The White Team (Satan)
Alongside Christian rituals, the Romanian peasant preserved in time numerous pagan rites dating back from a sacred time when supernatural events and forces were part of daily life. Those who performed these rituals, usually young lads, would hide their identity under spectacular masks and costumes made by the village craftsmen. Embodying the bridge between human (earth) and supernatural (heaven), masks were bearers of supernatural forces and therefore an important part in the organization of village time. They appeared in the marking of events – births, marriages, burials or the passing of seasons. Devils were among the creatures that populated the rural mythological universe, as well as bear leaders, pigs, emperors, gypsies, shepherds, old men and hags.
Nowadays, most of these traditions had gone. The Romanian village is no longer what it used to be 200 years ago. Masks are made for tourists in exotic and grating colors. Their primordial symbolism and functionality were almost completely lost. In my work I attempted to recuperate this lost magic, nevertheless not by going back, but by pushing things much further on, into the future.

Cuckoos’s Day (the Gate)
Cuckoos’ Day is a pagan holiday in which masked lads allow spirits to manifest themselves freely in the village throughout a day, in order to stimulate a better crop, to have healthier animals and to protect people against bad luck. During this day, the masked men have the permission to perform various destructive actions - bring down gates, club animals, set haystacks alight, etc. The image on the white plastic bas-relief is inspired by a photo of such a young man who, tired, raised his mask on the forehead during a cigarette break. The gesture also illustrates how seriously these rituals are taken nowadays.

Lower Limb
Cast in concrete, the Lower Limb is an anatomical hybrid that suggests distant times when such large animals might have freely roamed the earth. It also points towards a possible future, in which genetic developments could create such an over endowed animal. The pedestal comes from this possible scientific future. The wool tassels hanging on the leg remind one of the oversized red tassels still used in decorating people disguised as bears during Romanian folklore Christmas rituals.

Carpathian Mountains
If I were to describe with a single colour the geography of Romanian rural space, it would certainly be the brown shade I used in the Carpathian Mountains painting. The paint was laid on the canvas the way you spread butter on a slice of fresh bread. The frame is carved in wood with geometrical reliefs. The canvas also functions as a mirror, reflecting the wall in front of it, painted in the same brown shade. Without a title, the work could be a representation of anything. It can also be read as an ironical take on the exotic perception of the Transylvanian realm, with its mysterious woods giving birth to Dracula-like myths.

The stove in the traditional Romanian houses used to have multiple functions: people cooked on it, dried clothes or cheese above it, slept on it during winters, etc. Its form made me think of Zaha Hadid’s organic living spaces, those one-piece furniture made out of single pieces of material molded so as to correspond to each object: chair, table, bed, ceiling.
The wood plates are bought from an antiques fair in Bucharest. The two pieces of stamped cheese stamped with archaic motifs and signs are cast in bronze and gilded. For me, as a child during communist times, the golden corn ears will always remain part of the symbols on the coat of arms of the Socialist Republic of Romania.

Made out of a hazelnut branch whose tip is sharpen like an oversized pencil and decorated with folklore symbols. At first sight, the tip of the branch could be easily overlooked. One must bend to notice it.

Birdman (Positive & Negative Ring)
In the Romanian folklore imaginary, the bird is the symbol of elevation and ascension. Through flight, it can transcend reality and gain access to the world of ghosts. That is why the village shamans were considered to be part of the bird world. The diagram of the Negative and Positive Ring describes the relation between past, present and future and the positioning of the shaman in this relation.

Graffiti (Orthodox)
This piece is made of three wood panels reminding one of the triptych of orthodox icons. The dancer participating in a pagan ritual is carved in wood, so as to make the grain visible.
The Romanian peasant, in spite of church’s condemnation, kept their old, pagan and in many respects pantheistic faith. In blue spray, there are old Cyrillic signs usually found on a religious stamp: the triangle symbolizes the Virgin Mary, ICXC and NIKA mean Jesus Christ unique and immortal, the nine triangles represent the nine martyrs.
In this work I imagined a reversed vandalism, with the church grafitting a Romanian pagan rite.

acrylic on canvas, sculpted wood frame