- 14:00 - Deschidere
- 00:00 - Inchidere
Vlad Nancă Vizaviz curated by Jonatan Habib Engqvist With works spanning the past two decades, Vlad Nanca´s reoccurring use of grids, ceramic tiles, houseplants, mirrors and slightly distorted vernacular objects from Socialist Romania will set numerous layers of history and materiality in motion. In this juncture between abstract and concrete, between reflection and landscape, memory and construct, the exhibition is at once referencing utopian architects like Italian Superstudio and their continuous grid, ideas of flat earth maps, as well as predefined notions of the former East and the former West. A reoccurring organisational principle in Nanca’s practice is the grid. It is a system, which in itself may signify the way things are organised – as it is a construction of, and by, architectural determinism, imposed through governance and planning. And ever since early Modernity the grid has epitomized the way we treat the landscape. Above all it becomes clear in Nanca’s work that the grid is a form of conceptual speculation: indifferent to topography, to what actually can be seen, it claims the supremacy of abstract constructions over reality. So what happens when the grid itself becomes the topos? Somehow the term “vis-à-vis” signifies an era, a moment, a series of events where the grid was well defined and cultural identity could be justified ”in comparison with” or ”in relation to” a defined other. There is definitely a lot of sampling and juxtaposing going on in the exhibition – from architectural references to social signifiers. But there are very few instructions. In the 2001 video installation “Swing me” we are forced to constantly readjust our optics and handle a sensation of warped gravity. In a large ceramic map that has been produced for this exhibition there is no text, no nomenclature. It is merely the glazing of the handmade tiles that suggests any difference between bodies of land and the sea. Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 map, which is the point of departure for Nanca, was in fact the first map to name ”America” in honour of Amerigo Vespucci (the first European to concretely prove that the ”New World” was not Asia's eastern outskirts as Columbus first thought). Nancă’s work brings to mind a famous and doubtlessly problematic line from Oscar Wilde’s pamphlet Man under Socialism: “A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail.” written by Jonatan Habib Engqvist BIOs Vlad Nancă graduated from the Department of Photography and Moving Image at the National University of Arts, Bucharest, Romania. His early works employ political and cultural symbols, evoked nostalgia and investigate the tension between public and domestic spaces, all against the backdrop of Romania and Eastern Europe’s recent history and aggressive capitalism in the early 2000s. His current body of works examines the notion of space (from architecture and public space to outer space) through forging constellations of subjectivities, sculptures and installations. A speculative context was emphasised in “Souvenirs from Earth” (2015) and more recently in “In the Natural Landscape the Human is an Intruder” (2018). His current exhibition “The City and the City” (2019) is on view at Kvost – Kunstverein Ost in Berlin after his artist residency there. Jonatan Habib Engqvist is a curator and writer with a background in Philosophy and Aesthetic theory. Curator of the VR Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale and artistic director of New Småland together with Mike Bode (2016-2020). Engqvist manages Curatorial Residency In Stockholm and is editor in mischief of the online journal tsnoK.se. He has previously curated a number of international biennales and festivals including Survival Kit 9 in Riga, Latvia; Sinopale 6, Sinop, Turkey (2017) and the 8th Momentum biennale in Moss, Norway (2015). Formerly project manager for visual art at Iaspis (2009-2014) and curator at Moderna Museet (2008-09). To name just a few of his book contributions: Big Dig ¬– Om passivitet och samtidskonst, 2018; Studio Talks: Thinking Through Painting, 2014; Work, Work, Work – A Reader on Art and Labour, 2012.