Romania - Interviews

A Conversation with Lea Rasovszky, Artist from Romania

10 months ago

“The art scene can accommodate everyone, and diversity is a strong point as far as the Bucharest art scene is concerned. Fortunately, you can expand and do whatever comes naturally, and you can build your own way, but after a certain point, the lack of a more solid infrastructure, funding, and visibility both of exhibition spaces and especially artist-run spaces becomes obvious and pretty difficult to deal with”.

Cristina Olteanu: As an emerging artist in Bucharest, do you find your work to be influenced by the city? How well does the art scene in Bucharest accommodate emerging artists?

Lea Rasovszky: The city exerts, whether I want it to or not, a pretty big influence. The day-to-day things, the way Bucharest is so uniquely different from the rest of Europe and even Romania—especially its diversity, the cornucopia of individuals that make it up, the heavy burden of an Eastern mentality that still persists although mixed with a very European and detached one as well—certainly have an impact on my work. You can find a lot of everything here: it coexists in a natural way that’s not without a certain edge to it. That particular edge is where I get my nectar.
I tend to focus on issues that trouble me, the mismatched and dissonant… everything, things that make me rather uneasy. I use this kind of strange tension and here is where it abounds. The art scene can accommodate everyone, and diversity is a strong point as far as the Bucharest art scene is concerned. Fortunately, you can expand and do whatever comes naturally, and you can build your own way, but after a certain point, however, the lack of a more solid infrastructure, funding, and visibility both of exhibition spaces and especially artist-run spaces becomes obvious and pretty difficult to deal with.

C.O.: You work with very different media: drawing, painting, installation, and recently sculpture. What would you define as being the common denominator of your work?

L.R.: I immensely enjoy this variety of media. They are my way of sorting out how I feel about certain things. I see them as strategies for dealing with the subject matter that takes over my inner workings. I have realised that each particular issue needs a different approach and a certain type of energy when it has to be translated into a visual form. I would say that the common element is my very subjective angle and steadily unorthodox approach to almost everything, as well as specific colours, angles, a particular blackness of the nostrils and mouths.

C.O.: How important is international recognition for you, and how likely do you think it is that an emerging Romanian artist will succeed on the international market?

L.R.: It’s always nice to feel that things you do are well received and that your works find their way through the art circuit in a constructive and natural manner. However, the market is something I have a hard time relating to when it becomes too much about market and too little about the simple and magnetic energy that is art. I feel it to be very distant from my own private reasons for being here and doing this, right at this very moment. I think every good and constant artist has a chance of doing good and even great things, as long as they are selective and true to their… I would like to say vocation, but I will call it drive. The decisive factor is fairness and a mind firmly focused on the really important aspects of your process. The rest follows. Don’t worry about it.

C.O.: You come from a family of artists. What would you consider to be the main differences between the artistic scene of your generation and that of your parents?

L.R.: Openness and opportunity are becoming common features, and I think that’s a sign of health in the art world. This type of atmosphere was a rarity in my parents’ generation. 
You can breathe and you can go to places. You can exteriorise your every thought, and constriction is becoming extinct. My generation has many strategies for making it work despite the difficulties, of which there are certainly still quite a lot. That being said, with freedom and assertiveness on your side there are no real barriers left.
Every generation has had interesting artists, but not many were seen because of the core mentality connected with the regime. This sort of invisibility by default and not by choice was very harmful and led to stagnation, to say the least. I think many interesting artists are completely lost to memory now.

C.O.: If I had only half a day to spare in Bucharest on my first trip there, where would you take me so that I could get an impression of the contemporary art scene in Romania?

L.R.: This is a good chance to see a fresh and vibrant scene as it unfolds, and one day would certainly not be enough. For true hard-core art lovers, I would suggest some artist’s studios: that’s where I would take you to get a real feel of how art is being made, how a studio is the core of the process, how artworks fit into it, some finished, some in progress. Not all artists exhibit, and those who do are not always doing so in commercial galleries, so I would suggest a more ground-level approach: see who is making art first, and then where.

Donatella Taranto

  • Lea Rasovszky. Courtesy of the artist Lea Rasovszky. Courtesy of the artist
  • Lea Rasovszky, One Tone Pom-Pom (Primary Nation), 2013 Lea Rasovszky, One Tone Pom-Pom (Primary Nation), 2013
  • Lea Rasovszky, Parizer Baby, 2015 Lea Rasovszky, Parizer Baby, 2015