Flaviu Cacoveanu

Flaviu Cacoveanu (born in 1989, Romania) presents himself as a “Con&Temporary” artist. “Con” refers to all the terms beginning with this syllable, including, in the first place, conceptual and contextual, while “temporary” refers to his interest for the ephemeral, as well as to the idea of process. Having a cross-disciplinary practice, Flaviu Cacoveanu’s works develop at the border between photography, video, installation, painting and performative interventions or experiments which transcend a specific medium. Using a continuous process that starts in his everyday life and his own surroundings, Flaviu combines formal and conceptual aspects in order to reflect upon himself and the current state of the world. Flaviu Cacoveanu’s work has been recently exhibited at Parliament Gallery in Paris, Ivan Gallery in Bucharest and at Art Encounters Biennial 2021 in Timișoara. 

You can learn more about Flaviu on his website, https://friendsforever.cc, or on Instagram.

Q&A with Flaviu Cacoveanu

When did you discover your passion for art and what does art mean to you?

As a child I dreamed of becoming an explorer, discovering new places inspired by the different stories that I used to read. Along the way, I realised that the world was already mapped out and that there wasn’t much I could do as an explorer anymore.

Later, I discovered books with images about the Universe and atlases of botany and zoology, and I was especially fascinated by the images they contained. I realised that I was interested in images in a broader sense and that in this way, through images, I could communicate and understand the world.

Basically I realised quite early on, in my teens, that I could explore the world and discover ‘things’ and ‘new territories’ through images and the visual arts. Along the way, I also understood that being an artist requires a certain energy and curiosity, it’s a way of being and living that you can’t really learn. What you can learn is how to organize yourself in relation to your ideas and your work as an artist, how to improve your communication with the outside world, and how to stay focused on exploring the world of ideas and images.

Describe yourself briefly: what triggers your emotions or what makes you angry?

I am very interested in the notions of intuition and playfulness, as well as the idea of spontaneity. I would call the way I work as ‘conceptual play’ – a situation that combines the lightness of play with a deeper dimension to things. I am intrigued by what some call ‘poetry of the everyday’, the way we interact with everyday life and how these interactions create new meanings, but also experiences that transcend language and lead into an abstract zone.

I am also fascinated by minimalism, not only in terms of aesthetics, but also in terms of gestures, because I find it very interesting how you can transform something through the simplest and smallest gestures, or how you can influence perception by, say, turning an object upside down or moving it an inch further.

Describe your artistic vision: sources of inspiration, techniques, messages you want to communicate to audiences.

I present myself as a ‘con&temporary artist’. It’s a notion by which I can introduce more meaning about my interests. By using a play on words – and this suggests my interest for language from the start – I have taken the word ‘contemporary’ and split it into two syllables – ‘con’ and ‘temporary’. For me ‘con’ refers primarily to the conceptual dimension, but also to context, content, conventions and other notions that begin with this syllable. ‘Temporary’, on the other hand, refers to notions of time, of ephemerality, of process, but can also encompass a more technical dimension of what I do, which refers to the medium of photography, for example. The way I work is spontaneous and intuitive and has its roots in the different layers of our daily lives.

I work in a constant process and develop my ideas primarily through my mobile phone, which is the tool most present and closest to us today. The phone, in my vision, becomes an ‘artist run phone’ and transcends the notion of a tool; it becomes the space in which I perform. It is practically my studio, through which I write, draw, photograph, but also communicate and connect to the outside world, both through the exchange of information and through direct connections with people.

As for attitudes, I am very interested, for example, in the idea of the ‘ready-made’, introduced by Marcel Duchamp, which was a turning point for the arts in the 20th century, but I like to think of this idea adapted to our times; because we live in a world of information surplus, with an abundance of ideas, images and production – my vision is that the term ‘ready-made’ can be today transformed into something I call ‘already-made’. Contrary to the ‘ready-made’, which uses already existing objects, in the case of the ‘already-made’ things move into the world of ideas; in this context, ideas are repeated and we work with ideas that already exist, that have been already made. This raises a question for me, as an artist, which is: ‘If an idea has been already made, does that mean I can’t do it again?’

Who influenced you on your path and how?

I can think of many people who have influenced me, but I would be doing an injustice if I were to limit myself to mentioning just one. There have been countless people who have been there for me so far, who have inspired me and from whom I have learned. But, in addition to these, the moments when I was all by myself in front of the world, with successes and failures, also mattered a lot to me.

Besides interacting with people, moments spent alone are precious because they force you to adapt and reinvent yourself, having a constant dialogue with yourself, from which you learn how to relate to both yourself and those around you. And so you can create a kind of discipline and responsibility towards your surroundings.

What work of art your produced you like best and what does it mean to you?

Through the way I work I relate to a continuous process, in which I constantly intervene, and to which I add or extract content from as I experiment with ideas, materials or techniques and spontaneously adapt to the world I am part of.

Personally, I am more interested in an attitude towards what I work on than in a specific work, and I think it is still too early to draw such conclusions. But I enjoy every ‘discovery’ that I make – work – in formal or conceptual terms, because each step helps me to develop further and to understand what I do better.

What moment in your career made you happy?

Success is a technical matter – for me success means being able to continue what I do, being able to develop, having access to the world around me in its various complex forms – being able to interact and having the physical and imaginative resources to keep “playing” with new ideas.

I think success is also about being able to connect and collaborate, but also about being able to continue to learn and adapt to the new situations that life brings. For me, success is not just a specific moment in time, but an accumulation of factors and situations that relate to the ongoing process of living and therefore being able to continue doing what I do.

What do you expect from Accelerator programme?

From the moment I applied to this program I was interested of being in dialogue with a younger generation of artists, but also with the art professionals who are present in this program.

I want to better understand the world around me, together with a younger generation of artists, as well as to better understand the professional side of this field.

What other artists inspired you and why?

As I said, I am fascinated by the way Marcel Duchamp introduced the idea of the ‘ready-made’ and how this has had a major impact on the field of visual arts. I am not particularly interested in his works, but more in his attitude and the ideas by which he changed the paradigm.

If I had to name a few artists who inspire me and in whom I find ideas and attitudes similar to what I am looking for, I could list Ceal Floyer, Bruce Nauman or Shimabuku, each of them approaching issues related to life and also to the artistic field in an original and profound way.

In addition to artists who already have a reputation, I am also very interested in marginal or obscure artists, because they transcend beyond conventions and break free from the restrictions of success and the art world. I think it’s sometimes important and refreshing to look in other directions.

What are your future plans?

First of all, I consider myself lucky to be able to do what I love every day and to work as an artist in such a complex world as it is today, even if it involves some sacrifices.

I work with what I call puzzle pieces. Each work and each step I take brings me closer to a greater picture of what I do – “the big picture” – and I am constantly working on building this puzzle.

My plan is to keep my enthusiasm and to remain open to discovering how these puzzle pieces fit together, and also to have the strength to adapt to what comes next.

Translated from a text originally published in Romanian.

Works of the Artist

in Back to Where It All Began Exhibition