Exhibition / Upcoming

Anton Roland Laub: Mobile Churches in Ceausescu’s Bucharest

Anton Roland Laub, Annunciation Church of the “Retreat of the Nuns”, Mobile Churches, 2013–2017, archival pigment print on fine art Baryta paper, Bucharest
Courtesy of the artist

April 26, 2025 to October 19, 2025
The Wende Museum

Bucharest in the 1980s. Ceaușescu’s “systematization” program is in full swing in the Romanian capital: one-third of the historic center is being wiped out to make room for the megalomaniacal Peoples House and create large avenues for official parades. When completed shortly before the fall of the Ceaușescu regime in 1989, this demolition program is said to have caused the largest peacetime destruction in the history of Europe. 

Ceaușescu is particularly ruthless in his treatment of religious sites. Nevertheless, seven churches are spared and subjected to a process as incredible as it is absurd: they are lifted and placed on rails, then moved and hidden behind housing blocks, while several other sacred buildings, such as the Polish Synagogue, are surrounded and thus masked by imposing panel buildings. Withdrawn from the cityscape, isolated in the interstices of the disparate architecture that shapes Bucharest’s urban landscape today, they lead secret lives, precariously harboring unresolved memories. 

Combining recent photographs by the artist with archival material, Mobile Churches is a critical and artistic inventory that aims to reveal a dramatic and little-known chapter in the urban and political evolution of the Eastern Bloc.

After numerous exhibitions in Europe, Mobile Churches is now being presented for the first time in the United States by the Wende Museum. This sequence constitutes part one in a trilogy of works by Laub (2013-17), followed by Last Christmas (of Ceaușescu) (2015-20) and Mineriada (2014-22). All three series were published as books by Kehrer Verlag (Heidelberg).

Guest-curated by Sonia Voss, independent curator. 

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