NEU NOW 2011Tallinn
Title of work: Menu
Institution: National University of the Arts Bucharest, Romania
Daniel Djamo (b.1987, Bucharest) is a Romanian artist, interested in personal and group histories and stories and in themes such as the national identity. He combines film with performance and video art, while also installation with photography in order to evoke the past and to underline “the now.” In June 2018 I have obtained my PhD in Visual Arts at the Art History and Theory department of Bucharest National University of Arts (2013-2018), with the thesis entitled „Nomadaptation”.
Winner of the 2013 ESSL award CEE (offered by the ESSL museum), the 2013 Henkel Art.Award. Young artist prize CEE (given by mumok - Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien - and KulturKontakt Austria), the 2011 Startpoint Prize Romania (awarded by Arbor vitae Foundation and the Czech Ministry of Culture) and the 2011 Grand Prize of the National University of Fine Arts from Bucharest.
In 2015 he won Premio Combat’s Video art award at Museo Giovanni Fattori, in Livorno, Italy. Also, in 2015, Djamo won the Special Award for Documentary Film given by the Romanian Filmmakers Union, while also being nominated for the 2015 Best Debut for a feature film (Opera Prima award) by the Romanian Filmmakers Union. He was also nominated for the 2015 Arte Laguna Prize, in Video Art section.
Daniel had solo exhibitions in Dortmund (Kunstlerhaus Dortmund, 2017), Maribor (K18 Gallery, 2017), Graz (Afro-Asiatic Institute, 2016), Herzlele (ARPIA – Art with landscape, 2016), Glasgow (Briggait, 2014), Leipzig (KunstKraftWerk, 2015), Kassel (tokonoma, 2012), Torino (Artissima Art Fair, solo show with Anca Poterasu Gallery, 2014), Vienna (Schleifmuhlgasse 12-14 Gallery, 2014), Bucharest (Anca Poterasu Gallery – 2014 and 2015, Victoria Art Gallery – 2013 and 2015), Timisoara (Calina Gallery, 2012) and Kuala Lumpur (WOLO and Wei-Ling Gallery, 2015).
The artist presented his works in group exhibitions at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), Bucharest National Museum of Contemporary Art, l’Arsenale di Venezia, the Museum of Moscow, took part in the 2014 Les Rencontres Internationales (Paris, La Gaite Lirique), Kunsthaus Dresden, the ESSL museum from Vienna, OSTRALE Centre for Contemporary Art Dresden, Constanta Museum of Art, Museo Civico Giovanni Fattori, etc.
His videos have been screened in numerous video art and film festivals, while also winning several awards for his artworks in the competitions.
Menu is Daniel Djamo's film about the woman who raised him, and part of the larger video and photography project Buni, which collects 160 hours of filmed material and around 500 photographs. Although Djamo and the woman at the centre of the project are not related, she was more than a mother to him. In 2009 he started to record her, in photography and video, to try and understand what it might mean to 'pass', and to try to document and immortalise the process of ageing. It soon became like the last journal, the only thing left of a loved one, as she developed colorectal cancer and diabetes.
"I started the Buni project because I didn’t know how to handle loss. For a period of time, I had to take care of her all by myself. That truly changed the way I understood ageing and death. It marked me. I didn’t expect I would ever see a close one slowly dying right before my eyes. She is the one that I felt closest to – even though we were not related. I started recording her life because I didn’t know what else to do. I was aware that I would lose her and that I would be left with almost no visual records of the way she was after she got old. I was so afraid I would lose her – so I wanted to catch everything there was left to capture about her. Ever since she got really old she didn’t want anyone to take her picture, because she thought she was ugly.
After I told her why I wanted to do this, she allowed me to keep a record of her."