The book gathers testimonies and focus on the traumatic experiences of twelve former political prisoners during the communist regime in Romania. Authored by Romanian historians Lucian Boia and Adrian Cioroianu and the Swedish theorist Tom Sandqvist the »Archive of pain« present nuanced perspectives on the Romanian Communism being among the first books dealing with this topic after 1989. The book is a part of an art project by the artists, Stefan Constantinescu, Cristi Puiu and Arina Stoenescu.

»Archive of Pain« arose from the need to try to understand the communist past of Romania and joined historic and artistic efforts from well known Romanian historians Lucian Boia and Adrian Cioroianu, the Swedish theorist Tom Sandqvist and the artists Stefan Constantinescu, Cristi Puiu and Arina Stoenescu. Lucian Boia writes an introductory text about the »Communism, a philosophy of violence« and Adrian Cioroianu contributes with texts about »A brief history of Romanian Communism, The communist party after the war, The new economic path, Towards the single party, The four aces of Romanian communism, Communist repression in Romania and The Ceausescu era« framing the historical, political, economical and social context of Romania after the communist take over until the break down of the regime. Tom Sandqvist writes in his contribution »Archive of pain, the Romanian experience« about the artistic undertake of the project and try to understand the Romanian cultural context high lighting the cultural capital, the Romanian avant-garde, magazines and manifestos, absurd sources, anti-semitism and the surrealistic communism.


Stefan Constantinescu (born 1968, Bucharest, Romania) graduated from the graphic arts department of the Bucharest Art Academy. In parallel, he studied at the Royal Art Academy of Stockholm, where he received his MFA in 1997. After he graduated special student of professor Tom Sandqvist at the Royal Art Academy of Stockholm. His activity includes many group and individual exhibitions in Romania, Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden. After painting and photoengraving, his major interest in recent years was focused on new­media. A Swedish resident since 1993, his activities include art and design.

Cristi Puiu (born 1967, Bucharest, Romania) graduated from the film production department of the Ecole Supérieure d’art visuel in Geneva in 1996, where he also took painting courses. His graduation movie 25.12.1995, Bucharest, North Station was awarded the prize for best diploma film. He participated at group and individual exhibitions in Romania and Switzerland, and produced documentary films and TV shows. He is also scriptwriter and director.

Arina Stoenescu (born 1969, Bucharest, Romania) graduated from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, where she received her MFA in 1994. Studied in Germany on an Erasmus grant. Worked with numerous exhibitions as a book designer and curator, and contributes to several Swedish publications as an illustrator. She participated at group and individual exhibitions in Sweden, Romania and Croatia. She teaches experimental typography at Beckmans Design School, and visual communication at the multimedia department of the University of Stockholm. Living in Sweden since 1987, where she works as an artist and designer.


Lucian Boia (born 1944, Bucharest, Romania) Ph.D. in history with a thesis on Transylvanian politician Eugen Brote. Professor at the History Faculty of the University of Bucharest. General Secretary and Vice-president of the International Committee for the History of Historiography, created at his own initiative. Founder and Director of the Historical Centre of the Imaginary created in 1993 at the University of Bucharest. Research interest are for example Romanian and world historiography and theoretical and methodological issues of history; the history of the imaginary—scientific, political and historical mythologies.

Adrian Cioroianu (born 1967, Craiova, Romania) graduated from the history faculty of the University of Bucharest, where he worked as an assistant lecturer, specialized in Romanian contemporary history. MA in history from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, his doctoral thesis deals with the personality cult during Ceausescu’s regime. He wrote numerous studies of the history of communism, Romanian contemporary historiography, the history of the Romanian intelligentsia, and the personality cult during the Romanian communist regime. His field of interest covers the history of European communism and the history of mentalities. He contributed also as editor of Dilema and Sfera politicii magazines, and to other Bucharest magazines: 22, Dosarele istoriei, Lettre Internationale, etc.

Tom Sandqvist (born 1954, Porvoo, Finland) graduated from the University of Helsinki. Doctor thesis on Minimalism and its theoretical background in American aesthetics in 1988 at the University of Lund. He has published several books and studies on contemporary art, philosophy, and aesthetics.