Podcast with Adriana Record, Executive Director of the French Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Romania (CCIFER) and a great supporter of the visual arts.

September 01, 2023

 Listern to the podcast here.


“I think that the proximity between art and aesthetics that we have been used to over time trivializes or superficializes the interaction with art. The fact that there is now a greater openness to contemporary art, there are more instances in which we can connect pushes society to evaluate other principles, other values than those traditionally were fond of and observed.” – Adriana Record, Executive Director CCIFER

Today’s podcast guest, Adriana Record, wears several “hats”. She had been, for a long period of time, the Executive Director of the French Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Romania (CCIFER), which has been one of the most important supporters of the Gaep Gallery, as the gallery has been a member of this community for around 10 years.


Welcome, Adriana. A first question: how do you see the connection between art and the CCIFER community?

First of all, thank you for the invitation. The Romania-France season is a revealing example in terms of community interest from two perspectives. The first is the historical one, because in the community, indeed, there are many companies that have a tradition at the international level and in their development, over time, of collections and curating on different art forms. The Romania-France season was an opportunity to find these collections or part of these collections in Romania and, on the other hand, it was the moment when different communities connected around this join red line, which was of outmost importance in the artistic landscape of Bucharest and its different happenings.


I also was also privileged with regards to the Renault collection, because the exhibition was also an opportunity to make the first purchase of digital art that the Renault collection has made in its history. A video artwork by Sebastian Moldovan, which they commissioned, and Sebastian even made an long trip through Asia and recorded this video which was the first artwork of its kind integrated into the collection.

I know that you are very interested in contemporary art and, from our interactions, I noticed something very important to me, which is that you have the ability to decode and understand the complexity behind a work of art. What constantly brings you to galleries and museums because I know that usually, when you go somewhere, you end up in a museum or gallery in that city?

Galleries and museums are encounters for me, which have changed their meaning over time. At the beginning, when I was very curious, they had an educational role. Over time, visiting a museum or gallery became a kind of critical training and a way to have a conversation with myself in a different space, in a different city, in a different context. More recently, I was realizing that it’s actually also a search beyond the artist or artists who present, a search for a curatorial concept. I’m increasingly curious to understand the vision behind a person, an artwork or how it fits into a context and I’m very curious to see the same artists or the same artworks in different curatorial concepts, for example.


What makes an exhibition good or less good or interesting or less interesting? The curatorial dimension, individual artists’ practices? How do you relate to an exhibition, in general?

A successful exhibition for me is an exhibition that creates a context for conversations. I believe, particularly contemporary art doesn’t envisage a one-way message. The moment you enter a gallery, an exhibition, and you start this inner dialogue, asking the questions that the context enables you to ask – at that very moment, you recognize high end concept.  It’s hard, or at least it’s hard for me to assess the message of one artwork, isolated from a context. I find it much more interesting to start a journey through an exhibition, to understand the framework in which the artist generates or creates these conversations through several artworks, and only then it becomes easier for me to recreate my own meaning and connect with the messages unveiled.


We talk a lot in our field, and in the seminars I do I address the concept of visual literacy. We live today, perhaps more than ever, in a world of images. Image is central to our lives, whether we like it or not.  Through the smart phone, through exposure to any kind of screens, we are confronted with a sort of digital collage – which is often obvious, but which sometimes hides a certain complexity. How can we decipher it? Does art help us in any way to develop a more critical spirit? And how might this happen?

Definitely art is one of the main tools by which we sharpen our critical spirit and create a value judgement in a positive sense. We are afraid to assume that we have value judgments, it’s inevitable. Art has the privilege of pushing taboos beyond the realm of the acceptable and of making us be responsible for reacting in a reference system in which we evolve. How do we deconstruct or what role can art play? History can only be contemporary. It’s a well-known quote. So, art is a social revealer in the first place; and the way topics are approached, treated, the way we relate to these topics in fact only generate a live psychodrama of the society we live in.

And to come back to the question about visual literacy – only through this can art have an educational role, beyond all the educational baggage it brings along: references, art history in chromatics, techniques and so on, which may be more or less accessible. But the fact that it takes us out of the sphere of aesthetic evaluation and into the sphere of critical evaluation, where we try to interact with a message, beyond the fact that we like it or not, is actually an important act of education.


This, I think, is what very much differentiates contemporary art from older art. It seems, however, that art that is situated in the present forces us to have a different relationship with the image.

In our present. My point is that every artistic moment has a present time. And what we call classical art today actually had a present. What changes is how we relate to the present, i.e. it also becomes past or future in relation to an artwork we are looking at.

It’s difficult to talk about the artist’s intention in the act of creation, and I don’t know if it’s necessarily relevant for an artist to be said to be projecting into the future or not. What is important is his/her ability to create a conversation. What opens you to the future is your own reference system and how you take the message and carry it inwards.


What type of art appeals to you the most? Is it more medium-based or something related to a particular topic or could you just be drawn to any type of art?

I’m really drawn to photography. I’ve been drawn to photography even before I started to get closer to contemporary art. It attracted me in an intuitive way, and now I really like immersive installations, less about the medium or technique, but with the ability to drag you into a universe and make you resonate with an idea you find in a creative space.


That’s a big challenge from a production perspective as well, because it is one of the obstacles many artists have when they want to produce ambitious artworks. We don’t have the opportunity to see immersive installations that often in Romania, unfortunately. As a conclusion to our discussion – what do you think the role of art in society should be?

Art can open, in my view, two channels of discussion. On the one hand, it offers this opportunity to project yourself into an alternative reality and to see yourself in a situation where you don’t find yourself in an everyday life, so it has a role to create this space of freedom and individual discovery in relation to artworks, in relation to a community, in relation to artists, to favorite galleries and so on, especially in Romania.

Speaking of another discussion we could have, why are we closer or further away from galleries in Romania than in other spaces? I think that the proximity between art and aesthetics that we have been used to over time trivializes or superficializes the interaction with art. The fact that there is now a greater openness to contemporary art, there are more instances in which we can connect pushes society to evaluate other principles, other values than those traditionally were fond of and observed.

I also think that art introduces a new relationship to value in society. It is very difficult to associate a contemporary work with a monetary value and this leads you to other criteria of evaluation, to other ways of resonating with that artwork and automatically we bring us back to the area of references, of critical spirit, of individual positioning.


Adriana Record, thank you very much for this talk. As you can see, Accelerator Today is not only about art theories or artistic positioning. We aim to expand the conversation about contemporary art into areas that question the importance of art in society and to bring art and culture on our radar, everyone’s radar and perhaps even more and more centrally, as a powerful lever for prosperity, for happiness, even for the idea of attracting more and more people to come and work in Romania and produce added value here.

I believe that we have a say here and we can contribute, each in our own way, to a better world, through a more consistent presence of art in our lives.