Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan

Anca Benera & Arnold Estefan

Artistic duo, b. 1977 & 1978, Romania
Live and work in Bucharest

The work of Anca Benera (RO) and Arnold Estefan (RO/HU) deals directly with the issue of cultural difference, exploring the caustic ways in which identity, history-writing and law-making imprint themselves on the personal and collective subjectivity.

Their practice spans different media, cultural registers and disciplines to reflect on society as being a tissue of conventions that can and must be permanently re-imagined. The artists have been working collaboratively since 2011, one of their artistic projects actually consisting in a legalised form of their mutual sharing of the copyrights for their works. They co-founded the Centre for Visual Introspection in Bucharest, where they generated a series of workshops, public art projects and publications, between 2008-2012.

Their projects have been shown at Belvedere 21 Vienna (2020), Contemporary Art Museum Belgrade (2020), Ludwig Museum Koblenz (2020), Art Encounters Biennial Timisoara (2019), in the the “Suoja / Shelter“ Festival, Helsinki (2019), at, Bratislava (2019), MUCEM, Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, Marseille (2019), Frac des Pays de la Loire, France (2018), the Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast (2018), MUMOK Vienna (2017), “The School of Kyiv”, Kyiv Biennial (2015), Vienna Biennale (2015), Kunsthalle Wien (2014), The Jewish Museum (New York, 2014), 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013) and Palais de Tokyo (Paris, 2012). In 2015 they were awarded a special prize inside “Create Your Bucharest!”, a MAK project for the Vienna Biennale 2015. They have worked inside artistic residencies at the Ateliers Internationaux du Frac, Frac des Pays de la Loire (2018), MeetFactory, Prague (2017), AIR_MAK Center LA, The Artists and Architects-in-Residence Program at the Mackey Apartments, Los Angeles, USA (2015), among others.

Anca Benera & Arnold Estefán, "Debrisphere. Visible Manifestations of the Invisible Forces", 2019 - 2020, video installation: single-channel video on monitor (4k, color, sound, 11:55 min), drum rack stand, metal joints, aluminium pipes, wood sticks, sand, resin, pigments, mycelium of various fungi (Tricholoma matsutake, Psathyrella ammophila), macronutrients (N, P, K, Ca), glass, laboratory clamps, 150 x 130 x 120 cm; Commissioned by Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich and YARAT Contemporary Art Space, Baku, installation view, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Potential Worlds 2: Eco-Fictions, group show, Oct 24, 2020 - Feb 21, 2021, photo: Stefan Altenburger
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Solo exhibitions

2023 –  Rehearsals for Peace (n.b.k. Berlin, upcoming)
2021 – Subnature (Trafo, Budapest)
2019 – The Driving Force of all Nature (Tobacco 001 Cultural Centre, Ljubljana); The Last Particles (40mcube, Rennes, France); What Ties Us Together (LaBF15, Lyon);
2018 – Ground Control (Centrala, Birmingham); The Call of the Outside (, Cluj, Romania)
2016 – We Only Went to NASA Together (MAK Center, Los Angeles)
2013 – Compensation for the Lack of Resources (Ivan Gallery, Bucharest)
2013 – We Were So Few and so Many of Us Are Left (, Budapest, Bucharest)
2012 – Pacta sunt Servanda, Teatru Spalatorie, Chisinau, Moldavia
2011 – Catedra de istorie temporară (Magma, Sfântu Gheorghe, Romania)

Selected group exhibitions

2023 – Chronic Desire (Corneliu Mikloși Museum, Timisoara, part of the Timisoara 2023 European Capital of Culture)

2022 – Artists’ Film International (Whitechapel Gallery, London); The cockerel with black wings: A ecovered heirloom (Das Weisse Haus, Vienna); Biennale Zielona Góra 2022: Renewal (Poland); The Taste of Water, Exhibit Gallery, ViennaTerritories of Waste (Museum Tinguely, Basel); Biennale Matter of Art (City Gallery, Prague); Weather Engines (Onassis Stegi, Athens)

2021 – Land, possessions and commons (public art project in Semmering, Austria); Slow Life. Radical Practices of the Everyday (Ludwig Muzeum, Budapest); Overview Effect (Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade); The Normal (Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh); Territories of Waste (Tinguely Museum, Basel); 39th EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial (Limerick City, Ireland)

2020 – Potential Worlds 2: Eco-Fictions (Migros Museum, Zurich); Overview Effect (Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade); No Shelter from the Storm (Belvedere 21, Vienna); Slow Life. Radical Practices of the Everyday (Ludwig Museum, Budapest)

2019 – Suoja / Shelter Festival (Helsinki); Liquid Horizons (, Bratislava); Persona (Mucem – Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, Marseilles); Ex-East. Past and recent stories of the Romanian avant-garde (Espace Niemeyer, Paris); Art Encounters Biennial (3rd edition, Timișoara, Romania, curated by Maria Lind and Anca Rujoiu); Rethinking the image of the world (MILL, La Louvière, Belgium, part of the Europalia Arts Festival Romania)

2018-2019 – Manufacturing nature / Naturalizing the synthetic (Frac des Pays de la Loire, France); MAC International Art Prize 2018 (Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, UK); Global Control and Censorship (MODEM Debrecen, Hungary); Remembering Landscape (MNAC Bucharest in cooperation with MGK – Musem für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest)

2018 – Pretty Soon if This Keeps up I’m Going to Have to Envelop the Entire Universe (GGM2, Gdańsk); Landscape that Remembers (Museum für Gegenwartskuns, Siegen, Deutschland); Travelling with a Blind Map (Kisterem Gallery, Budapest); Ozio (Teatro Ditirammu, Palermo); The Trouble with Value (Onomatopee Project Space, Eidhoven, Netherlands); How Forests Think (Vysočina Regional Gallery, Jihlava, Czech Republic)

2017 – Remastered. The Art of Appropriation (Kunsthalle, Krems); Natural Histories (MUMOK, Vienna); Fleeting Territories (Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Vienna); OFF Biennale 2 (Budapest); Life a User’s Manual (Art Encounters, Timișoara, Romania); Dreams & Dramas. Law as literature (nGbK Berlin); Universal Hospitality 2 (Meetfactory Gallery, Prague)

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2016 – The Measure of our Traveling Feet (Marres House for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht); Universal Hospitality (Wiener Festwochen, Alte Post, Vienna); Sights and Sounds: Highlights (The Jewish Museum, New York)

2015 – Global Control and Censorship (ZKM, Karlsruhe); Under the Current Circumstances (IG Bildende Kunst, Vienna); Walking without Footprints (, Bratislava); Austeria (BWA SOKOL Gallery of Contemporary Art, Nowy Sacz, Poland); Our Land/Alien Territory (special collateral event of the 6th Moscow Biennale 2015); The School of Kyiv (Kyiv Biennial 2015); Mapping Bucharest: Art, Memory, and Revolution (Vienna Biennale, MAK Vienna); Check Your Head! (Off Biennale Budapest); Embodied Resilience (, Berlin); Pocket Revolution (Korea Foundation Gallery, Seoul); Private Nationalism (Open Gallery, Bratislava)

2014 – Der Brancusi-Effekt (Kunsthalle Wien); Art Under a Dangerous Star: The Responsibilty of Art ( and Studio Gallery, Budapest); Ways of Working, According to an Office Desk (Upominki, Rotterdam); Sights and Sounds Global Film and Video (The Jewish Museum, New York); A Few Grams of Red, Yellow, Blue. New Romanian Art (CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw); Like a Bird. Avian Ecologies in Contemporary Art (, Bucharest); Private Nationalism (m21 Gallery, Zsolnay Cultural Quarter, Pécs, Hungary)

2013 – Mom, am I barbarian? (Istanbul Biennial 13); Like a Bird. Avian Ecologies in Contemporary Art (Trafo Gallery, Budapest); œconomy, an already tumultuous landscape where phantasms cross (Oberwelt, Stuttgart); Video a.i.r. (ArtPoint Gallery, Vienna); Come and go (Schweizerische Botschaft, Vienna); Measures of Saving the World (< rotor >, Graz)

2012 – Intense Proximity (La Triennale, Palais de Tokyo, Paris); Winning Hearts and Minds (lecture performance within the project conducted by Critical Art Ensemble at dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel); Global fara globalizare. De la matematica pana in China (Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest); Inexactly This (Kunstvlaai, Amsterdam); Art or Life: Aesthetics and Biopolitics (Knoll Gallery, Vienna)

2011 – Inventory (within the framework of Thessaloniki Biennale 3); BIEFF, Experimental Film Festival (Bucharest)


2022 – Birgit-Jürgenssen-Preis Winner, Vienna
2015 – Create Your Bucharest! 1st Vienna Biennale, MAK, Vienna, AT (special prize)
2012 – Henkel Art Award Romania (winners)
2012 – Henkel Art Award Central and Eastern Europe, MUMOK, Vienna, AT (nominalization)

Residencies and Scholarships:

2018Ateliers Internationaux du Frac, Frac des Pays de la Loire (France, Sept-Nov)
2017 – MeetFactory (Prague, June-August)
2015 – MAK Schindler Scholarship Program (Los Angeles, October 2015 – March 2016)
2015 – AIR Krems (Kunsthalle Krems, January-March)
2013 – KulturKontakt (Vienna, March-May)

Selected Publications, artist books and contributions:


Anca Benera & Arnold Estefán, Debrisphere, PUNCH, Bucharest, 2018, texts by: Noit Banai, Andrew Chubb, Maja and Reuben Fowkes, Hito Steyerl, Raluca Voinea, Eyal Weizman

Iulia Popovici, Raluca Voinea, Metaforă. Protest. Concept – Performance art din România și Moldova / Metaphor. Protest. Concept. Performance Art from Romania and Moldova, IDEA  Design & Print Ed., Cluj Napoca, 2017

Agnieszka Kilian, Joerg Franzbecker, Jaro Varga (eds.), Dreams & Dramas. Law as Literature, nGbK & HIT Gallery, 2017

Hou Hanru and Luigia Lonardelli (eds.),  Come Back: The World as Prison?, Mousse Publishing & MAXXI, Rome, 2017

Protocollum Magazine, Issue 2015-16 

Maja and Reuben Fowkes (eds.), Ecologies: Contemporary Art and Environmental Humanities on the Danube, Translocal Institute, Budapest, 2015

Anca Benera+Arnold Estefan (eds.), 38,88%, pplus4 Association & Ivan Gallery, Bucharest, 2014

Anca Benera+Arnold Estefan, “From object to subject”, IDEA art + society, Issue 44, 2013 (24 pages insert)

Anca Benera, Alina Șerban, București: materie și istorie. Monumentul public și distopiile lui / Bucharest: Matter & History. The public monument and its discontents (author Anca Benera), Romanian Cultural Institute Ed., Bucharest, 2011

Anca Benera+Arnold Estefan (eds.), Hard Edit. Self Publishing in Times of Freedom and Repression, Center for Visual Introspection, Bucharest, 2011