vlad nancă works


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rearranged 1960's wall lights

Backgammon chair



 after Ana Lupas

With sound by Sillyconductor
wood frames, cotton textile, sound
approx 1200 x 300 x 200 cm


Pentru Ioana

trestles, table top, candles

To the memory of Ioana Nemes [1979 - 2011]


bricks, mortar, ficus plants
aprox. 963 x 675 x 40 cm

[Frunza (Rom. word for "the leaf") is an installation inspired by a children's game from 1980's Romania. The construction follows the shape of the game in which two teams had as a goal conquering the furthest corner of the opposite side. The shape was drawn by chalk on the tarmac of the streets in different towns in Romania... The game was rather physical, with lots of pushing and pulling involved, quite often with children getting minor injuries. 
The lines of the game shape are elevated into a small height wall, giving you the feel of an abandoned foundation of  building, a possible urban garden, an apparently simple but intricate construction with a vague and difficult to identify purpose]


cotton motorcycle cover, fans

Flower pots

hand painted ceramic pots, indoor plants


Tripod on wheels
cherry wood, steel wheels
95 x 40 x 40 cm

birch  wood
150 x 75 x 75 cm

740 x 100 x 14 cm

Box on wheels with corrugated pipes
wood, metallic wheels, corrugated pipe

plastic and metallic funnels
dimensions variable  

Concrete bag on wheels
aprox 60 x 40 x 23 cm

 View of the exhibition

View of the exhibition

From the early stages of his artistic production, Vlad Nancă has been taking photos of urban absurdities he was coming across on the streets of Bucharest. In these series, one may take notice of the ways the inhabitants of the city react to the lack or withdrawal of municipal infrastructure and regulations. Their petty solutions, inventions and interventions come out, at times, as surprisingly pragmatic and wise, and sometimes - amusingly silly. Humor comes naturally out of these examples of quotidian-engineering-narratives that oscillate between a yearning for sound regulation of urban space by official authorities and the pursuit of personal liberties.

A recent set of photographic images that Nancă produced for the purpose of studying the dynamics of actual urban situation in the city informs the conceptual framework of his forthcoming solo exhibition at Sabot. They slightly depart from the earlier photographic series by concentrating on a specific topic and choosing critically one particular side of the aforementioned oscillation, which actually forms basic positions of the political field. These photographs depict constellations of daily objects (metal portals brought from construction sites, wooden beams and tripods, iron chains, piled trash and warning ribbons) installed by those who claim parking spots on the streets. These artefacts are left on these parking lots (mostly in front of constructions sites of new housings) to keep others from parking their cars there. Contrasting with their sympathetic clumsiness, these obstructions are brought together by Nancă in order to highlight the erosion of the sense of collectivity and public space. Rather than being innocent examples of pursuit of personal liberties, they appear to be temporary occupations of portions of space that are designated for the indiscriminate use of all citizens. As side products of the recent boom of construction sites throughout the city, they recklessly harm the rhythm of urban flux and illustrate the new dynamics of social life: selfishness and greed.
The tension between the senses of sharing and greed, between collective property and capitalist individualism (with unspecified hints at the political shift in the region's recent past) determines the relationship between the objects of Nancă's solo exhibition. The large wooden box, the central piece of the show, can be conceived as a figuration of Bucharest's current transformation: spatial domination (resonating the scale of ongoing construction projects), luxurious and minimalist outlook (befitting to the aesthetics of contemporary entrepreneurship) and -contrasting with this glossy texture through the awkward appearance of the plastic tubes popping out from the top of the box- dynamism that fails to deliver a sense of completion. The visual and semantic discrepancy between the bulky volume of the wooden box and the sense of mobility implicated by small wheels attached at the base, is repeated in another object of the exhibition: a wheeled bag of cement. As the artist explains, the object is set to represent the promotion of private ownership of automobiles, which -in the times of urban congestion- comes to represent urban annoyance and temporal inefficiency, rather than personal liberties and speed, as it did in the past. Wooden portals and tripods installed at the show illustrate Nancă's ironic gesture to 'squat' the gallery space, just as the objects of obstruction on the streets confiscate portions of the public space.

All these references to the spatial outcomes of intensifying capitalism come in contrast with two other objects. A collection of funnels of different sizes and colours, spread onto the ground of the gallery, interrupts the stylish furniture aesthetics that defines the other objects of the exhibition. The sense of cheapness displayed by means of their plastic surfaces speak of those excluded from the benefits of economic boom and, furthermore, of the aesthetics of the nouveau riche. What the funnel represents is the times and situations of scarcity, and the transference of limited resources from one household to the other. It is an object of frugality and solidarity. The second element that refers to the disprivileged is the disproportionately elongated mattress lying on the gallery ground. Its length of seven meter clearly deviates from the standard king-size bed. It evokes nitty-gritty of sharing house with at least a dozen others. Its industrial appearance brings to mind the cabins arranged for workers, those invisible actors of the construction boom poignantly contrasting with the sense of personal or familial privacy that had been originally promised.

Vlad Nancă's recent works disclose a distinct interest in objecthood of the exhibits and sculptural forms, sometimes with direct references to the minimalist legacy. Yet, this aestheticism does not convey a withdrawal from the social. The objects he employs and reconstructs are either modelled from objects of the quotidian life or taken in fully as ready-mades -a strategy, which allows Nancă to construct networks of meaning through the social codes these objects harbor. (Erden Kosova)

[find here a pdf version of the publication that accompanied this exhibition]
[find here some images of objects that inspired some of the works in the exhibition]

The End

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."

Mica Gherghescu


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.”


with Nona Inescu


[photograph by Tudor Prisacariu]


fire wood, gold leaf
dimensions variable


artist book



blanket, B&W tv set
dimensions variable


porcelain animal figurines placed in order of height
dimensions variable


Byzantine icon, hidden tears mechanism

Funeral Wreaths

with Mircea Nicolae

Chisinau, 2008

[Two funeral wreaths (80 x 60 cm, blue / yellow / red paper flowers, plastic thread) worn as backpacks between the statue of Stephen the Great in the proximity of the Republic of Moldova Government building, Lenin’s statue from the Moldexpo Park and the empty pedestal of a monument that was being restored in front of the History Museum in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

This action makes an ironic re-evaluation of the ceremonial pilgrimage towards the places consecrated by public monuments. The authors also question the ritual gesture of placing flowers in front of these monuments. The overall intention is to underline the construct that lies behind the visual discourse specific to this means of communication through the use of which the political power shapes the collective consciousness of the population. The ritual set of gestures that these places imply, as well as the presumed adhesion of the viewer to this pre-defined set of gestures are also underlined. By wearing the funeral wreaths as backpacks of potential tourists, the possibility of an irreverent pilgrimage is created, one that can deconstruct the conventional gestures associated with this behavior, thus questioning the values that these places of memory communicate to the viewer.

It is important to point out the fact that Lenin’s statue from the Moldexpo Park was removed from its original location in front of the Republic of Moldova Government building, where it stood during the Soviet period. Also, the statue of Stephen the Great was installed in a series of successive locations. Some of the displacements were due to the symbolic conflict between Soviet ideology embodied in Lenin’s statue, and Moldavian nationalist ideology. The last location of this action – the empty pedestal of the monument that is currently being restored in front of the History Museum – underlines the following observation: public monuments aim at rendering eternal a set of chosen collective symbols and values, but the statues themselves are temporary, mobile and unstable within the built space of the city. They are also continuously re-shaped and re-placed by the political power and by its ideological messages that it wishes to communicate to the population.

The action took place one day after the Independence Day of the Republic of Moldova and four days after the commemoration of Moldavia’s liberation by the Soviet Army. This was a moment when these ceremonial gestures reached their highest frequency within public space.]