30 Years of Optimism

Lisa Marie Schmitt & Alexandru Mihai Budeș

250 lei1.000 lei


• editions in different sizes: XS, S, M, L. Choose it in the column “Size”.
• various porcelain fragments, plywood pedestal/crate, stain color, 2023 – 2024

In 2021, when we first visited the manufactory of Florian Istrate in Alba Iulia, Transylvania, we were stunned by the thousands of leftover figurines and shards in the shape of Michael Jackson. All these are artifacts of a production line that was supposed to be the deal of his life in the mid-90s. Tracing back the 1,000 finished figurines, glazed in real gold and platinum, launched almost 30 years ago as the Carlitta Collection, we found them still being traded as rare collector’s items on certain e- commerce platforms by auction houses or private sales for a high price tag into the thousands.

As 30 Years of Optimism talks about an exemplary case of exploitation of Eastern European countries by the West, it is our concern to help Istrate compensate for his loss. Therefore, as part of the exhibition at Roam Projects, we launched an Edition of porcelain fragments originally produced in
Transylvania around 1996. The proceeds are intended for Florian Istrate. In the framework of the exhibition hosted by Galeria Posibliă at Atelierele Scânteia we are launching the second round of pieces (Nr. 51 – 100) in four different sizes. We will extend this edition up to 1,000 pieces, acting as a counterpart to the 1,000 golden figurines he was never paid for. Each fragment comes with its handcrafted plywood pedestal, also acting as a transport crate. The blue color comes with a conceptual function referencing the television and movie-making techniques of chroma-key blue (or green), where the background can be eliminated. The pedestals, or heights, become non-existent, and as boxes, it can make the megastar disappear.
When purchasing the edition, you receive a fragment of a story, while the idol remains broken and hollow.
The edition includes a photo of the golden Michael Jackson Nr. 1001 (of 1000, created in 1996, glazed in 2021 for our project), a QR-Code with a link to the film, and a Certificate of authenticity.

• In line with the artists’ intention, the gallery will not charge commission, supporting this gesture alongside them, which we consider a critique-activist stance against capitalism and an invitation to reevaluate the concept of solidarity.

Additional information

XS, S, M, L

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