Interview: Otilia Iliescu
Luca Curci talks with Otilia Iliescu during Venice International Art Fair 2021 at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space
“I can not remember a time when I was not interested in painting, but I took it more seriously at the age of 13 when I went from door to door asking painters from my hometown to teach me what they knew. At the time, I thought art was among the hardest domains one could approach. Soon, I realized it is so much about starting a conversation as it is about passion. It becomes a natural state of mind with time. My art does not have a specific subject to revolve around. I enjoy playing in a more reliant manner with subjects, techniques and materials. Although it might not have a meeting point in terms of themes, what connects the pieces is how they reflect perspectives and moments that viewers can reflect upon. No matter the feeling you transmit as an artist, make it powerful enough to be felt well.”
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Otilia Iliescu – Art is something with a great non-tangible effect on people. Art is hard to define the concept. I do not think I am capable of explaining it to myself many times. Although, the first thought when I read the question went to one of my teachers who said that art should be a great conversation starter. I do consider as well that art should be a starter for many great things, but especially for great conversations.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
OI – I do not recall an exact line of memories that lead to my artistic practice today. I would say I was lucky enough to meet the right people at the right moment. When I was young, I was thought how to paint by local artists (Iași, România) and then when I finished high school I enrolled at NABA in Milano. It was quite a chaotic trip but I think that the right thing has some sort of divine way of finding us.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
OI – Inspiration is a complex term. I think that I get inspired more by what I feel rather than what I see. Moreover, it is a matter of time and circumstance. Now, with me being away from home and family, I painted my little sister as much as I could. At this moment, the way she experiments with life, from the big joys to the little pities of it is what fascinates me. Although, if you would have asked me a year ago, I would have said, Bukowski. It really is a matter of time and circumstance.
LC – What is your creative process like?
OI – My creative process is as chaotic as the ways I get to it. I paint under the influence of strong emotions. I paint because I need to paint. It is quite of a metamorphosis. One thing I always do before starting a new work tho is to allow myself five minutes to detach. I need to think of what I am technically aware of and how to balance it with what I know regarding my subject and my idea. I think that the chaos of it lies in the fact that it takes me quite a good while to decide upon something…it is an amalgam of everything.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
OI – Being an artist nowadays comes with new challenges than the traditional artist most people have in their mind. Now the idea of marketing is on a whole new level, the opportunities increased and the tool of social media is quite of a helper. Today, we face the problem of choosing the right opportunity rather than battling to find one.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
OI – Well, to begin with, I participated in the section of LIQUID ROOMS, which focuses on hidden parts of our identities. The works are, as stated before, inspired by my sister: a human right in the process of developing her consciousness and identity. I think “Two-faced mountain” emphasizes the way we go through, the correlation with the environment and the process itself of self-knowledge. The other two paintings value the idea of equilibrium of the body and the mind, the idea that people are colourful…full of thoughts…a result of the circumstance we found ourselves in. An unconscious part that shapes the conscious.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
OI – I think the festival approaches an ample theme, a theme of introspection. It is rather of a heavy one, but with a result on its measure. I would enjoy seeing more opportunities of this kind for artists.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
OI – I think ITSLIQUID Group has been doing this already. I am certain that it represents an opportunity as well by having international exhibitions, but also by the way they manage the artists they work with.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
OI – It was an honest pleasure. From the perspective of someone who is less organized, I must say I was deeply impressed by how prepared the team is for any situation. I appreciated the professionalism, the positive attitude towards the event and how the team cooperated with us on the whole process.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
OI – I think the platform values both the artists but also the ones behind the scenes of everything with a lot of grace. Thank you very much for all the work you do.