Titles: "In search of the magic forest"

Artist’s Statement - Oana Urcan

"My practice encompasses film, video, photography and painting, woven with narration, poetry and sound. It is a continuous search, as I always follow my wildish nature.

This weaving is a natural yearning – it is story-telling. It is quite mysterious how disparate elements come together to form a whole, an entity. A poem here, a fleeting memory there, a leitmotif, the sound… Sound can bring it all together.

Secretly, but also overtly, I want to alter the time of the viewer. As an artist, most of all, I am interested in creating ‘atmosphere.’
The intention being that the viewer is for a brief moment engulfed, engaged with the work in a form of reverie, a daydream of sorts, like Bellour’s pensive spectator.

I often make reference to literature and poetry. The fairytales of childhood are still vivid in my memory, the books I’ve read, the poems I’ve heard, and Tarkovsky’s films somehow make their way into my work.

There is a tinge of melancholy, a romantic tendency that is quite Romanian in nature.
And sometimes, a slight unease- it is a mystery!
Take time. Time is a re-occurring theme in my work.
Time, as the fabric of our lives.

Mircea Eliade, a Romanian intellectual and writer, who wrote the most comprehensive work on comparative religion, used to write fantastic novels with a particular interest in time travel and metempsychosis. When I was growing up, his books were banished and publishing ceased. But my mother had a few in her library.
And Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetee’…the story that starts and ends at the same moment in time!

Whether time travel, as in my film, ‘The Dakota,’ or being in two places at the same time, as in ‘The places where I live,’ I want to make time the fabric of my work.

In ‘The wanderer,’ time is again touched, albeit in a different way.
The character in this short piece is a young man who wears a World War II coat. Shot in colour and black and white 16mm film, we join him wandering through the English countryside, from a meadow with a windmill, onto a bridge, then into a forest and finally on a beach, throwing pebbles into the sea. Using black and white film and shooting with a 1950’s Bolex, I tried to convey a post war feeling to the film. He could have just returned from the war. We don’t know. We don’t know where he comes from or where he is going. This is the mystery I want to keep.

The sound, provided by my composer friend, Dan Grigson, aids the suspension of disbelief, adding an extra dimension, which I feel is necessary.

The excerpt from the 10th century Anglo-Saxon poem ‘The Wanderer’ is compelling and still so relevant. It belongs to the ‘ubi sunt’: ‘where are’ tradition of elegiac poems, a meditation on mortality and life’s transience.

The photographs of the crossroad somehow belong to the film, or the film belongs to them. I would like the viewer to be drawn to them, into them, as a start of an imaginary journey, the journey of the wanderer."

"The wanderer"-video project

With art studies in London, New York and Sweden, from Kensington and Chelsea College,(HNC in Fine Art), Camberwell College of Art, (BA (Hons) in Painting), Royal College of Art,(MA in Photography), School Of Visual Arts, New York, (Scholarship) and Linkoping University, Sweden, (Research), the London based Romanian artist has exhibited since 2005 in exhibitions throughout London, Berlin and Krakow.
Forthcoming projects: (Anti) Realism Project, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, China and Linkoping University Sweden (Sept. 2008-2009) and David Claerbout Artist Studio Internship (Jan. 2009)




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