installation | 3 hours | 2021

Isolation in a series of liminal states proposes a performative, visual, and architectural approach, which connects fragments of the complex history of Malmaison with the current situation of an isolated body, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The work looks at isolation from a historical perspective while aiming to contextualize this phenomenon as one deeply rooted in the social and political life of a community. In a crisis of redefining its relationship with society, historical heritage and uncertain predictions about the future, the performative body proposed by the artists is ritualistic and transitory, in an unstable oscillation between what was and what could be.

Following historical, anthropological, and architectural research, the performative installation starts from the memoirs of political prisoners that were imprisoned at Malmaison, a former transitional prison in the Romanian communist era, partially occupied by artists in the present, under the name of Atelierele Malmaison (Malmaison Workshops). Zapping through Malmaison’s history and its transformation process, the installation explores different perspectives of being isolated influenced by the functionality of the building: a former military garrison, Court-martial, a prison for political dissidents and intellectuals, research institute, film set, an underground place for parties, and working space for artists. The memory of the space, transposed into pulsating movement scores, is constantly renewed by assuming foreign identities, which merge with the exchange of information between performers and the public.


Isolation is detachment, individualization, separation, singularization, loneliness, closure, siege, decomposition, fractionation, splitting, fencing, cloistering, dungeon, seclusion, alienation, quarantine. The body in isolation is a liminal body, whose memory becomes uncertain, a dynamic body, dialectical and in perpetual transformation. Space becomes body, the body becomes time and vibration. Starting from images, interviews, chronicles, testimonies of the bodies that passed through Malmaison, the performative installation explores the phenomenon of body reconstruction, of reassembly into a new identity.

Sometimes emotional, sometimes cynical and ironic, often pragmatic and direct, the installation is a potential (dis) functional organism. The collective work steals the kinesthetic material of the body’s experience in isolation and recalibrates it in a space that intentionally loses its ceremonial character, becoming an accessible resource. In Isolation in a series of liminal states, several temporalities overlap, familiar bodily states are recontextualized historically, leaving room for fantasies about the future.

Upon entering the exhibition space, the visitors receive an object that attaches to their bodies. Each object contains text and a graphic sign. These are fragments of information that underlie the traces of the people that have temporarily inhabited the building. Performers are hosts at the same time, inviting visitors to connect objects to the panel placed at the exit of the installation. The panels composed by visitors every night remain in the exhibition space after the performative interventions, recomposing and rearranging the information in another chronology, which entails a new narrative.


Isolation is a series of liminal states opens a program dedicated to choreographic research in the field of “embodied knowledge” developed by /SAC @ MALMAISON, founded by producer and cultural manager Alex Radu. This is an important new direction in /SAC‘s curatorial view of co-productions, research, collaborative and transdisciplinary practices in the visual and performing arts. The Contemporary Art Space – / SAC – is an independent private initiative, a context resource space dedicated to the current needs of the producer and the public to establish a direct and formative dialogue through exhibitions, research, and promotion. / SAC @ MALMAISON is part of a context-community – Malmaison Workshops – an artistic community that includes workshops and exhibition spaces (either artist-run-space, operated by non-profit institutions or galleries) – recently founded in the Malmaison building with a history 2 centuries, located in Bucharest.

Isolation in a series of liminal states is initially anchored in the connection between the theme of isolation in the temporalities of the history of the Malmaison building in which a temporary detention center operated – an experience of the state of temporary isolation in which you do not know how long what will happen to you inside or after, or what the outside world will look like when you go out – and the embodied experience of the isolation we all experienced in lockdown and whose traces-changes in us we still don’t fully understand. On the other hand, the approach also seeks to expand the visitors’ experience in a performative installation through ways in which presence and representation can be built transdisciplinary, with materialities and immaterialities, creating different levels of (co-) presence, temporality, duration, space, and the experimentation.

In Isolation in a series of liminal states, together with the performers, Simona Deaconescu develops principles of movement (rather than choreographing movement), guiding principles that tense the time and duration of movement, expanding particular durations in motion to the limit at which the body is no longer just a performative presence (or action), but also becomes its image, respectively its echo. The sound composed by Vlaicu Golcea and the speakers, the sources that actually generate it, become co-presences, hosts, space, installation, and immersive environment. The direct, immediate intervention of Ramon Sadîc in the exhibition space, with pencil drawing and writing on the wall, is no longer just a representation but intrinsically accumulates a performative dimension.

The intervention of architects Justin Baroncea and Maria Ghement in the exhibition design brings visitors, in a visible, conscious way, in a real-time composition with the installation and performers, adding a new conceptual dimension to the installation and the narrative, in a direct manner, without the need to resort to invasive participation of visitors-spectators.


Concept and performance design Simona Deaconescu

Curatorial concept and producing Alex Radu

Space and object design Justin Baroncea, Maria Ghement

Drawings by Ramon Sadîc

Music by Vlaicu Golcea

Historical research Mihai Burcea

Anthropological research Bogdan Iancu

Performers Andrei Bouariu, Georgeta Corca, Ioana Marchidan, Maria Luiza Dimulescu, Simona Dabija

Project coordinator Laura Trocan

Promotion and communication Simona Rădoi, Anca Macoviciuc, Simona Abagiu

Video documentation Cătălin Rugină

Photo documentation Dan Vezentan, Alina Ușurelu


11 – 15 Nov 2021 -> /SAC @ MALMAISON (Bucharest, RO)


Isolation in a Series of Liminal States is a cultural project co-produced by Tangaj Collective Association and / SAC @ MALMAISON (Aiurart Association) and co-financed by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. The project is co-financed by the Bucharest City Hall through ARCUB within the Bucharest – Open City 2021 Program. 

The project does not necessarily represent the position of the National Cultural Fund Administration. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the project or how the project results may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding. For detailed information about the Bucharest City Hall financing program through ARCUB, you can access The content of this material does not necessarily represent the official position of the Bucharest City Hall or ARCUB.


/ SAC @ MALMAISON was made possible with the support of URSA ROMANIA and POLICOLOR ROMANIA