Human actions constantly contribute to making fragile dwellings more habitable. In this context, the opportunity arises to interrogate and disrupt individualism, harsh rationality and the desire to exploit people and spaces. A viable methodology is provided by ecological thinking, a concept developed by the Canadian philosopher Lorraine Code, who proposes a theory of responsible knowledge sensitive to human and historical-geographical diversity and existing in a society with moral and political concerns. This approach is more prominent in feminist projects and those motivated by epistemological justice, such as the three works presented by Anca Bucur at the Chronic Desire exhibition. Below you will find an introduction to her installations, based on a dialogue with the artist prior to their vernissage.

Anca Bucur is a visual artist and writer who completed her studies at the University of Bucharest, with a background in literature and cultural studies. She is the author of several texts published in collective volumes and an editor at frACTalia, the publishing house for which she supervises the Compost collection.

Her three projects exhibited at Ștefania Palace and the Garrison respond to the curatorial themes of the exhibition and start from her interest in the question of land and the transformations it has undergone in capitalism and globalization. The works are independent but can also be seen as a whole, “as nodes in the development of an ecological thinking that considers the man-nature dialectic within society”, as the artist says.

Fractured Locus deals with how land appropriation dictates the creation of state sovereignty and nationalism, both reinforced by border defence and sometimes racist anti-immigration policies. In Corporeal Red, the artist focuses on extractive industries and how capitalism causes not only the destruction of natural habitats, but also the precariousness and segregation of populations in the impact zone. Consisting of a video-essay, textiles, recycled aluminium and ceramic objects, the work is based on a research project covering the last three years, about bauxite extraction and aluminium production, with the artificial waste lake located near the Danube Delta as its central piece. The residues of the aluminium refining process, known as sludge or red mud, are among the most abundant types of industrial waste on the planet.

The third work presented by the artist at the exhibition, A Labour of Love, traces the work of women in local agrarian societies and their contribution to the process of social reproduction. With a strong emotional component, the work places in a new historical and social framework not only the position of the artist’s family, but also that of the village where she grew up and the rural community as a whole. The artist uses worn-out clothes that women wore while doing domestic or agricultural work like weeding vines or vegetables. The textiles are accompanied by a wooden structure and a sound installation that attempt to render a specific political context and draw attention to patriarchy and the naturalisation of these activities as typically done by women.

In trying to understand the artist’s aesthetic approach, interdisciplinarity is a possible starting point. She sees art as generating forms of critical knowledge and identifying one’s own social position. Her artistic practice presents a wider context marked by the social inequalities that Romanian society experienced in the post-communist race to its integration into the economic order of global capitalism.

Anca Bucur’s projects offer a possible means to reanalyse the history, experiences and voices excluded in the past, as well as a new opportunity for interacting more responsibly with the world inside and outside of us. Her creations could increase the awareness of the local socio-cultural and economic situation through an assessment, she hopes, of the ways in which feminist-socialist knowledge has been discouraged. The artist dwells on situations, processes or events taken from the construction of reality, criticising the leading force that owns its means of production.