news release: July 2002

Transylvanian Earth, New York 2002 by Roman Vasseur

Art Resources Transfer Inc., 210 11th Avenue, #403, NY, NY 10001 July 10th-25th, 2002 Open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm

A crate containing 500 pounds of earth is installed this week at Art Resouces Transfer Inc. in Chelsea, New York City.

Artist Roman Vasseur's project entitled 500 Pounds of Common Earth, Transylvania to New York, orginated in May 2000 in the Borgo Pass in the country of Romania. It has wended its westward journey by road and rail, sea and air via Vienna to London where it was exhibited at the Austrian Cultural Forum (June 2000), thence to Dublin where it was exhibited at Project Arts Center (September 2001). Very careful preparations were made for its importation to the United States in view of official concerns about phytosanitary protection. However, the artist has stated that his aim is to "avoid any reference to myths or fictions commonly associated with its place of origin." After its brief sojourn in New York City (until July 25th), the consignment continues west to artist-run space Raid Projects in Los Angeles, where it will reside until the end of August 2002. The arrival of the Earth in Vienna was greeted with confusion, apparently because the trucker who shipped the crate from Romania, effectively, had smuggled it. It arrived in the Austrian capital as it were, "without papers". Roman Vasseur wrote from Vienna, "The woman at K**** Transport in Vienna is telling me that the problem she is having is that, technically speaking, the consignment does not exist and is therefore an 'illegal immigrant sitting in her warehouse,' because it has not originated in the EU, nor is there any proof that it originated from outside the EU. In her 14 years experience of moving goods from Eastern Europe she has never known a shipment of this size to come across the border without being stopped and inspected." A way was found for the stateless parcel to receive accreditation and for it to continue by air via Munich to London where it was given refuge at the Austrian Cultural Forum. David Burrows, reviewing in Art Monthly, wrote that Vasseur's 500 Pounds of Common Earth "might have passed as an innocent piece of post-minimalist sculpture or a homage to Walter de Maria. Exhibiting a work that comments on immigration and the European Union risks didacticism but Vasseur avoids this by allowing the narratives that the box accumulates on its travels to suggest complex allegories."

Roman Vasseur
500 Pounds of Common Earth
news release: ... Transylvania to Los Angeles
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