Issue #19, 2004

Dan Perjovschi

Dan Perjovschi was born in 1961 in Sibiu, Romania. He lives and works in Bucharest.

Personal exhibitions: Franklin Furnace New York, IDID Projects London, 48th Venice Biennial Romanian Pavilion, Brukenthal Museum Sibiu, Protokoll Studio Cluj, Grreogor Podnar Gallery Ljubljana and in 2005 Ludwig Museum Köln. He participate at group shows such as Beyond Belief Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art 1995, Manifesta 2, Luxembourg 1998, Voilà! Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris 2000, First Göteborg Biennial 2001, Open City – Models for Use Kokerei Zollverein | Zeitgenössische Kunst und Kritik, Essen, and Undesire, Apexart, New York in 2003 Media Biennial Seul, Communaute Institut d’Art Contemporain Villeurbanne 2004, and in 2005 New Europe at Generali Foundation Wien. He is recipient of Henkel CEE Drawing Prize 2002 and George Maciunas Prize 2004.



I had ROMANIA tattooed on my shoulder in 1993 for the First International Festival of Performance “Zone East Europe”, Timișoara (curator Ileana Pintilie). The procedure cost me a beer, which I shared with the young rocker who tattooed me like a handicraft, with four needles and an ink pot. The operation lasted about 20 minutes and it was extremely boring for the public. Years after that I was asked if the tattooing was real. For 10 years I’ve been showing this work many times as an intimate and semi-secret sculpture.

In 2002 I was invited to take part in the 4th edition of Zona Festival. My participation consisted in a written promise that I would remove the tattoo when I found the financial means. The promise was addressed to the curator, Ileana Pintilie and implicitly to the public in Timișoara.

To my own surprise and against the tradition, I have managed to keep my promise. In 2003, on the occasion of the exhibition In der Schluchten des Balkans (curator René Block), that is 10 years from its being made, I decided to remove the tattoo. Still as a performance. The procedure cost around 2,000 euro, including my three journeys to Kassel and lasted approximately 3 months, as I needed to let pass a few weeks between the laser treatments, so that the skin could heal. The technique is extremely sophisticated and the equipment incredibly expensive. Every dot of ink is fired by the laser and broke into thousands of fragments. Then some smart molecules carry those fragments everywhere under the skin. They say that a lot of them go under one’s arm.

In other words, ROMANIA didn’t disappear from my body, it only spread itself so as it is no longer visible. With absolute precision.

My gratitude goes to:

leana Pintilie (curator of East Europe Zone, Timișoara International Festival of Performance Art) , Sorin Vreme (who found the respective man) and at that time the student Aurelian Scorobete (thank you old man, it was a cool tattoo) for the making, and to Marius Babias, René Block, Dr. Michael Krakovwski, Birgit Eusterschulte (who found the doctor and waited with me in the waiting room at the first laser session) for the un-making.

I am also grateful to Kristine Stiles for the constant attention she has shown for this work and generally for my career, to the Idea magazine for publishing this thing and to Lia Perjovschi, who supported me unceasingly, even when not even I believed it was possible.

Translated by Raluca Voinea