Artist Roberta Curcă Takes the Floor of Podcast Accelerator Today

June 05, 2023

Listen to this episode on spotify


We are inviting you to a brave conversation between one of the artists who are part of Accelerator program – Roberta Curcă – and Andrei Breahnă, gallerist, cultural manager and project manager of Accelerator.

From sources of inspiration to education – from current challenges to dear projects, every conversation with Roberta makes you wonder what you can do more to push yourself to become better at what you do as an artist or as professional in any other field.


The Beginning

It wasn’t exactly a smooth road for me, I come from a family of engineers. My parents and my sister are engineers, so art was not “at hand”, but I got a lot of inspiration from the books I grew up with. My mother collected art books and albums and bought us art books. too. At the same time, her books were cool, technical books that she let me scribble on them, or rather didn’t stop me from scribbling, and that meant a lot to me. These drawings are very cool, very primitive. I still have them; I even took them home with me. Somehow, that was it. And I had to convince them because neither for them this process was familiar. Somehow, I am also inspired by the conversations I had with them. I believe that, if it was difficult to talk about art with them, one can imagine what it is like to talk to people who are not your family and who are not interested in art. I am inspired by this idea that you can have a dialogue with anyone and learn to love art even if you don’t have an artistic background.


Art studies

I felt very much like an outsider (when joining the art school) because I didn’t have an art background and I didn’t go to arts high school before college. It helped me a lot to be part of Erasmus programme, to meet other teachers and to build my confidence, not just on the opinion of teachers in a local context, but to receive more opinions and meet more people. I developed very good relationships with my Erasmus colleagues. Since 2012, still collaborate with artists I met there. I built up my education piece by piece in different areas, but Romanian education can still have some improvements, to say the least.


About the three works in the exhibition Back to Where It All Began

The three artworks in the exhibition are three directions of my practice. The small drawing – is small because it is inspired from the sample books area, from the samples I found at the flea markets at Terom, the synthetic fabric factory in Iasi. It inspired me a lot because this factory no longer exists. There was still this object that I found. I also found very interesting this relationship with time, i.e. how you have something that should give you a sample of something, but that something actually no longer exists. And I started to ruminate on this idea. I really want to take it further, from drawing into the object area. This work is inspired by the road from Bucharest to Craiova. I tried to find some samples on that road, a very flat and maybe uninteresting road. You can also get something very cool out of a modest subject and if you immerse yourself in a space and sharpen your senses. You can find a lot of information in something very simple.

In the larger artwork represents my own notes, about weather, notes about time. They are usually recorded beforehand just as text, and the image part I try to memorize it, because I’m afraid of relying too much on photographic information, and sometimes I seem to trust the memory more than the moment. And play around with that a bit. And these “light box” artworks, sculptures – to call them – are tools that I have developed to create a precise drawing. They are basically stencils, rulers, templates I draw with. I find them so beautiful; I see them all the time in the space I work in, so I felt I needed to bring them in the exhibition as an object, an important part of my practice. That’s why they’re here.


About the exhibition Back to Where It All Began

It was difficult to put 10 different practices together, but I think one of the most interesting things about this exhibition is that it is the result of a really cool process, which is Accelerator, a pretty intense program that we all worked on. In the end, I think as a visitor you have to take that into consideration, that it’s a result of a pretty unique process that I hope will continue and it is important to continue. That one at hand. And on the other hand, the exhibition hosts very diverse practices and art is like a gradient, somehow, a spectrum – from a more personal approach, to public, political – Maria’s artworks for example.


What is it like to be an artist in Romania

We can talk about a lot of issues in the artistic and cultural environment. I would start with a good thing, though, which is that there is still a lot of enthusiasm for art and there is a lot of room for diverse practices. People are not bored, they are excited. And that’s a really good thing to build on. Further on, we talk about maybe the scarceness of resources. In addition, our institutions are not the most efficient. Of course, they are not very efficient because they are not very young, compared to institutions in other countries that have not gone through a communist regime. I believe that we, as artists should fight together to combat this toxicity, to stop accepting everything. This is super important and, in this way, we build a healthier practice in the future.

From my point of view as an artist, I can say that it works really well to keep close the relationships that nourish you and that are healthy and not to focus too much on the ones that are not very healthy, the ones that are the most toxic, that hurt you a lot and give you a lot of doubt and slow you down. That’s what I’ve tried to do. Once you do that and you find a lot of like-minded people, you can grow together and bring other people into the group. That is what I’ve learned a lot from Maria, who is also in this program. She has a strength in that, she brings people together and gets them excited about projects.


Future projects

(…) next, there’s going to be a really cool project with the University of Horticulture, where I’m going to work with one of the professors on the ambrosia. I am going to study the plant, the ragweed that’s really hurting me and a lot of other people. I am super curious what is going to come out of this interaction between an arts person and a horticulture person. So, check it out! The project will start around September. So that’s pretty much on the exhibition side of things, and we have, of course, the work in the public space, which is also coming up, very close, in this project, Accelerator, which I’m super excited for. And I think that’s where we’ll talk more as we go along.


About art in the future

It’s a very tough question, because what we all want is to be better; and art to be recognized on a larger scale and the artist status to gain weight and mean what is should. That would be ideal, not to make this choice – to be poor and live precariously as an artist. Changing that status is something pretty cool to aspire to. Much more sustainable and much healthier relationships both between artists and with institutions – with the actors in the arts and cultural scene. That’s pretty much what it would be.