Artist Interview: Zoița (Delia Călinescu) in ACS Magazine, International Contemporary Art Magazine

written by Anca Negescu January 19, 2017

As a curator and gallery owner, I sometimes interview artists, curators and other people from the art world.

Last year, I was interviewed by Renee LaVerne Rose for ACS Magazine, of which she is the editor-in-chief. ACS Magazine is an international contemporary art online magazine. Based in Chicago, USA, ACS Magazine features articles and interviews about contemporary art, artists, art projects and curators from around the world and it is expanding its audience rapidly.

After being interviewed and featured in ACS Magazine as a curator and gallery owner, I received an invitation from Renee to write for her magazine. Therefore, for the first ACS issue of 2017, I interviewed Romanian contemporary artist Zoița (Delia Călinescu).

Here is the bilingual interview. In ACS Magazine, the January-February 2017 issue, you can find it on page 206. Enjoy! :)



ZOIȚA (Delia Călinescu) is a Romanian contemporary artist born in 1978 in Fetești, Romania. She now lives and works in Bucharest, Romania.

She graduated from The University of Fine Arts in Bucharest, getting her BA in painting in 2006. In 2007 she got her Master’s Degree in design at the The University of Fine Arts in Bucharest.

Besides painting, Zoița is a spectacular installation and performance artist. She enjoys the organic, literally inviting it into her work. Charcoal is an often encountered element, sometimes taking surprise functions such as leaving traces not only on paper or canvas, but also on the artist’s body, a manner in which she fuses with her art.

ZOIȚA (Delia Călinescu) surprises through mixtures of media, textures, matters and content, which she loves to experiment with.

Strong and bold as well as sensitive and profound, her art is a very particular presence on the contemporary art scene.

She participated in numerous national and international solo and group shows and has works in private collections in several countries, as well as in museums’ collections, such as the Contemporary Art Museum in Bucharest and the Contemporary Art Museum in Galați, Romania.

As an artist, she uses the pseudonym ZOIȚA. When asked why, she explained that Zoița was her grandmother’s name. “She took care of me as a child and she is the one who brought art into my life. I adopted her name in order to remember her and everything she means to me.”


Zoița este numele bunicii mele. Ea m-a crescut si a adus arta în viața mea. Am preluat numele ei ca o veșnică aducere aminte a ceea ce înseamnă pentru mine.

You use installation and stencils alongside painting and graphics. Why and how do you do this?

I am a multidisciplinary artist. Painting is my first curriculum. Yet, in parallel, I develop installation, video projections, performance, photography and graphic projects. I assume the liberty to breathe art no matter which medium I use. I love volume, texture and contrast, monochrome and expressivity. I divide myself according to the nature of my ideas in space’s and objects’ volumes, textural in painting, photography and video.


Sunt un artist multidisciplinar. Pictura este prima mea disciplină însă în paralel dezvolt proiecte de tip instalație, video proiecții, performance, fotografie si grafică. Îmi asum libertatea de a respira artă indiferent de mediul folosit. Iubesc volumul, textura și contrastul, monocromia și expresivitatea. Mă divid în funcție de natura ideilor mele în volumetria spațiului și a obiectelor, textural în pictură, fotografie și video.

One of the things I immediately noticed about Zoița is that she smiles a lot. She has a broad, beautiful smile. When asked what makes her smile the most, she said that people make her smile. Whenever she sees herself in them, she smiles.


Oamenii mă fac să zâmbesc. Atunci când mă regasesc in ei, râd.

_Zoita_Yellow-City_40x50cm_stencil&marker pe forex_2016


What is the technique that you haven’t explored yet and which you want to experiment the most?

I wish to leave behind the known techniques, and discover new means of expression, in order to precisely represent the images I mentally create. I feel them as a powerful mix of volumes and oil, unconventional powerfully colored collages and organic and inorganic textural monochromes. What I wish to add to my art is a visual confusion between object and painting, photography in motion and stationary video, a never-ending performance between my life and art.


Îmi doresc să renunț la tehnicile cunoscute, să descopăr maniere noi de expresivitate care să mă ajute să reprezint fidel imaginile lucrărilor mele concepute mental. Le simt ca pe un amestec puternic de volumetrie și ulei, nepotrivite colaje viu colorate și monocromii texturale organice și anorganice. Ceea ce doresc să adaug artei mele e o confuzie vizuală între obiect și pictură, fotografie mișcată și video încremenit, un nesfârșit performance între viața mea și artă.

When asked, Zoița could not choose one project as her dearest one. She believes that doing so would be an injustice.


Nu pot rosti numele celui mai iubit proiect fără să simt că fac o nedreptate.

In your video installation “The Hands That Are Not Mine”, how many pairs of hands are there? Tell us what you felt when you designed it and further on, filmed it.

For the making of this video I collaborated with the photographer Anda Bolohan. My hands and hers met in order to construct a multifaceted representation of my nature. It is a sincere game of gradual deconstruction and reconstruction of what I am. Through this video I discovered new facets of myself. I showed the world my true face and how many “traces” have symbolically been left on it. These traces are the result of my interaction with others. This project is an invitation to solidarity and civic responsibility, a call for honesty and humanity.


La realizarea acestui clip am colaborat cu fotograful Anca Bolohan. Mâinile mele și mâinile ei s-au întâlnit pentru a constitui reprezentare multifațetată a firii mele. E un joc sincer de decontrucție și reconstrucție gradată a ceea ce sunt. În clip m-am descoperit intr-un mod în care nu o mai făcusem până atunci. Am arătat lumii cine sunt și câte “urme” mi-au fost lăsate simbolic pe față. Aceste urme sunt rezultatul interacțiunii mele cu ceilalți oameni. Acest proiect e un îndemn la solidaritate și responsabilitate civică, e un apel la onestitate și umanitate.


Zoița is passionate about organic art. I asked her about it, as I find her organic artworks intriguing and striking.

For her, “organic art represents an abstract of our human nature. I use nature (sawdust, branches, herbal decoction, lard) in order to reach primordiality. I like to combine organic and inorganic, I’ve loved stone since I was little, sand and limestone, which I further combine with natural pigments. I find this combination as a practice of stylistic honesty, somehow marking my return to nature and to the natural.”


Arta organică o găsesc ca un rezumat al umanului din noi. Folosesc natura (rumeguș de lemn, crengi, fierturi din plante, untură) întorcându-mă la primordialitate. Îmi place să combin organicul cu anorganicul, iubesc piatra de mică, nisipul și calcarul, pe care le combin apoi cu pigmenți naturali. Găsesc această combinație ca un exercițiu de onestitate stilistică marcând cumva reîntoarcerea mea la natură și natural.



What was the most difficult moment in your career as an artist?

The moment when I didn’t have resources and materials to work. It is painful to go through such moments.


Acela când nu am avut resurse și materiale să lucrez. E dureros.

What are your frustrations as an artist?

I learned to not give up on the quality of my ideas just for the sake of selling my art. I learned to support myself in lack of a sponsor, and that was a hard lesson in my existence. I do anything for the honesty of my art.


Am învătat să nu mai fac rabat de la calitatea ideilor mele cu scopul de a-mi vinde arta. Am învățat să mă susțin singură în lipsa unui mecena și asta a fost o lecție dură de a exista. Fac totul pentru sinceritatea artei mele.

What does Romania lack and affects you the most, regarding contemporary art? Please answer with one word.



Respectul de sine.

At the end of each interview, I like to ask my interlocutor about the funniest moment in their career. Zoița shared hers gladly:

At the opening of an exhibition, an art critic trying to somehow explain my art to the public, ended his speech with the following expression: “And now Zoița… explodes!” I laughed so much I was no longer able to keep a straight face. It was hilarious.


Îmi aduc aminte că în deschiderea unei expoziții un critic de artă, încercând să explice cumva arta mea publicului, și-a încheiat discursul cu următoarea expresie: “Și acum Zoița… explodează!” Am râs atat de mult încât nu am mai reușit să par serioasă deloc. A fost teribil.

_Zoita_Why_140x160cm_stencil&acrilic pe panza_2014





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