Ioana Sisea works at the borderline between various mediums of artistic expression – ceramics, drawing, installation, sculpture or video – pursuing the perpetual change of position between sign and discourse, by complicating the relationship of the audience with the subject of the gaze. Combining studio work with a rigorous process of conceptualization, Ioana Sisea focuses on the realization of complex series of works whose production usually spans over several years. In 2022, she graduated from the MA program at the Royal College of Art in London and defended her PhD thesis at the University of Art and Design in Cluj- Napoca. Her projects have been presented in solo and group exhibitions at: the Museum of Art, Cluj-Napoca; Royal College of Art, London; Gallery Rosenfeld, London; MAGMA Contemporary Art Space, Sf. Gheorghe; Zina Gallery, Cluj-Napoca or Diehl Gallery, Berlin.

‘Violence isn’t really a disruption of club life
- it’s the climax.’


“I am interested in the extreme states of being that we are taught to aspire to by Western media that if sustained over time create insanity. Luxury, fame, extreme wealth, hyper-sexuality and other physical sensations not felt in ordinary life by ordinary people; the intersection points between capitalism-induced desire, exclusivity, materialism, and violence.

I explore these topics through myths, symbols, rituals, editorials, internet memes and posts, autobiography, paparazzi photos, and other incidental records of personal experience.

As states of consciousness, these sensations are inherently subjective and impossible to share in their totality. By consequence, we tend to hear details about the events that inspire the sensations rather than the sensations themselves.

I use art as a medium to bridge this gap of subjectivity, trying to provide access to the sensory qualia of these extreme states.

This interests me because inequality is generally framed materialistically, in terms of possessions, and rarely in terms of qualia, but, as an increasingly atheist society, the range of sensations we experience is the essential barometer of the quality of our existence.

In, The act of licking a Rolls Royce in its entirety, I intended to create an inequality of qualia since those who didn’t own the car could never lick it and those that did wouldn’t. The work created a confrontation between the uniqueness of my experience and the perceived subjugation or sexualisation of myself that it required, so that it was unclear to the viewer whether I was to be pitied or envied.

The solipsism of these qualia creates enormous tension with social cohesion. Many are associated with taboo activities and harm to others. By giving audiences a deeper experience of the sensation itself, I aim to liberate their judgement from a one-dimensional social-critique, allowing them to consider whether qualia warranted the violation required to attain it.

In Playground of the Rich, I created ceramic sculptures from photographs of exaggerated, staged “non-moments”, deliberately unattainable by anyone else. Bodies are a central feature of these mise-en-scenes and their physical experience of the moment is blasted at the viewer. The shiny lusciousness of stoneware combined with its lumpy texture exaggerates the dichotomy between flesh and glamour, contrasting our shared humanity with our divisive social contexts.”

Ioana Sisea (b. 1988)

PHD studies at the University of the Arts, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art London, UK

BA and MA in drawing at the National University of Arts Bucharest, Romania / 2013

Selected exhibitions:


Kunsthalle Bega - Harvest Time - 2.09 - 30.10.2022 - Timisoara, RO

MNTR+C – “Draw me like one of your french girls…” – 05.2021 – Bucharest, RO

Cazul 101 Gallery – “Who’s afraid of birds?” – 09.2019 – Bucharest, RO

Jecza Gallery – “We are both to blame but it’s more your fault” – 07.2019 – Timișoara, RO

Diehl  Gallery  at Night – 04.2019 – Berlin, DE 

Atelier 35 - “Reputation matters” – 03.2019 – Bucharest, RO

Diehl Gallery – “We are both to blame but it’s more your fault” – 12.2017 – Berlin, DE


AplusA Gallery - SupaStore - 31.08-25.09.2022 - Venice, IT

Rosenfeld Gallery - Introducing Nuno Gil, Dene Leigh, Lydia Makin and Ioana Maria Sisea 3.08 – 8.10.2022 - London, UK

The Visual Art Platform Sibiu - supported by Documenta Fifteen and FITS Sibiu - 27.06.2022, Sibiu, RO

Final Show At Royal College of Art London – 27.06.2022 - London, UK

Zina Gallery - “CRASH” – 20.05.2022 – Cluj- Napoca, RO

Bubble’n’squeak - “Electric Crossroads” – 05.06.2021 – Brussels, BE

OP Enheim – “Every truth has four corners” – 03.2021 – Wroclaw,  PL

Royal College of Art – “WIP” – 01.2021 – London, Uk

National Museum of Contemporary Art – “După doisprezece ani. Producția artistică din România în 180 de lucrări.” – 12.2020 – Bucharest, RO

Magma Gallery – “Future Perfect #1” – 10.2020 – Sf. Gheorghe, RO

Sandwich Gallery – “Double Decker”– 08.2020 – Bucharest, RO

Art Museum Cluj-Napoca  – “RE:START” – 05.2019 – RO
Mogoșoaia Museum – “Aqua Alta” – 05.2019 – Bucharest, RO

Art Museum Cluj-Napoca  – “Blind date” – 2018  –  RO
Ron Arad's curtain call at The Round House  –  2016 – London, UK

︎   ︎  ︎
© Ioana Maria Sisea, 2021