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Arhiva deschisă a arhitecturii socialiste în dezvoltare/ Open Archive of socialist architecture in progress, 2021

Stefan RUSU (b. 1964 in Kâietu, Moldova) is an artist and freelance curator, currently based in Islamabad, Pakistan. His artistic/curatorial agenda is geared towards the social and political changes in East European societies after the fall of Berlin Wall and dissolution of Soviet Union. He studied at the I. Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1986-1989) and The Academy of Arts N. Grigiorescu (1990-1995) and later in 2005-2006 he attended the Curatorial Training Program at De Appel art center, Amsterdam.

Stefan has a lifelong trajectory in dealing with socialist cultural heritage, starting from studying monumental art and its aesthetics in the art school and college in 70-80s, then serving military service where he continued practicing art by designing (in collaboration with his father architect) and producing a WW2 monument with a concrete statue of a soldier. As a matter of fact, his former training in monumental sculpture driven by communist ideology was later reversed into serving contemporary art system, in the capacity of transdisciplinary artist and later as curator of projects and exhibitions. His former and actual experience of living in a soviet housing bloc along with his interest in theory, architecture and urbanism inspired him to design a replica of a concrete flat (Apartamentul Deschis/Flat Space), based on mass housing aesthetics and technology.

His solo exhibition from 2021 titled “Endangered Species: A plea for a Red Book of Soviet Modernism” focused on socialist architecture from Central Asia, incorporates a juxtaposed photo-series of endemic plants and modernist buildings and the documentary film “Return From The Future”. The research was undertaken during an extensive stay and several trips in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan between 2013-2019 was presented at Trieste Contemporanea, Italy.

The research and exhibition is part of “Insular Modernities” that explores how the phenomena of socialist architecture formed in Eastern Bloc, is preserved and experienced from the margins/peripheries. The ultimate goal is advocacy and preservation of modernist heritage, it analyses in various formats the former and current state of conservation surrounding socialist architecture, as well the role and changing status of public space at the new turn of history.  Insular Modernities is a research platform developed in the format of public lectures, films and exhibitions, disseminated through online archive based on social networks (Instagram (@insularmodernities @socialistcity_and_urbanism @socialistcity), Tumblr (#insularmodernities #socialistarchitecture), etc.), web site and publications. 

Stefan is the editor of publications: Spaces on the Run (2015), Reimagining the New Man (2014), Chisinau-Art, Research in the Public Sphere (2011)"RO-MD/Moldova in Two Scenarios (2008). In 2012 he directed Reclaiming the City documentary commissioned by 7th Berlin Biennial.