Issue #17, 2004

Vlad Nancă: “Do not know what union I want to be in anymore“
Erden Kosova

Vlad Nancă – born 1979, lives and works in Bucharest.

Solo exhibitions: 2003 November “Vlad Nanca lives and works in Romania”, 2020 Gallery, Bucharest; 2003 March “Down to Earth” CIRKUS Gallery, SKC, Belgrade, Serbia; 2002 “Framing Huesca”, Huesca, Spain; 2001 “Swing Me”, Oxford, England. Group Exhibitions: 2003 “Preview”, KML MNAC, Bucharest; 2003 “343” Galeria Gallery, Bucharest; 2001 “11 Young Photographers”, New Gallery, Bucharest; 2000 – “Generation 2000 in Romanian Photography”, ICCA Bucharest.


Erden Kosova is an art critic and curator based in Istanbul and London. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Goldsmiths College University of London, where he is also a visiting tutor. He has lectured on contemporary Turkish art in Graz, Frankfurt, Kassel, Stockholm, Belgrade and Zagreb, among other places. He has co-curated the exhibitions “Walking Istanbul”, “Notes from the Quarantine” (Israeli Digital Art Centre, Holon, 2003), “Speculations I” (Platform Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, 2002) and “Suddenly the Turks II” (New Art Museum Istanbul, 2001).



Vlad Nancă is one of the key figures in the young art scene in Romania who step beyond the constraints of strictly individualised art production in favour of a search for an artistic togetherness, a space for a new generation’s enunciation. The effort of coming together and reflecting upon shared living conditions and the possibilities for alternative exhibiting projects and collaborations has also left a mark on the content of works of Nancă’s generation. The “non-identitarian” character of the art practice in Romania during the nineties is apparently being replaced by an emerging tendency towards re-approaching social issues on local, national and global scales. Nancă’s recent works dealing with figurations of national identity in Romania have been the most prominent examples of that shift.

One of these works, The Flags, illustrates the confusion on the continuities and ruptures between Romanian near past and future. The dizzying shift between the two, once warring ideological continents, the state-communism of Eastern Europe and liberal social democracy of Western Europe is being represented in that piece by two flags. One of them bares the sickle and hammer combination used by the USSR and the other has the circular twelve stars of the EU on it. Will the latter truly replace the former? Is the EU-membership really the only viable alternative for Romania-in-transition still trying to heal the traumas of its nightmarish past? Does the coercive reformatting  of the country somehow reiterate the over-regulations of bureau communism? Nancă’s sardonic swap between the colours of the two flags (blue & yellow USSR flag and red & yellow EU flag) points at that confusion among the Romanian minds in regard to their national identity through the graphic split of the national tricolour into the insignia of two trans-national entities.

The Flags was first displayed in an one-day apartment-exhibition held in Nancă’s flat, which enhanced the sense of the artist’s situatedness within the social context surrounding him, as performed in the other pieces of the show -and of course, in the title of the whole event: Vlad Nancă, lives and works in Bucharest.