When trying to define the new generation of artists, we often think of those who have completed their studies and are in the process of defining their own creative philosophy and working style. Now 30 years old and participating in the Art Encounters Biennial the second time, Nona Inescu represents the new wave through a textile installation comprising both a video and a glass sculpture component that you will have the opportunity to admire at the Biennial.
Born in Bucharest, Nona Inescu followed an unusual education path, which took her to three European cities before bringing her back to Romania. After high school graduation, she went to London, where she studied at Chelsea College of Art & Design. Then she attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. In 2016, she finished her studies at the Photo-Video Department of the National University of Arts Bucharest. Since then, her works have been exhibited in Bremen, Basel, Nürnberg, Pistoia, Budapest, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Tallinn, Lyon, Prague, Glasgow and Riga.
Nona Inescu’s art interprets the relationships between the human body, the space surrounding it and technology. Her more recent works focus on man’s interaction with natural elements placed in a new artistic context. She started from graphic experiments such as collages on digital media and paper, in which she included photographic, text or geometric elements, creating a game of transparency and overlapping layers. Afterwards she turned to several artistic media, mostly photography, sculpture, installations, object art, sound or video. She chooses her medium according to her own principles, which she established from the beginning, and her own ideas, keeping an open mind to any materials, means of expression and techniques. Her solo shows render the dialogue between different media, how they complement each other or how they all give life to a complete ecosystem, a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk.
The artistic education she received in Great Britain encouraged her to experiment with 3D spatial design, visual communication and fashion. Influenced by the democratic approach of the classes she attended, at first she was sure she wanted to study fashion, so she went to the Netherlands to study fashion design. However, she realised later that her relationship with this discipline had to do more with art than the fashion industry, so when she returned to Romania she found the space and the courage to decide her artistic evolution herself.
The key to her creative universe is man’s essential connection with the environment – an infinite source of knowledge that she regards with fascination, curiosity and respect. Her works outline an ecosystem blending her heterogeneous and interdisciplinary practice into a whole that borrows a little bit of each vegetal, animal, mineral and human element. Quite often, they contain historical and poetic references to writers such as Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Beatriz Colomina or poets like Ann Carson and Wisława Szymborska.
Nona holds that the deep-rooted idea that man exists outside the environment and is superior to the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms must be changed. The solution she proposes is to dissolve the hierarchy established by man and to reconnect with the environment, while paying particular attention to the harmful effects its exploitation may have. The meeting point between nature and technology is another theme frequently explored in a creative process that illustrates the complexity of the present as well as the artists’ multicultural background. Since the beginning of history, technology and nature have gone hand in hand and converged in both a constructive and a destructive way, leading to the duality and constant tension that the artist renders in her installations.
On the one hand, the artist challenges the conventional perspectives and theories on the environment. On the other, she provides new keys to deciphering symbols. Consequently, her works can be described as a mixture of sensory and conceptual elements. When asked what people should feel when seeing her works – both at the Art Encounters Biennial and other shows – she answered that she would like them to express “empathy for the natural, non-human elements or at least to see the environment with new eyes”.