Ioana Sisea (born 1988) is a Romanian artist working across varied media. Her work explores contemporary issues such as social perceptions of the body, relationships, family and memory, using her personal experience and cultural background as the starting point. She often objectifies specific elements of a memory or interaction, removing them from their original context and their accompanying unchallenged prejudices. Sisea is largely medium agnostic and adopts ways of expression that best suit the conceptual basis of each work. Currently second year MA Sculpture, RCA London, UK, third year Phd studies at UAD Cluj, ROBA and has a MA in drawing at the University of Arts Bucharest, Romania / 2013.
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 can be maintained for a hundred years at least, 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 can be roughly used for cleaning purposes. But an over dimensioned fragment of soap is heavy and hard, almost impossible to handle, looking dangerous more than friendly.
The texts, all written in Romanian, Ioana Sisea’s mother tongue, were imprinted with a German letter press dating back to the period of WW2, by the artist herself. There are excerpts from her communication with boyfriends, members of the family or friends that she archived during the years. Unfiltered and fragile, the communication is directly extracted from her diaries. Still, in the moment she carved all words on the surface of the soap, it feels as if she gifted those conversations to the beholders; they don’t belong to her anymore. The entire process, starting with the manufacturing of the soap until it has been artified in the format of the exhibition signifies the abandonment of the past, the acceptance of the present, while composing a robot-portrait of the future based on consumed experience.
The collection of soaps is displayed on black, metal tables designed by the artist. The surface of some of the tables acts more like a tray in which a thin layer of water is resting, acting upon the foundation of each piece of soap, sensitively melting it from the bottom. Still, a few soap installations were placed on dry tables, suggesting permanence and finitude, at the same time. Pieces of soap of different colours – blue, green, grey, pink, white – and various shapes are placed one next to the other, few having the word EU / ME imprinted on them. It is a work discussing the fetishism of self-representation and the infinite reproduction of personal memes that fill the emotional tableau of the woman artist.