Nicu Ilfoveanu

b. 1975

Nicu Ilfoveanu belongs to the first generation of students to graduate from the Photography and Video Department of the National University of Arts in Bucharest.

He began exhibiting shortly after he graduated from high-school in 1994. He is skilled in both photography and video, black and-white photography being his preference, until 2006 when he started to work with colour photography and is currently focusing on it.

” Nicu Ilfoveanu runs the risk of dealing with landscapes in many of his series; in some cases he even runs the risk of revealing its idyllic dimension / idealism (…). He does it with elegance and refinement,” Cosmin Moldovan

Nicu Ilfoveanu, MAMAЯ. На пляже (Mamaia. L’Ultima Spiaggia), 2013 – 2014
Nicu Ilfoveanu, MAMAЯ. На пляже (Mamaia. L’Ultima Spiaggia), 2013 – 2014

”Marta Jecu: Many of your projects are shot in the Romanian countryside. How do you relate to it and what was your approach in these projects?

Nicu Ilfoveanu: There is a common thing for my generation in Romania, to have grandparents in the countryside. Well, I didn’t. But, while I was still a pupil in junior school, my parents bought a summer house, thus I became half peasant, during the holidays. So the relationship with the countryside in my later artistic approach, began for me as a sort of forgotten or, better said, missed childhood, having the sensation of a ‘missed belonging’. One of my first photography series after finishing art studies was entitled Domestic Pictures, and it consists of pictures I took of people without any artistic motivation during long walks in search of landscapes – nature per se. Years later, when I revisited the negatives, I realised that those people I met, and not the beautiful landscapes, were the true impulse in my wanderings – those are unchanged anyway.

M.J.: Why did you decide to work on the two characters Gigi and Valerică?

N.I.:  Actually I didn’t decide myself – it was them coming to me knowing I’m a ‘picture-taker’, so I took their pictures.

M.J.:  How do you view the relationship you established with them?

N.I.:  While it’s about them deciding when we shall have the photo session, all I have to do is to be prepared, which is not so simple, because they come whenever they want the only thing I’m sure about is their unavoidable arrival. They come and I, trained in the artistic field and spoiled by it, recognise in them characters from the history of visual arts. And, since they never ask to see the result, their picture, our relationship is suddenly staged by acting photographically in its purest sense. There is something about this term: ‘taking’ or ‘making’ pictures. I like to say I’m ‘giving’ pictures, which is much more what I’m doing with Gigi and Valerică.

M.J.:  What attracted you in the archive of the MTR, and especially in the periods before and during communism, that you wanted to explore?

N.I.: As a matter of fact, it is the lack of difference between these periods you’ve mentioned, which attracts me in this particular archive. Rurality is not necessarily changed at the level of the image with the advance of the so-called communist age. Rural people simply follow their own path, whereas alteration comes from the centre, that is to say from urban life. To digress: in December 1989 when the Revolution was announced on the national TV station, my parents and I were in the countryside. Almost jumping the fence we rushed into our neighbour’s courtyard to watch the TV (we didn’t have one at that time). Well, they were just sacrificing a Christmas pig (a ritual in Romania), therefore our neighbours said they would come to watch the news as soon as the fat pig was finished. So, for them, ‘the change’ of the revolution had to wait – winter provisions came first.” – Marta Jecu, Q&A to Nicu Ilfoveanu

doubled by an unostentatious sensitivity →
doubled by an unostentatious sensitivity →
Nicu Ilfoveanu, Picturesque, making of, 2010
Nicu Ilfoveanu, Valerică Bienhereux, 2017
Nicu Ilfoveanu, Picturesque, making of, 2010

Active in the field of photography, film and photo-books, Nicu Ilfoveanu is credited with a particular position in Romanian contemporary arts. He graduated from the National University of Arts Bucharest, where he is currently teaching photography.

His work is characterised by an unexpected and unpredictable interplay between personal and documentary, between sublime and trivial, between evidence and hidden‑subjects.

Recent activity includes solo shows for Posibila Gallery (Phantom Inventory, 2022), Galería Mecànic, Barcelona (Electro+, 2018), Mois de la Photo du Grand Paris 2017 (Valerica Bienheureux), Uqbar Project Space, Berlin (Series. Multiples, Realisms, 2014); Arsenal Gallery, Poznan (The Mistaken Present Tense, 2013) and group shows: Ways of Recalling, SwitchLab Bucharest (2022),Crossing the Same Circumstances, Kommunale Galerie Berlin (2021), Enchanting Views, CIVA, Bruxelles (2020), Mesuras, Cerezales Antonino y Cinia Foundation, Leon (2019), Looking Back, Thinking Further, Musee de Beaux Arts Tournai (2019), The Factory of Facts and Other Unspoken Stories, Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest (2016); Vision of a Nation, Fotogalleriet Oslo (2014), Reflection Center for Suspended Histories. An Attempt, the 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2013); 4th Fotofestival, The Eye is a Lonely Hunter, Mannheim /Heidelberg / Ludwigshafen(2011).

Solo Shows

2021 Phantom Inventory, Galeria Posibilă, București

2021 Panorama, Galeria Artep, Iași

2018 Mon Exile, Galeria Posibilă, București

2018 ELECTRO+ redoux, Mecanic, Barcelona

2017 Valerică Bienheureux, Mois de la Photo Paris

2014 Series. Multiples. Realisms., Uqbar Project Space, Berlin, Germany

2014 Working title 1: Valerică – Eau de Vie , Working title 2: Jurgis Lemaire vs Christophe Baltrusaitis, Anca Poterașu Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

2013 The Mistaken Present Tense, Arsenal Gallery, Poznan, Poland

2013 The Present as a misunderstanding, Wozownia Gallery, Torun, Poland

2012 Series. Multiples. Realisms., The Peasant Museum, Bucharest, Romania

2012 Odnalezieni i Utraceni, Miedzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, Krakow, Poland

2010 Commission!, Centre for Visual Introspection, Bucharest, Romania

2009 Steampunk Autochrome, The Contemporary Art Gallery, Sibiu, Romania

2007 BOX-TENGOR, Galeria Posibila, Bucharest, Romania

2007 Radesti-Stefanesti Arges 1996 si Chicago-loop 2006, Galeria Posibila, Bucharest, Romania

2005 Tourist you are the terrorist, Galeria Posibila, Bucharest, Romania

2004 New Pins for Gramophone, Galeria Posibila, Bucharest, Romania

2002 Domestik Pictures, Galeria ArTei, Bucharest, Romania

2002 Marlene die Trich, Tranzit Foundation, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Group Shows

2022 ways of Recalling, SwitchLab, București

2021 Posibil, Sigur, Galeria LABORNA, București

2020 Enchanting Views, CIVA, Bruxelles

2019 Overimpressions, Cosmopolis Program, Centre Pompidou, Paris

2019 Looking Back, Thinking Further, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tournai

2019 Mesuras, Fundación Cerezales Antonino y Cinia, Leon

2018 Remembering Landscape, MNAC, București

2016 The Factory of Facts and Other (Unspoken) Storie, Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest, Romania

2014 Vision of a Nation, Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway

2014 Enchanting Views, MNAC – Dalles Hall, Bucharest, Romania

2014 The Forgotten Pioneer Movement, District Kunst-und Kulturförderung, Berlin, Germany

2014 WHAT ABOUT Y[OUR] MEMORY, MNAC Bucharest, Romania

2014 Învățământul artistic bucureștean și arta românescă după 1950, MNAC Bucharest, Romania

2013 Reflection Center for Suspended Histories. An Attempt, 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy

2013 The limits of technique after the fasteco age, Atelier 030202, Bucharest, Romania

2012 Loc pentru foto, Club Electroputere Bucharest, Romania

2012 Plug to Nature, Project Danube Connection. Story and Glory, ICR, Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria

2012 Picturesque – Avant Cronique, Anca Poterașu Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

2011 4th FOTO-FESTIVAL, Manneim/ Heidelberg/ Ludwigshafen, Germany

2010 PhotoEspana, OpenPHoto section, Cuenca, Spain

2010 Micile iluzii, Galeria Laika, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

2010 European Central Bank Annual Photography Award, MNAC, Bucharest, Romania

2010 Police the Police, META Biennial, Bucharest, Romania

2010 Mostra, UnaGallery, Bucharest, Romania

2009 VoxBox, University of Plymouth, United Kingdom

2008 RoArchive, Karlin Studios, Prague, Czech Republic

2008 European Eyes on Japan, Modern Art Museum Kagoshima, Japan

2008 De Romania, Galeria Canem, Spain

2008 Loop, Bad Gallery, Beijing, China

2007 Inbetweens, CM San Michele in Ripa, Rome, Italy

2007 OverEXposures, Museum of Art, Timisoara, Romania

2007 Bologna Arte Fiera (with Galeria Posibila), Bologna, Italy

2006 SEKUNDEN VOM DER UNGLUCK II, Galerie Centrum, Graz, Austria

2005 Clipe de cosmar, Galeria Atas, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

2004 Roumanie.exe, ESCO FOUND, Paris, France

2004 The Biennial of Young Artists Bucharest, 1st edition, META, Bucharest, Romania

2003 Bucuresti – Bucuresti via Beograd, Remont Gallery, Belgrad, Serbia

2002 Littman & White Galleries, Portland, United States of America

Curatorial Activity

2008 Passato Prossimo, UnaGaleria, Bucharest, Romania

2002 Almost plastik ’cause it’s funatastik, Galeria GALERIA, Bucharest, Romania

2002 Beograd – Beograd via Bucharest, Galeria GALERIA, Bucharest, Romania

2002 Colectia iarna / primavara, Galeria GALERIA, Bucharest, Romania


2022 Neale Azbuirătoare (DoP)

2017 Valea Jiului – Notes (DoP)

2013 Matei, copil miner. (DoP)

2013 Film Postale

2012 DELTA 3

2010 Eleled

2008 And Bob’s Your Uncle

2003 Ed ora raccomanda l’anima a dio

1998 It’s full up, daddy!


2014 Best Romanian Artbook Award, Bucharest, Romania

2012 Best Romanian Artbook Award, Bucharest, Romania

2009 European Central Bank Annual Photography Award for Romania- First Prize

2006 Multimedia Prize – Uniunea Artistilor Plastici, Bucharest, Romania

2005 Art35 Photo Prize, Bucharest, Romania

Art Fairs, Biennals & Workshops

2022 Oberhausen Film Festival

2019 Europalia, Bruxelles

2018 BIEFF, București

2017 Art Encounters, Timișoara

2017 Oberhausen Film Festival

2017 Rencontres Internationales Paris

2016 Lecția naturii, Bucharest Art Week

2016 VOLTA 12 Basel, Switzerland (with Anca Poterasu Gallery)

2016 Artissima, Torino, Italy (with Anca Poterasu Gallery)

2014 ViennaFAIR. The New Contemporary, Vienna, Austria (with Anca Poterasu Gallery)

2013 Centrul de reflecție pentru istorii suspendate, O încercare., the 55th Venice Biennale

2012 Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey (with Anca Poterasu Gallery)

2011 FotoFestival, Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg, Germania

2010 Police the Police, META Biennale, București

2010 Videozone V, Tel-Aviv, Israel

2009 TIFF, Cluj-Napoca

2009 Noaptea Muzeelor si Noaptea Galeriilor, București

2008 “Interventii 3”, Chisinau

2007 “Spazi Aperti”, Roma

2006 ViennaFAIR. The New Contemporary, Vienna, Austria (with Galeria Posibila)


2021 L’Achevé Imprimé

2018 Când ne-am fotografiat.

2018 Bâlci. Călătorie în centrul lumii.

2017 Eau de Vie

2016 O amintire făcută bine

2014 Vederi Încântătoare

2014 Serii. Multiplii. Realisme. / Series. Multiples. Realisms.


2011 Găsiți și pierduți / Found and Lost

2007 Petite Histoire

2007 SteamPunk Autochrome

Other Exhibited Artists