My work explores disaster, memory and vulnerability through different mediums, ranging from printmaking to performance, to edible art and printed objects. I question the way we look at tragedy as well as the way we deal with its aftermath. We depend on our technology (planes, trains, automobiles) and easily forget that it is just as fallible as our bodies. At the end of the day, all physical contact is a collision with permanent repercussions, whether visible or not. Most interactions we have with other people are just like these collisions: we are selfishly oblivious to our impact on others.
The automobile, in particular, is one of the foremost cultural touchstones of the 20th century, reflecting the social and cultural development of the western world and beyond. It has become so essential and ingrained into our daily lives. It offers endless facets for the consideration of life and death, especially as we move toward increasingly autonomous vehicles. Take the airbag: it is meant to protect life, but it also serves as an indexical mark for the car crash, while also having the potential to cause injury and/or death. Roadkill is an equally inescapable part of the legacy of these vehicles. Separated from the outside world by our windshields, we create a culture of indifference as we learn to ignore the lifeless bodies, of any size, littered on the roads.
In our contemporary media driven culture, crashes, of all kinds, are trivialized by their frequent appearances across the spectrum of information mediums, especially now as our access to the Internet is more widespread than ever before. We, as a society, have become desensitized to this sort of event through this constant exposure, unable to understand the serious consequences of our actions.
The viewers become voyeurs through the simple act of looking and emulating the rubbernecking that is so common on the roads. My work is intended to be humorous, but catastrophes are not: this is a difficult reconciliation in the viewer’s mind. I rely on humour, not only for providing an access point to the viewers, but also for challenging their morality. My work is not intended to be didactic, providing instead a locus for thought and discussion. I maintain an ambiguous stance and let the viewers decide for themselves what to think about the matter. In other terms, I am presenting a word of caution and a reminder that our creations can and probably will fail.
In recent work, such as the series “Reconstruction Attempts,” I focus more on the idea of memory and the aftermath of trauma. What we remember may be different from what we experienced, and these differences can evolve over time. In much the same way, I modify my prints by cutting and reassembling them out of sequence. The repetition of the prints mimics the obsessive nature with which we revisit traumatic memories. I typically use bright, friendly colours because the content is traumatic. Each of these pieces represents a different version of the same event. As a series, these works embody the questions one might ask oneself when striving to come to grips with the past.
Originally from Romania, Raluca Iancu earned her MFA in Studio Art, Printmaking, from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2015 and her BFA in Printmaking from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University, Halifax, Canada, in 2012. She has exhibited internationally, at venues including the Domek Miedziorytnika Gallery & Museum, Wroclaw, Poland; the National Museum Robevci, Ohrid, Macedonia; and the International Print Center New York, NY. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Hand Magazine and the Mid America Print Council Journal. Raluca Iancu has held residencies and workshops in Canada, the United States, Poland, and, most recently, in Romania and Spain. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Louisiana Tech University.