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vlad nancă works
aprox. 963 x 675 x 40 cm
200 x 200 x 300 cm
"I could have also put this text under the title On the chirality of enclosed spaces. Actually, stereochemistry, crystallography and contradiction principle gave me the proper codes in interpreting Vlad Nanca’s object. Chirality designates a chemical property of non – superimposable molecular compounds, with optical symmetry and structural similarities. Arranged in space, the compounds are situated in perfect mirroring, in a double configuration (as dual mode), but, simultaneously, oriented in opposite directions. +α | -α.
Playing furthermore with contradiction, the installation reveals its fundamental ambiguities. By definition, a chiral compound is an open, moving structure, while Vlad’s assemblage freezes a monolithic one, resembling much more to the static type in a twin crystal than to the molecular dynamics. At a first glance, we could fairly invoke stasis. In his synopsis, Vlad describes the story of two football goals, gloriously embraced in a sort of a “happy end” completely solving the clash, annihilating the game itself and annulling the very possibility of a future conflict through the metamorphosis into the peaceful skeleton of some sort of housing. But since ambiguity endlessly regulates all the transformations in meaning, the same enclosure can easily become cage, trap or prison, subsequently invalidated by the porosity of the reticulated net that launches once again the object in the middle of associative turmoil.
The continuous shift provoked on different levels of signification or taxonomic inventories (it is an object, an installation, a maquette, or an edifice) proves the need for permeable thematic readings, able to test themselves through self-suspension or antiphrasis. Shifting, opposite perspectives could explore (and I feel the need of conjuring now Walter Benjamin) both the methodological, combining potential in dialectic images that fulgurate reality, deregulate and enrich it and the metaphorical potential of so-called “thought-images”/ Denkbilder, where the narrative form conveys theoretical thinking and becomes concept.
The ambiguous object mounted by Vlad formalizes one fundamental polymorphism: as perceptual experience, through amplification at monumental scale he inverts the claustrophobic sensation and, paradoxically, expands it; as dimensional orientation when the object turns out to be a device for counting spatial articulations or pulsations, a counter of our own spatial landmarks around us and for the loss of them; as semiotic density, where the main constituents power the symbolic meaning – goal pillars, linguistic similarities, goal and competition, goal and gate inflexions, gate as passage, gate as threshold, net, blocking net, grid (in transmissions and connexions), formation grid. I believe that is this very semiotic consistency that makes that the ambiguous object “has a lot to say”, keeping itself open (and not necessarily transparent) for interwoven, interlinked analysis.
The English expression “wired grid” mobilizes again reflexive associations. I would like to mention here two famous names of historical conceptualism and minimalism, whose works could give another indentation in this constellation. Trying to test the multiple configurations of reality in its infinite deployment, Robert Smithson has verified the purity in geometric reflective structures in a well-known series inspired by optical isomers: “Enantiomorphic Chambers” (1965). My second example is taken from the canonical context of minimalism. Aspen Magazine’s minimalist number, edited by Brian O’Doherty, has published in 1967 Tony Smith’s project for “The Maze” (crisscrossing of symmetrical and square grids), where the artist imagines a genuine “labyrinth of the mind rather than a monument”, where pathways are consubstantial to the entire design, unwillingly disavowing the impossibility of objective neutrality in art object.
Mirroring the twofoldness of the goals in a perfect enantiomer, Vlad Nanca manages to detour the post-minimalist object through the kissing anecdote (a reminder of Brancusi relenting remnants in our artistic automatisms related to the gate symbolism); and he manages also to dissolve further away, with equal irony, the anecdote in contingency, since he doesn’t want to block the object in simple historiographic reading.
With its proliferating semantics, Vlad Nanca’s object becomes a “dialectic image”. It’s a new way of conceptual expression, filled with subjectivity, gathering the right amount of ambiguity under the tricky appearance of a crystalline symmetry."
with Mrs Maria Heinke
20 years after the political changes in Central and Eastern Europe, most of the countries in the region have reasons to celebrate. Romania is probably the only one that has to commemorate something, since the events that took place in late December 1989 made thousands of victims only to see the second line of the previous political power installing itself as the new government.
Vlad Nancӑ, whose works are often political, is doing a new installation as a commemoration of the bloody events from December 1989. An old lady is sitting in an armchair in the gallery space, knitting a black scarf. She started working on it in the first day of the exhibition and the plan is to continue to knit every day, her effort resulting in a lengthy scarf, some 10 meters long, enough to put around a person’s entire body. The title of the performance, Commemora illustrates the artist's wish to make a gesture of remembrance of the victims of the 1989 Romanian Revolution. During the bloody days at the end of December 1989 countless news stories were told on television. One of these was of a group of old ladies who had sent knitted socks and gloves to the soldiers guarding the national television building in Bucharest. Picking on the this story Vlad Nancӑ recreates the situation, 20 years later, with the help of Mrs Heinke, who would be “knitting the thread of recent history into a stretched black scarf”. At the end of the exhibition and of the knitting process, the artist will wrap himself in the black scarf as a gesture of commemoration and remembrance.
The Romanian Revolution of 1989 is a key moment in the country’s recent history and Vlad Nancӑ has referred to it in some previous works. For his 2005 Errorism exhibition he produced the ludic Terrorist Balloon – a black balloon resembling a person wearing a balaclava was his impression of the recent terrorism situation with the ‘War against terror’ but also a reference to the 1989 terrorists that were fighting during the hectic days of the Romanian Revolution, terrorists that were never to be found. In 2006 Nancӑ was commissioned to do a work on the celebration of 50 years of the National Television in Bucharest. He then hung up on the television building a 27 metre long banner with the sentence The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. He used Gil Scott Heron’s famous words as a comment on the authenticity of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, supposedly the first Revolution ever to be transmitted live on television. A more recent work, which is also present in this exhibition, the Revolution Book, is an artist book in which a series of details of images from the 1989 events are showing a different reading of that momentum. Taken from a photo album entitled The bloody chronicle of Bucharest during the Revolution, very small details cropped from the original photographs, are showing a distinct visual interpretation of the Revolution, focusing on less usual aspects of what the bloody Revolution was. It is a less engaged reading, more serene and rather disconnected from the emotional clutter that such a moment can provoke.
As opposed to his earlier works on the theme, Vlad Nancӑ’s latest works about the Revolution shift from being somewhat impassive, provocative and ironic, to being more sensitive, insightful and commemorative but are still questioning. As the artists puts it: “The events that took place 20 years ago in Bucharest are still to be clarified, juridical investigations are undergoing but no sign of an elucidation is to be expected any time soon. The only thing that one can do is to remember and honour the people who gave their life for freedom.”