Heerz Tooya

Ioana Iacob, Mihaela Hudrea, Vlad Olariu, Matei Toșa, Dan Beudean, Sasha Bandi, Alexandra Mocan
Rock Balancing On Shaky Ground

18.09. – 20.09.2023
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Rock Balancing on Shaky Ground presents the works of 7 Romanian artists for the first time exhibiting in this formula. Opening on the 18th of September starting at 7 pm at Heerz Tooya, this exhibition delves into the theme of striving to find calmness and self-equilibrium amidst chaotic times.

In a world filled with constant turmoil and uncertainty, the pursuit of inner peace becomes an essential journey. Rock Balancing on Shaky Ground explores this universal quest, inviting viewers to reflect on their own personal struggles and the collective challenges we face as a society.

Through a diverse range of artistic mediums, the selected artists delve into the depths of our inner world, as well as the external forces that shape our existence. From the vast expanse of the Universe and its enigmatic laws to the devastating disasters that unfold around us, both real and imagined, this exhibition offers a thought-exploration of our place in the world.

Drawing inspiration from the art of rock balancing, where seemingly impossible structures are created through careful placement and balance, these artists metaphorically depict the delicate equilibrium we all strive to achieve. Their works serve as a reminder that even in the face of chaos, there is always a possibility for harmony and tranquility.

Rock Balancing on Shaky Ground invites viewers on a visual journey that challenges preconceived notions and encourages introspection. Through the presented works, we are reminded of our resilience and the potential for finding stability amidst the ever-changing landscape of our lives.

This exhibition is part of The Alternative Exchange - a project shaped by the need to locate collaborative alternatives that facilitate the visibility and mobility of Romanian and international artists, through mutual exposure, exchange of experiences and cooperative learning methods. Initiated in a large extent from the need to be in solidarity with the artist-run scene and the general needs of artists to benefit from exhibition and meeting opportunities and spaces, the project includes collaboration between 6 artist-run initiatives from international cities: 5533 - Istanbul, Stroboskop + Przyszła Niedoszła - Warsaw, Funnel - Belgrade, Æther - Sofia, Heerz Tooya - Veliko Tarnovo, NEW NOW - Frankfurt.

MATCA artspace is an artist-run space managed by three local artists (Alexandru Muraru, Matei Toșa and Alexandra Mocan) that emerged in Cluj-Napoca at the beginning of 2017. Since then it has been following a mindset of shaping its know-how along with its collaborations, most of them being presented in the form of group shows. Underlying the necessity of being in touch with the conscious form of artistic practice and research, the space is coagulating its purposes by drawing a thin border between aesthetics and content, usually choosing to bring out raw forms of expression. The space is meant as a tool for research into local (or nearby) contemporary art, in order to establish connections with minds that have something relevant to say about the world. Wishing to step more off the walls, MATCA prioritizes alternative forms of expression which mix mediums outside the canvas/frame, not as a form of denying traditional practices, but as a form of getting out of the comfort zone and being open to experimentation and various ways of shaping meaning. Set up to be a welcoming environment, MATCA`s aim is to fuse what could be meant under the terms of emergent and established into parallel, non-hierarchical dialogues, where the position and the role of the artist in society could be debated. As a former garage/leather crafts workspace, it maintains its undisguised atmosphere and rough vibe that invites artists and thinkers to relate to it in their projects.

Ioana Iacob, born in 1987 and based in Cluj Napoca, is an artist with a diverse body of work. She graduated from UAD in 2011 and has since exhibited her art in various prestigious galleries. With an academic background in painting, Ioana’s artistic curiosity goes beyond its traditional boundaries. She questions and experiments with painting as a culturally informed form of art. She views it not just as a sensual manifestation of materials but as a cultural practice. Ioana engages with both painting and installations to examine the visual’s power and limitations, challenging social expectations that art should offer purely sensory and enchanting illusions. Her work invites viewers to think deeper about the nature of art and its role in contemporary culture.

Mihaela Hudrea (b.1989, Cluj-Napoca) holds an MA from KASK School of Arts Gent, Belgium and a BA from the University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, Romania. With her work, the artist opens a dialogue through her personal interests, which connect to universal issues, from scientific questions to environmental concerns. She creates a visual and conceptual mapping, by using different materials and ideas rooted in our ephemeral condition. Mihaela is intrigued by the objectiveness of science and how it influences the way we see the world. Through her practice, the artist explores a deeper understanding of our surrounding environment.

Matei Tosa (b. 1993, Cluj-Napoca) Preoccupied with finding an answer for what makes him draw (or why he does it), his instincts derive from prior experiences of working and being raised among sculpture, where he developed his attention to space and form in relation to ambiance, to what is surrounding him, or in relation to his early memories. The way he thinks his works is triggered by how a story can emerge or be transformed when something from its natural environment is twitched. He is mainly interested in how a given thing can express different particularities if its rule is changed or a glitch is added into its pattern, and he pushes this method forward and forward in his works, where generating new meanings or fictions is developed through the whole experiment of layering, almost like preparing a collage. The ordinary, the mundane, hold an important role in what constitutes his choice in what to illustrate, often relating to reality in an ironic way in his works, where ordinary circumstances are disturbed by uncanny events - while adding some action around quiet neighborhoods or situations where nothing seems to be ever happening. Graduate of the MA program of the graphics department from the University of Art and Design from Cluj-Napoca, he`s active in running MATCA artspace, space he’s one of the founders of.

Alexandra Mocan (b.1991, Cluj-Napoca - lives and works here) Her works are generally configured around the tension between pessimism and optimism - and the irony that can be found at their border. Resilience and methods to improve social/human conditions are at the basis of many of her works - whether the inspiration from which they derive is specific to Balkan culture, Asian philosophies, or inspired by failure and decay. She frequently uses text in her works, or there are texts or a title that fuels her inspiration. At the same time she likes to reinterpret already existing objects - sometimes even clichés - and uses 'theft' demonstratively - often to boycott against the idea of originality, or at least to speculate that our sources of inspiration can derive from banalities. Graduate of the MA program in painting at UAD Cluj, in addition to her own art practice, she is one of the co-founders of the artist-run space MATCA artspace.

Dan Beudean (b. 1980) lives and works in Cluj-Napoca and is considered one of the best artists dedicated to drawing of his generation. With subjects ranging between the natural, the mystical, the everyday, and the fictional, his interest draws towards the historical dimension of the 21st century and its socio-political issues. Previous exhibitions include: God Luck and Good Speed, Cluj-Napoca Art Museum; Magellan’s Cabin, Lateral Art Space, What We Do Is Secret, Zorzini Gallery. Beudean has been awarded the 2013 Strabag International Art Award, and his works have been featured in Vitamin D2 – New Perspectives in Drawing, a book published by Phaidon.

Vlad Olariu Born in 1983, Roman, Romania lives and works in Cluj, Romania Vlad Olariu is dealing mainly with the mediums of sculpture and installation. His works are constructed around the ideas of monumentality and heroism. Alternates between heroism and anti-heroism, monument and anti-monument, masterpiece and anti-masterpiece by questioning its political, historical, social or individual meanings.

Bandi Sasha (b.1989) lives and works in Cluj-Napoca. He oscillates between brutality and sensitivity, and his artistic work is an extension of the meditation between those two. In an attempt to express obscure, dark and suppressed themes and worries, his artworks are the product of voyages full of both suffering and amusement. Besides his artistic practice, he is also one of the co-founders of Grota ArtCrypt, a space which was developed in his parents’ basement between 2013-2015 as a form of artistic solidarity and reaction to the lack of support for the contemporary art scene.

This project is co-financed by the Romanian Cultural Institute through the Cantemir Programme - a funding framework for cultural projects intended for the international environment. The Romanian Cultural Institute cannot be held responsible for the content of this material.

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