Interviewed by Kim, Kieun
From Bucharest, Romania
How did you start expressing your ideas as a young artist in Romania, Having in mind that the country was under Communism until 1989?
I studied art for 14 years (since the 5th grade, I was in a special art school, and then I went to the Art Academy) – drawing, painting, sculpture, textiles, graphics and theory, beside psychology, philosophy, literature, physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology… it was an interesting universe, but not contemporary ... in 1985, we [Lia together with her husband, artist Dan Perjovschi – Ed.] moved to Oradea (a town on the border with Hungary – a country a little more free than ours at that time...) there we found out about Mail Art (art sent by post) ... everywhere there are people, I imagine that we are the same, giving a sign to the outside world … it was a way to travel (imaginary), a reason to read about different countries … in 1988, in Mexico City, there was a festival entitled “Visual Poetry”… in front of the photo camera, I imagined my body like a piece of paper (later, in 1992, I met Kristine Stiles (theoretician, curator, art historian, artist, professor at Duke University, USA)… by looking at my images, she called my actions performance art.
This next question has to do more with imagination – if you had lived in an open country as a young artist, do you think that your creative path would have been totally different, do you think you would have tackled other subjects in your art?
I don’t know ... maybe I would have studied con - temporary artists (as in the Western art schools) and it would have provoked me in a certain way ... or maybe it would have been the same (I’m a nonconformist, I like experiments – I was influenced by physics – so I might have started with me, my universe, local context and I would have reached the universe of knowledge ... global themes ... like now.
Who are the artists that have inspired you throughout your career?
I don’t have parents (in art), I didn’t like the art around me, so I pushed myself to find something ... I read a lot (the literature was more contemporary than art – a lot of the 1960s, 1970s writers from all over the world were trans - lated into Romanian), I was in love with movies, the theater was more experimental (in 1980, in Sibiu, I saw the diploma of a young theatre director who impressed me), then came the experience of watching Hungarian television (not know - ing the language, we had to follow it with the dictionary), working in a theatre ... I think all of these influenced me.
How did you decide to develop your practice in the direc - tion of art research? Which aspects of art research have you followed closely in the past years?
When you don’t have parents / models ... you don’t know what you are doing ... after 1990, we started travelling to see the big exhibitions (Documenta, the Venice Biennale), con - temporary art museums, art galleries – this experience made me understand what I was missing from my education (1950 – 1990), so I started to recover as much as possible ... I liked the research, I enjoyed reading ... one book brought another ... I learned a lot – that art depends on the context and it is very diverse ... you can do art in many ways – out of what you have) ... after 10 – 15 years, I became more relaxed ...
How would you comment on the role of art education in the formation of responsible artists? And do you agree with this term – responsible artists?
And if yes, how you describe a responsible artist? Education in general is very important, artistic education trains us to see / feel, think about us, the other one, our environment, helps us look / think for solutions ... yes, I am in favor of the responsible artist (as for the responsible citizen …) ... the question is: what do we need (for all of us) in order to have a decent life ? ... how can we collaborate to save our planet / life, what alternative solutions do we have … for the contemporary problems …