every year in the 80’s around Christmastime, Anton’s father had to register his typewriter and the imprints of each key to submit them to the police, who archived the profiles of every single typewriter in the country. But not at Christmas of 1989. On Dec 22, Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu were arrested near Târgoviște of all places. This is the city where Vlad the Impaler, alias Dracula, once resided. On Christmas Day, the couple was sentenced to death in a brief show trial. While the overthrow of the other East European dictatorships in 1989 was mostly peaceful, Romania’s revolution ended in a bloodbath. Leaders called upon civilians to fight against nameless “terrorists”, leading to a great deal of friendly fire. The events of those violent days remain shrouded in mystery and intrigue, leaving the question: was it a people’s uprising or a staged coup d’état? “Perpetrators who have not been called to account remain a threat, like the undead, sucking the blood and thus the life-force of the living, as the vampire myth puts it.“ Lotte Laub.

Born and raised in Bucharest, Anton lives and works in Berlin. He received an MA degree from the Weißensee Art Academy, Berlin, having previously completed his studies at the New School for Photography, Berlin. In his practice, Anton engages with subversive approaches in decoding reality constructions and phantoms of power. His recent photo books (published by Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg) address the contemporary history of Romania, as well as the legacy of the dictatorship. Anton was nominated for the 2018 New Discovery Award of Les Rencontres de la Photographie, and Arles and was a finalist for the 2017 Dummy Book Award at Unseen, Amsterdam and Les Rencontres d’Arles. The resulting book was selected for the FOLA Photobook Award, Buenos Aires, and was on view at PhotoBookAthens, Benaki Museum. Currently, he is preparing the last publication of his trilogy, supported by the Culture Senate Department, Berlin and Stiftung Kulturwerk, Bonn. Anton has had solo exhibitions at the Berlin Wall Memorial, Berlin; Municipality Museum, Bucharest; Photography Gallery, Kaunas; Les Rencontres d’Arles; Romanian Cultural Institute, Berlin; and the Goethe-Institut, Bucharest. He has been part of the Triennial of Photography and Architecture, Brussels; FORMAT, Derby; PhotoSaintGermain, Paris; and PHOTO IS:RAEL, Tel Aviv. His works are held in the Book and Media Art Collection of Staatliche Museen, Berlin; Archive of Les Rencontres d’Arles, Arles; Berlin Wall Museum, Berlin; and the Municipality Museum, Bucharest.

Anton Roland Laub (RO) "Last Christmas of Ceausescu" - helphoto 22
Anton Roland Laub (RO) "Last Christmas of Ceausescu" - helphoto 22