Ovidiu Leuce

What are your sources and themes?

I have compiled an archive of photos and objects over time that I use as a starting point. At the beginning, I was particularly interested in images related to the Romanian community in Italy, but now the selection is wider, magazines, books or the Cluj flea market, the Oser. But I try to use this accumulation differently, from project to project, so as not to repeat the same formal solutions.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have just resumed ceramics. Although I have graduated from Ceramics at the Cluj University, for a long time mainly I worked on paintings. Now I develop some projects in both fields, it’s fascinating to see how matter has the ability to change an intention or to emphasize its strength. My ceramics is actually born from painting, as a possibility to expand the space of painting.

Techniques: stolen, learned, applied? How important is it today to master them?

A little bit of everything… But artists have always used technique to reach an objective, to mold a discourse. I think it’s the same today. In painting, drawing or anything else, whenever technique is just a useless virtuosity, it doesn’t help much, it can even act as a trap. Works whose only intention is technique can “steal the eye,” but all in all they are boring. Personally I prefer works in which technique, if any, is not immediately exposed.

How about of intention, planning, execution, and final work?

It is quite difficult to predict what will happen, what will the final outcome of a project or a work be. Most of the time, working and experimenting, ideas get complicated with a lot of other data and information and then one needs to simplify. I often paint over old works, I recompose them, lay them apart, stratify them, until at some point they start to “work”. I use the same process for ceramics, many pieces are collages with fragments from other works and objects from around me. Sometimes I like the work as it first turns out and I leave it like that, but that’s rare.

How do you put yourself in the state of doing in moments of no inspiration?

I’m not waiting for inspiration to come, I prefer a certain discipline when I work, I like the daily routine of the workshop. Work remains the best vehicle to welcome surprise.

Tell me three artists you like, who motivate you and make you work.

Usually, a good exhibition or a work that I like fills me with energy, regardless of the artist. And I prefer different artistic worlds, sometimes closer to my weaknesses than to what I do. But to limit myself to some of the contemporary artists, I envy the ability to “resist” of an artist like Louise Bourgeois, I admire Gerhard Richter’s methodical frame of mind, I am fascinated by Franz West’ freedom of mind, I’m drawn to the light in the works of Alfredo Pirri, I often reread interviews with Jannis Kounnelis, and the huge paintings of Mario Schifano always give me energy to (re) start painting and (re) think painting.

What do you think about the local art community, how do you relate to it?

In Cluj have worked, even during communist times, artists like Ana Lupas, Corneliu Brudaşcu or Eugenia Pop… to mention only a few; Cluj has always been a lively city where good things happened. This moment is, I believe, a continuation of this tradition. I returned from Rome last year, where I had lived for almost twelve years, and I love what’s going on here; I am less interested in economic logic, “fashionable” aspects or local pride, they are everywhere, I prefer to take some of the effervescence and the desire to “do” of the entire community, not just of the art scene. Of course there is much to say about the lack of structures to support this community, especially the fact that there is no museum of contemporary art, but I hope that these issues will be solved step by step.

How do you relate to the international artistic context?

The division between the global art system and the personal poetic space is fragile. All of us, artists, curators, gallery owners or collectors, we move between large and small systems, this is inevitable, but the more complex the system becomes and the more complicated relationships are, the more I think the artist should turn his attention in some other direction.