Dr. Irina Gheorghe

Irina Gheorghe is an artist from Bucharest, Romania. She studied painting and photography at the University of Arts Bucharest, but has worked mainly with media which involve being physically present. She is interested in ways to bend this presence to explore the unobservable, the limits of the possible, the deep past and the deep future, while staying within the confines of the everyday, using techniques of the backgarden sci-fi, minimal weird, modest land art, and deviant situations. Under the working frame Psychic Agency, her works have been exploring ambiguity as a language to address visitors from another world, estrangement as a method to access this other world while never leaving this one, as well as art’s relation to other disciplines in proposing deviant knowledge methodologies.

Irina confounded the artist duo The Bureau of Melodramatic Research with Alina Popa in 2009 to investigate how passions shape contemporary society, as well as our affective relationship to an awe-inspiring unhuman universe. She is also co-founder of the artist-run publication Bezna [consistent darkness + diffuse fear], and of the Art-Leaks platform.

Her projects were shown in Pratt Manhattan Gallery New York, Savvy Contemporary Berlin, rhiz Vienna, WASP Bucharest, Times Museum Guangzhou, WING Hong Kong, HOME Manchester, CAC Vilnius, National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest, bak Utrecht, mumok Vienna, CNDB Bucharest, DEPO Istanbul, Ujazdowsky Castle Warsaw, messagesalon Zurich, etc.



Title: The Treason of Presence: Minimal Deviation or How Art Speaks of What’s Not There

Supervisors: Dr. Ronan McCrea and Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick

Overview: The project explores the possibility of what I call practices of deviation within contemporary art to address a reality beyond sensory experience through shifts in experience, and how that, rather than being an experiment which stays at the level of perception, can become an epistemological opportunity. Starting from the assumption that art cannot fully abandon materiality and sensation in spite of repeated attempts in the conceptual tradition to distance itself from it, the project looks at those instances in which the sensible is placed in a dialectic relation to the conceptual (following Peter Osborne’s account of contemporary art as postconceptual), and the possibilities of this dialectics to interrogate our relation to the world of unobservable phenomena. The research focuses in particular on the physical presence of the body as the ultimate bearer of the contradiction between the senses and a world beyond human experience, which has recently returned at the center of continental philosophy and the natural sciences in debates around realism. The project explores the tentative idea of deviation as a technique through which art responds to this tension, drawing on concepts such as estrangement/ostranenie (Victor Shklovsky), the weird (H. P. Lovecraft) and diffraction (Karen Barad). It looks at practices which, without excluding the presence of the body, use every opportunity to betray it, aiming to trace their cross-media genealogy in contemporary art, the performing arts and experimental cinema, while at the same time developing new practices at the intersection of these areas. In parallel, the inquiry follows a philosophical investigation of ideas of deviant presence in relation to current debates around realism, materialism and rationalism, ultimately hoping to demonstrate that art’s ties to materiality and the body are not a limiting but a knowledge-producing condition, thus questioning the position of artistic practice in relation to aesthetics, epistemology and metaphysics.

Research Outputs


Foreign Language for Beginners, performace and installation, The Landis Museum, Chapter Thirteen/Glasgow International, Glasgow (Scotland)

Preliminary Remarks on the Study of What Is Not There, performance, KUNCI Cultural Studies Centre, Yogyakarta (Indonesia)


Preliminary Remarks on the Study of What Is Not There, performance, Basic Talks series, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Dublin (IR)

Preliminary Remarks on the Study of What Is Not There, performance, EARN conference Hauntopia/What If, Research Pavilion, Venice (IT)

Foreign Language for Beginners, performace, The Utopia of Access, GradCAM event at the Research Pavilion, Venice (IT)

Foreign Language for Beginners, performace, The Choregraphic, curated by Andrea Phillips and Edgar Schmitz, Research Pavilion, Venice (IT)

Foreign Language for Beginners, performace presentation at the end of the Cube Development Award residency, Project Art Center, Dublin (IR)

“The Treason of Sense: Art as Deviation,” text published in Revista Arta 24-25 (2017).


“Principles of Deviation,” text published in Black Hyperbox, edited by Florin Flueraș and Alina Popa. Bucharest: PUNCH, 2017.

The Way to Go, performance, eXplore dance festival, WASP, Bucharest (RO)

Trans-Serial and the Deadly Medium, lecture performance, EARN conference That Art Exhibits, Luca School of Arts, Brussels (BE)

Foreign Language for Beginners, performance, in DerBlödeDritteMittwoch performance series, curated by Katalin Erdödi, rhiz, Vienna (AT)

Foreign Language for Beginners, performace presentation at the end of the Workspace Brussels residency, Rosas studios, Brussels (BE)


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