INTERVIEW WITH VLAD NANCĂ
CONSTRUCTING NOSTALGIA

“Every generation constructs a nostalgia for two or three generations behind.” We followed Vlad Nancă for a few cold days of November, visiting the last days of his solo exhibition “Vis-à-Vis” at Suprainfinit Gallery, the intimate space of his beautiful home, as well as his childhood apartment and the neighbourhood where he grew up: Drumul Taberei.

“Every generation constructs a nostalgia for two or three generations behind.” Born and currently based in Bucharest, Vlad Nancă has been working with different media for the past two decades, being one of the most representative contemporary artists of the Romanian scene. He constantly embarks on never-ending personal quests seeking to trace and recreate lost memories, as well as to critically tackle political and cultural semiotics that govern his everyday. There is a lot of digging and researching in Vlad Nancă’s practice—a foundational component is his ability to find novelty where no one expects it, to excavate meaning and various forms of inspiration in a sort of archaeological mining into the realm of collective nostalgia. Although his search remains a personal striving—one that is self-referential and almost autobiographical—, its relatability to anyone who remembers the 1980s and has lived through the long 1990s cannot be questioned. Through a very recognisable imaginary, Vlad Nancă’s works are both engaging and yet somehow always familiar: although recognisable, his universe is never monotonous; although relatable, his world feels alive. His microcosm inhabits you and you end up inhabiting it invariably.

We followed him for a few cold days of November, visiting the last days of his solo exhibition “Vis-à-Vis” at Suprainfinit Gallery, the intimate space of his beautiful home, as well as his childhood apartment and the neighbourhood where he grew up: Drumul Taberei. We spoke about architectural grids, nostalgia and lost memories, intimate spaces, decorative objects and memorabilia, flea markets, Bucharest as an idiosyncratic post-socialist city that we all love to hate, Eastern Europe and its historical influences, and the endless transition toward a local version of capitalism.

This is the first piece out of a series of five videos, called “Mapping Grounds.” The series celebrates key Romanian cultural actors in the context of three decades since the fall of the communist regime.

A video made by Carnation
Direction & Edit: Raya Al Souliman
Cinematography & Colour Grading: Horațiu Șovăială
Sound Recordist & Sound Design: Laurențiu Coțac

Massive thanks to everyone involved in making this happen: Vlad Nancă, Suprainfinit Gallery, Carnation Studio, Horațiu Șovăială, Raya Al Souliman, Laurențiu Coțac, Paul Negoescu, Ana Drăghici, and the Administration of the National Cultural Fund of Romania.

Cultural project co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN). The project does not necessarily represent the position of the AFCN. The AFCN is not to be held responsible for the content of the project, nor for the ways in which the results of the project might be used. Those are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the grant.