daniel balanescu / the art of dissimulation

Time Travel

“Daniel Balanescu describes himself as a dreamer whose greatest fear is that he makes art which is dead.

Because of that his world is a world in constant creation as he works to create that which is alive in him

and that which will remain alive once completed: bright on a piece of salvaged board, on a used subway

ticket, on deconstructed furniture or fluid as colour dyed into textile.

He uses media which have been or will become other things: a piece of discarded wood, clothing, even

cement and grouting which will crumble and fall, changing the work as time advances.

Growing up in communist Romania, it is the tension between that rigorous environment and Balanescu’s

rejection of any form of institutionalisation which contributes to the tension, the aliveness in his work.

He studies textile design at the National University of Arts in Bucharest, a subject disdained by many as

being gearded towards industry rather than ‘pure’ like painting.

This is not what interests Balanescu. His interest is in making art which could serve to point people

beyond the constructs of society and its expectations, towards what might be called ‘the soul’.

He is interested in the construction of ‘society’, of what is taken for granted, in the search for what is

alive and what is yearning to be alive, in every one of us.

Themes he has explored over his career include Mr. Gigi, a series whose protagonist is the

neighbourhood drunk. It is an exploration of a man who seeks to escape the rigid and narrow confines of

society through alcohol and the fact this could be a gateaway into a world in which dreaming becomes


A similar theme appears in Smokers Go to Heaven: the idea that dreaming is what elevates a human

from numb-cog in mindless-machine to something more exalted.

For Balanescu’s most recent exhibition: ‘ Crossing. I am the system ‘ ( 20 May 2014, Aiurart

Contemporary Art Space) he uses a medium he discovered two decades ago: the subway ticket. What

delights him about it is that each ticket has been held in the hand of an individual and represents a

moment in that life as she or he travels to or from someone or something adding a thread to each

unique tapestry which is their life.

In one installation 2200 tickets plaster a wall and onto each ticket, using a variety of media from ash to

acrylic and collage Balanescu has worked a variation of the motif: Running Man. Originally inspired by

the green man at pedestrian crossings meaning safe to cross, the motif has become representative for

Balanescu of many things: the individual amongst the many; the striving for individuality amongst

conformity; the constant running which is a human attribute; running always towards better, more,


What excites Balanescu currently is the possibility of involving other people in his next project… “

What the Wind told the Tree Tops – Pegasus Theatre -13 May 2017

Against The Odds – Oxford Youth Dance Company

“On the island of Chios ,thousands of refugees wait for their official papers before boarding the ship to Athens .They live in makeshifts camps in the old castle on the harbour  and at the centre of the island. What are their stories ? Can they retain a sense of beauty ? A sense of self and identity? ”

Costumes and textiles  Daniel Balanescu

Choreography by the dancers with assistance from Cecilia Macfarlane and Joelle Pappas

Conceived and Directed by Joelle Pappas