Lavinia Crețu / Sibiu

We just got a new little quarantine diary! From Sibiu, talking with artist Lavinia Crețu: What are you working on right now? 

I work on a series of texts, „I want my time”. This is how my last work was called, exhibited in March in a group exhibition – a marker drawing. The texts are short, more like some contemporary haiku, about personal perception of time, isolation, divided, shared things, exile plan, intentions, expectations… At the same time I am making drawings for a new series: „Serenity. Fluidity. Abundance.” The title of the series was again the title of a drawing made last year. I reuse older images and ideas, those in which I find a certain mental comfort.

What are your themes and resources?

In the past year I have worked simultaneously on several new series of drawings and texts: „Are we there yet?”, „Pandacat”, ”The duct-taped pages” and an exhibition project „The Price of Freedom”, which due to the new situation, has been rescheduled for 2021. Overall, these are series about nature, psychological resilience, way of thinking and behavioral evolution.

Do you prefer a certain color?

I often work monochrome, black and white. I focus on drawing, lines, shapes, synthesized gesture, the way in which, with the economy of means, I can express more. In nature I let myself get absorbed by the abundance of color. Sometimes I try to put what has been strongly impregnated on my retina into my works too.

Techniques: stolen, learned, ignored? How important is it for you to master them?

I think it’s important to assimilate quite a few techniques in the initiation process. The way to find your own path is way more easy-focused by already stylizing your knowledge or by ditching what you think you don’t need after following the experiment.

Is there a recurring element / symbol / theme in your work?

Characters with vegetation on their heads, a series started in 2007. Over time there have been roots, bushes, branches, or flowers. The idea of nature-man re-closeness, the way we restore the image of nature in us.

In what way isolation changed your daily routine ? Have your thinking patterns changed?

The lack of phisycal activity in nature, in the sun, I completely missed it during these 2 months. It’s the way I keep myself both physically and mentally in optimal levels. I had a little more time to plan projects, works. A little more than when I divided my time between the studio, school and family.

Where did you worked during this period? Does your art depend on the space you work in?

I worked in the same place as before. The corner of my room where I placed my easel, the desk and one shelf with work tools. Or on the open corridor on warmer days.

The corner of my room narrows me down more to drawings, odorless techniques, medium sizes.

Give us 3 artists that you like and motivate you.

In each new period I discover other artists, and then I find myself not liking some of the others anymore. There are, however, a few that I still like ever since college: Jenny Holzer, Tony Bevan, Joseph Beuys.

How do you motivate yourself to do in moments of no “inspiration”?

I reread notes. I usually write ideas about various topics. Until a few years ago, I had diaries, notebooks, files with various documentations. Now I am confining myself to the ones on the phone which I archive. I can associate photos, links to them. I can get back to them. They are easier to read. There I keep the plans and information about the already done works. It’s all about saving on other devices on a regular basis too.

Are there things you don't want to reveal about your art? 

There are some works that I cannot exhibit „in progress”.

Is there data in your biography that influenced your journey?

The fact that our little one (3 years old) came into the family, oriented me towards managing time more efficiently, the techniques, the speed of execution, the way of planning the works and, basically, all the daily activities. I need to be able to disconnect myself from work at any moment so I can take care of her. While I deal with anything else that does not require increased concentration, I try to write down the ideas about the project I am working on. My phone is always at hand. Whenever I have some spare time, I go straight to the practical work. Although I often feel sorry that I have to interrupt everything the moment I get into the flow, overall I find that I don’t work much less than before when I could set aside many hours in a row. The fact that I have so little available time constantly, always keeps me connected to priorities and therefore I can juggle between many situations, as long as I make a plan and I am flexible.

How do you relate to the international artistic context?

Together with our colleagues from Nostru group, we took an activist role. Our exhibitions of a few hours were more of a revolt to the fact that there are so few formal spaces of visual art in the city. Over time we have organized and participated in group exhibitions with local artists, exhibitions whose specific purpose was to draw attention to this community from Sibiu, to its needs and conditions in which it carries out its activity, to the lack of adequate spaces and structures which facilitate the development of this art segment in the city.

How does your work reach the "world" during this period?

I sometimes post on social media, which makes establishing new relations easier. Other times I write projects and applications for open calls.