Mircea Nicolae Interview: My Romanian History



“With this film I messed with other peoples lives, mine included,” says Romanian artist Mircea Nicolae in this interview about his work combining the history of Romania with his personal life story, mixing fact and fiction in order to “show how you feel when you live there for a while.”

In this interview Mircea Nicolae talks about his project ‘Romanian Kiosk Company’ (2010), a 55-minute video combining episodes from Romania’s political history with the story of a family run kiosk-building company.

In ‘Romanian Kiosk Company’ the narrator Nicolae travels around Bucharest documenting the condition of its street kiosks, many of which are disused or neglected, while explaining their architectural significance. Nicolae also creates models of four of the kiosks, roughly three-quarters of the original size. Between this documentary footage, we see the narrator’s hands placing family photographs on a red carpet and talking of the members of the family.

Mircea Nicolae’s explains his background as a student of literature and how he had to give up on his PhD, a history of Bukarest, and that the video was another way of trying to say something similar: “The footage that I used is fictional only as far as a recording of a historical event can be fictional. ” The ‘Romanian Kiosk Company’ is a mixture of fiction, biography and history, Mircea Nicolae explains: “One could not say that it is entirely fictional, or that it is entirely real.”

“An art object does not depend on a professional kind of public or assessment. What makes it art is maybe its futility” says Mircea Nicolae. It is difficult to communicate history and emotional problems in a beautiful way, and still get people to understand the problems, he says. In stead he chose to be scientific in his approach: “Literature is about telling a story in a beautiful manner, while visual art is more about making a point.”

In 2010 Mircea Nicolae (b.1980) won the Pinchuk Foundation’s Special Prize and People’s Choice Prize and a residency at the International Studio Program in Brooklyn, New York, USA. He has exhibited around the world.

Mircea Nicolae was interviewed by Synne Rifberg.

Edited by: Sara Nina Laub
Produced by Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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