In an animation from 1967, Plimbarea Lui Esop (Aesop’s Walk), Brătescu shows Aesop making trouble in different scenarios. “Through his actions, he reveals structures of power and different kinds of imbalances,” explains Radu of the piece and Brătescu’s long-term interest in the character. “The corrupt nature of the rich, for instance, and how they undermine those less powerful than them.”
“She is very attached to Aesop, because he was a disruptor,” Radu continues. “She writes how he’s a companion in her studio, and how he pushes her to experiment because he has no boundaries, he has no limits—he is a free creature.”
Aesop is just one of the motifs that Brătescu uses throughout her work to embody the freedom and agency of the artist. In a series from 1974, magnets represent the power of creativity to affect change. In one photomontage, Magneții in Oras (Magnets in the City), a cohort of large U-shaped objects sit in the middle of a Bucharest street, disrupting the usual traffic patterns.
A corresponding text, written by Brătescu as part of the piece, describes a situation where the play of energy between them disturbs city life, but at “the same time reminds people of their own power and volition to act,” notes Radu.