Ioana Cojocariu’s Body – Experience – Knowledge (2013) holds three learning experiences: Lesson #1: “Look to the side, but never look up.”, lesson #2: “Inhale, lift your chest and look forward.” and lesson #3: “Quickly neutralize the opponent, be determined and never apologize.” A woman working in the street, a yoga instructor and a policewoman are the artist’s teachers in this video. These lessons bind together three postures of working bodies in the city. Mobility and cross-border bodies and precarious work are recurring themes in Cojocariu’s work. Originally from Romania, Cojocariu moved to Sweden twelve years ago. In the city of Gothenburg she noticed that several women asking for money in the street worked from a position of complete closure, which reminded her of the yoga “child’s pose.” Throughout the years, she got to know many of these women and started talking to them about their work. “If they meet your gaze, they won’t give you money” says Rita, the street woman in the video. She and several others confessed to Cojocariu that this is the optimal pose in terms of image and body weight distribution. For Rita, asking for money is work. She is a professional street performer and the body is her working-instrument, therefore self-care is part of her work routine. Before coming to Gothenburg, Rita traveled and worked all over Europe. This work sets out from the artist’s long-term research project “Making a Living,” in which she collaborates with people who have experienced various forms of migration. Using the methods of auto-ethnography they activate and collectivize all the embodied knowledge accumulated during the migration process.
Ioana Cojocariu investigates mobility and labour conditions, embodied and clandestine knowledge, and the formation of subjectivity within her works. She is presently working together with a self-organized group that uses video documentation and auto-ethnography as a research practice. Exhibitions and projects include shows at The Museum of Work, Norrköping (2016), Moderna Museet Malmö, Stockholm (2015), MNAC, Bucharest (2015), Gallery Verkligheten, Umeå (2014), Clandestino Institute, Göteborg (2014) and Röda Sten Konsthall, Göteborg (2013).