“Two years ago, Ioana Sisea immersed in what later became the “SOAP” project, whose first stage concluded with an exhibition at the Diehl Gallery in Berlin in the autumn of 2017 – we are both to blame, but it is more your fault. In the exhibition, the artist displayed some of her soap objects, that mainly consist of rectangular or oval pieces of soap of different sizes, colors and textures, each containing a text message selected by the artist from her archive or diary.
The exhibition itself it is not a classical presentation of the artist’s discourse, but rather an open dialogue between the artist and her past. She doesn’t represent herself through the body of works that silently gravitates in the gallery space; she is publicly questioning her memory, her hopes, her constraints. She is present, but also absent; she evokes people and events, while actually letting them disappear.
All the pieces of soap were conceived and manufactured by the artist in her studio in Bucharest; the point of departure was a pile of old soap made tens of years ago by Ioana Sisea’s grandmother and reproduced under the denomination /fără titlu/ /untitled/.
Unlike other organic products, soap keeps for at least a hundred years without losing its virtues. Soap is usually perceived as a precious gift. Easily converted into a personal item, it can be appreciated for its medical qualities or it can just be used for general cleaning purposes. But an overdimensioned fragment of soap is heavy and hard, almost impossible to handle, looking more dangerous than friendly.
The texts, all written in Romanian, Ioana Sisea’s mother language, were imprinted by the artist herself using a German letter press dating back to the period of WW2. There are excerpts from her communication with boyfriends, members of the family or friends, that she had archived over the years. Unfiltered and fragile, the communication is directly extracted from her diaries. Still, at the moment she carved all words on the surface of the soap, it feels as if she gifted those conversations to the beholders; they no longer belong to her.”
Excerpt from Anna Verona Mihulet’s text “The secret discipline of ungetting old”, written for Ioana Sisea’s latest publication “we are both to blame, but it’s more your fault”.
Ioana Sisea (born 1988) is a Romanian artist working across varied media.
Her work explores contemporary issues such a social perceptions of the body, relationships, family, love and memory, always using her personal experience and cultural background as its starting point. She often objectifies specific elements of a memory or interaction, removing them from their original context and the unchallenged prejudices that it may have permitted. Sisea is largely medium agnostic and adopts whatever mode of expression best suits the conceptual basis of each work.