Andra Ursuta has been trained as an artist in the United States of America (Colombia University) where she emigrated in 1997. She became known to the American art scene through her series of personal exhibitions at the Ramiken Crucible in New York. Her career culminated in 2013, when Massimiliano Gioni, the curator of the 55th edition of the Biennale from Venice, included some of the artist’s works in Il Palazzo Enciclopedico exhibition.
Without being specifically interested in a certain technical means of expression, Ursuta creates hybrid instalments, subordinated to a symbolically compact artistic discourse. Her works are strongly impregnated with references to the childhood years spent by the artist at Salonta, with elements of the political and cultural identity of the Romanian space and with comments to the historical and social contexts which the artist either lived in, or she stored up as inheritance of the collective memory. Her art often relies on black humour and cynicism, taking tough actions and criticism.
Thus, in her first personal exhibition, The Management of Barbarism, Ursuta installs a series of works that directly or only tangentially reach the theme of death: a coffin mantled in / wrapped in pink fabric near which Romanian folk songs could be heard (Songs to Die For); a pile of emptied out eggs, partially cracked and decorated with folkloric motifs, in which arrows have been stuck (When Father Passed Through Town on Business - A Dramatization), an instalment making reference to the period of barbarian migrations in Romania; a scaffold hanging from a balloon, as a paradox of a suicidal situation (Breath Hold); a spike shaped like Brâncuşi’s Endless Column, as an object of torture and of pleasure (Ass to Mouth).
Another major project of the artist, Magical Terrorism, exhibited at the Ramiken Cubicle in New York in 2012 starts with the reaction of the Gypsy witches from Romania at the legislative initiative to have their income taxed. The artist exhibits a marble statue of a gypsy and some other busts made from aluminium, all of which are garnished with necklaces of coins (dollars, euros and lei). The discourse concentrates on the exotic nature of some practices with a ritualistic aura and on the attempt to embed
them in an institutionalized structure. In the series of works realized for the Biennale from Venice in 2013 (T. Vladimirescu, Nr. 5), the artist reproduces in miniature the shabby interiors of her childhood home. The scale models, just like doll houses, compile a repertoire of extremely accurately reproduced objects and they concentrate the essence of contradictory feelings.
Maria Orosan Telea (2014)