SABA - Silvia Amancei and Bogdan Armanu (b. 1991, Iași and Timișoara, Romania) is an artist couple working together since 2012, in the city of Iași, Romania. They both graduated from the University of Arts in Iași, respectively mural art (Silvia) and painting (Bogdan), a fine art background which they transgress in their practice together with the physical and discursive limits of the object (and the labour inscribed in it) within the conceptual framework of new-media. Their artistic practice could be positioned at the border between social studies and visual art, researching for methods and examples where art and artistic means can be instrumentalised in order to overexcite the ability to look beyond capitalism and create a (common) future.
Among their recent solo shows are "It was always in plain sight" (2020, Ivan, Bucharest), "s.a.b.a. 1979–####" (2020, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana), “If Then What After” (2019, Kunstverein Baden), “Return to Spaceship Earth” (2017, Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest), and the group exhibitions “Go, Stop, Stay” (2019, MODEM, Debrecen, HU), “STRIKE GENTLY AWAY___” (2019, The Real Office, Salzburg), “Displacement and Togetherness” (2019, Cultuurcentrum Strombeek, BE), “Baywatch” (2018, Kvost, Berlin), “Odessa Biennial” (2017, Odessa, Ukraine), Timisoara Art Encounters Biennial (2017 and 2015).
“It was always in plain sight” (26 June - 24 Sept 2020) is Silvia Amancei & Bogdan Armanu (SABA)’s first solo show at Ivan Gallery.
“It was always in plain sight” is a new site-specific project which unfolds in the gallery’s space in the shape of a cinematic plot narrated through a multimedia installation of objects, paintings, drawings and collages, multi-layered frames instead of literally moving-images. The storyline features two characters acted by the artists themselves as an upper-middle-class couple stumbling upon a victim-less presumed murder scene on an eventful night: “The two discover a stain of blood on their living room floor. A murder? Maybe, but there’s no body, there’s no criminal. Surely, it’s just a confusion.“ (SABA) The signs of anonymous violence and aggression invade their domestic environment and while trying to ignore, cover up or clean them, the two end up being devoured as well by the nameless, invisible affliction.
Employing the aesthetic tools of thriller and horror cinema, the artists aim at deconstructing the ideological mechanisms of Hollywood and the social blindness of neoliberalism, uncovering a deeper discussion on the contemporary configuration of life and its many “invisible” or rather ignored systemic threats. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic just adds up a coincidental layer of meaning on top of a previously conceived project dealing with the weak spots of today’s capitalist societies, art’s powerlessness and the artist’s uncertain condition.