Memorial of Rebirth
The Memorial of Rebirth (Memorialul Renaşterii in Romanian) is a memorial in Bucharest, Romania that commemorates the struggles and victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which overthrew Communism. The memorial complex was inaugurated in August 2005 in Revolution Square, where Romania's Communist-era dictator, Nicolae Ceauşescu, was publicly overthrown in December 1989.
The memorial, designed by Alexandru Ghilduş, features as its centrepiece a 25-metre-high marble pillar reaching up to the sky, upon which a metal "crown" is placed. The pillar is surrounded by a 600 m² plaza covered by marble and granite.
The memorial cost 5.6 million lei (RON 5.6 million, ROL 56 billion, approximately €1.5 million). Its initial name was "Eternal Glory to the Heroes and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989" (Glorie Eternă Eroilor şi Revoluţiei Române din Decembrie 1989). The memorial's name alludes to Romania's rebirth as a nation after the collapse of Communism.
Despite a commonly acknowledged need for a memorial commemorating Romania's 1989 revolution, the monument sparked a significant amount of controversy when it was inaugurated in 2005, mainly to do with its design. Many artists stated that the memorial, especially its central pillar, was devoid of any symbolism, being too abstract, and thus didn't adequately represent the suffering and magnitude of the 1989 revolution, which claimed around 1,500 lives.
Others stated that they personally didn't like the aesthetics of the design; the mayor of Bucharest, Adriean Videanu, stated, "It's a question of taste. I personally don't like it. I don't understand its symbolism." There was also controversy because the designer, Ghilduş, was an applied artist, designing objects like chairs and lamps, rather than a sculptor.
The art critic Mihai Oroveanu said, "[Alexandru Ghilduş] doesn't have the qualifications to undertake such a work, since he is a designer, not a sculptor". The Memorial of Rebirth has been described as "a potato skewered on a stake", an "olive on a toothpick", "the potato of the revolution" and "the vector with the crown".
The placement of the memorial was also criticized and the Urbanism Committees of both the 3rd Sector and of Bucharest rejected the design, but their role is officially only as consultants and the memorial was erected anyway.
Owing to its relative unpopularity, the monument is guarded round-the-clock. Despite this, on the night of 12 May 2006, it was vandalized with a stencil graffiti figure representing the fictional revolutionary character "V" on the side facing the National Museum of Art.
In 2012 the monument was defaced a second time with a splash of bright red paint that was delivered just at the bottom of the monument's "potato" by an unknown person. This caused the monument to look as though it is bleeding. The paint is so inaccessibly high that it has remained in place since it was placed there.
- Jim Cunningham (3 September 2013). "Pittsburgh Romanian Rhapsody".
- Radu Crivat, Memorialul Renasterii – Inaugurare cu VIP-uri Memorial of Rebirth – Inauguration with VIPs, article in Jurnalul Naţional (in Romanian). Date unknown, accessed 10 Dec 2005.
- „Memorialul Renasterii“, ce oribilitate! ("The Monument of Rebirth – how horrible!"), Editorial, Săptămâna Financiară, August 2005. Accessed 25 September 2006. (Romanian) This lists the nicknames mentioned in the article (and quite a few more).
- Gabriela Lupu, "Regele Carol I, vecin cu ţeapă lui Ghildus", ("Carol I, neighbor of Ghilduş's spike"), article in Cotidianul' (in Romanian); undated, appears to be no later than 1 Dec 2005.
- "Un bibelou deloc amabil", "Not at all a likable knick-knack", article in Editura Polirom Suplimentul de cultură 30 April-6 May 2005 (in Romanian).
- "„Ţepuşa cu cartof” vandalizată de graff-eri", article in Gândul, 13 May 2006