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Short Biography

Anca Francesca (Stefanescu, b. Ignatescu in 1974 in Bucharest, Romania; now based in England) has been experimenting with and honing her artistic expression for nearly three decades. Her work defies categorization; her interest in memory, symbols, and perception stems from everyday human experience, in which physical and mental change are unavoidable and interpretation shifts or changes frequently. Stefanescu work examines identity through a spiritual lens. “Without belief in the soundness of my inner world as the only reality, the validity of my work would come undone to myself and would almost certainly not move across the void to the viewer. And I would have to endure an unreal life.” As a multidisciplinary artist, her work in installation, performance, computer animation, visual effects, and painting explores the metaphysical and mystical nature of reality. Stefanescu has frequently refused to assign specific meanings to her work, but she has written about spiritual dimensions, unitive experiences, and emotions. "Both metaphysics and mysticism appear to share hasty similarities—a kind of speculation about grasping universal truth that cannot be refuted or confirmed, one involving a rational and philosophical approach, the other mysterious and intuitive"; thus, she believes in an implicit, inexplicable charge of ideas in works that continuously emits to the viewer. Consequently, she encourages viewers to bring their own experiences to the work and create alternative experiences.

In the last decade, her paintings, which are closely related to diaristic notes and mindfulness meditations, have infused memoir, essay, poetry, and mystical reveries. "The artist plans, and the mystic reveals. "The artist creates; the mystic is a conduit for creation," she asserts. Stefanescu believes that when she explores her inner world, she discovers paradoxes and mysteries that no one could have prophesied. With a strong appreciation for mystery and a sense of the unknown, mystical practice seeks to bring about personal transformation and liberation from ignorance through the pursuit of truth.

Born during the communist era, she was taken away at the age of five months and spent the next seven years with her paternal grandparents in a remote rural setting. Her grandfather encouraged her to begin drawing at an early age. She was accepted into Bucharest's only art school at the age of twelve. In 1999, she graduated from the Bucharest Academy of Arts with degrees in painting and conceptual art. While having been trained as a painter, Stefanescu interrupted painting in 1997 during a public performance and devoted the next decade to performances, film, photo installations, assemblies, site-specific environmental interventions, and writing. She recurrently adopted new mediums, later stating that "change is the key to survival and expansion, not a style or a specific medium." What has always been important to Anca is the conception of the idea—the forceful aggression one can symbolically inflict on oneself in order to remain faithful to inner intentions and impetus in finding ways to direct into a material action what the psyche projected into visions. She was upfront about using writing in performances early in her career. She completed the book "Who Am I?" in 2000, which is a meditation on memory and mind that examines the author's childhood anxiety and depression, using elements of memoir, essay, and poetry. Her writing's distinct intimacy drew the attention of Maria Hlavajova, who selected her for Manifesta 3, titled Borderline Syndrome: Energies of Defence. While still a student, she participated in group events as a militant in the revitalisation of the academic curriculum and as a performer, representing the young women's generation raised under communist dictatorship. The essence of her early art process came out of ideological notions about a woman's entanglements with education, men, money, and children; their private despair leading to drinking, madness, or suicide; and the healing process that can bring spiritual enlightenment.

Following graduation, she worked and experimented with computer animation and visual effects. She discovered the world of CG graphics in the naughties, soon expanding her studio practice. Anca Stefanescu collaborated as a DI Colourist and art director on vanguard commercials and with Postproduction Houses for short films, films, and music videos.

Concerned with the common belief developed in Romania under the most brutal Communist regime in Eastern Europe that described art as elitist, enigmatic, and "indigestible,” in 2013, she created the project Love Art-Wear Art, being the co-founder of two art-fashion brands. Her main focus was on the idea of making limited-edition or unique wearable art items that blurred boundaries between art and fashion, transforming her paintings into wearable art objects, hand-made pieces of bags, and accessories for women.

In the last decade, her painting process has become a search for the true self, the divine countenance, conveying ideas about parallel worlds and spiritual dimensions, using paintbrush strokes, marks, signs, or any of the symbols of an alphabet as ‘high-frequency vibrations translated into colours’. Her inspiration is a synthesis of world religions, theosophy and spiritualism, sciences, and colour theory. Emphasising the mystical experience, she holds that there is a deeper spiritual reality and that direct contact with the truth can be established through intuition, revelation, meditation, or some other state transcending habitual human perception.

Instead of painting external realities, the artist depicts inner spiritual experiences. Her working process reflects the divisions of consciousness expressed as intersections of corporeal reality, dream state, transcendental meditation, memory construction, noise, and silence, known and unknown. ‘When I create, I am like in a dream state, and I ideate not just objects to be looked at but an extension of my inner state and an out-of-body experience that will give the viewer glimpses from another dimension. Paintings are solidified feelings on canvas, and when the observer is looking at them, the feeling is again motion, moving out of the painting into the beholder’s perception. I believe in this perfect continuum, and all I care for are the emotions that I express through my intuition. Our thoughts and emotions are vibrations, and just like the colours, they are the universal language that everyone instinctively understands.’ Stefanescu's work is about the potential of the subconscious mind, perceived as the contrast between expansive and contractive, masculine and feminine, restraint and flow, perception and illusion, and channelling her dreams, visions, and revelations into the painted works. Situated in the field of metaphysical studies, her work portrays the liminal space between the physical world and the mind, aiming to awaken the viewer to a state of enlightenment through the mystical properties of colour and form.

"I think change is the key to survival and expansion. Most often, it may be painfully perceived, but it forces ideas to mature into temporal realisations. It is energy channelled into material action. I see change as a challenge, and I make it the very substance of my art. Every new series must reflect the creative process rather than a pre-existing mode of expression. Ideas, intentions, and emotions must subdue the style. I simply need to push my imagination through my body. My work has to passionately interest me." 


1994–1999, National University of Arts (UNArte), Bucharest, Romania

1987–1993, Art High School, N. Tonitza, Bucharest, Romania.

2010–2011, Soho Editors Talent & Training, London (visual effects, finishing, and colour grading software)


Solo Exhibitions

2021, The Innocent Perception, Eclectic Gallery, London, United Kingdom

2020, The Need of Belonging, Romanian Cultural Institute, London, United Kingdom

2019, Breathing Space, Open Studio Exhibition, London

2016, Bitter or Sweeter, Installation, Molecule-F, Bucharest, Romania

2015, LOVE ART - WEAR ART, Installation, Molecule-F, Bucharest, Romania

2014, ZOO, Entrance, Bucharest, Romania



2018, Biennial Larnaca, Cyprus, Multiple Locations

2017, RomArt Biennial, The International Biennial of Art and Culture in Rome, Italy

2017, Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy

1998, IntermediArt – Contemporary Art Biennial, Oradea, Romania


Selected Group Exhibitions

2023, Nature, ArTbridge & ArtMoorHouse, Moore House Building, London, United Kingdom

2023, The Annual Salon of UK-based Romanian Artists, Romanian Cultural Institute, London, United Kingdom

2022, We Are What We See, Glimpses, Shoreditch, London

2023, Floral Patterns, Eclectic Gallery, 16 Newman St., London, United Kingdom

2022, Colours of Autumn, Eclectic Gallery, 16 Newman St., London, United Kingdom

2021, Abstraction and Perception, Eclectic Gallery, 16 Newman St., London, United Kingdom

2020, Resilience, Pop-Up Exhibition, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom

2020, Wiltshire Creative Summer Open Exhibition, Salisbury Arts Centre, Salisbury, United Kingdom

2020, Solo Exhibition, The Need of Belonging, Romanian Cultural Institute, London, United Kingdom

2019, The Other Art Fair London, Art Fair by Saatchi Art, London, United Kingdom

2019, The Brick Lane Gallery, Contemporary Painting Exhibition, London, United Kingdom

2018, Biennale Larnaca, Cyprus

2018, Sunny Art Prize Exhibition, London, United Kingdom

2018, NAG Art Gallery, Contemporary Exhibition, San Lorenzo Church, Florence, Italy

2018, World Art Dubai, Contemporary Art Fair, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

2018, Jorge Jurado Gallery, Art Show, Bogota, Columbia

2018, ART Innsbruck, International Art Fair, Innsbruck, Austria

2017, THE ROOM Gallery, Contemporary Art Space, Venice, Italy

2017, Spectrum/Red Dot Miami, Contemporary Art Show, Miami, FL, USA

2017, RomArt Biennial, The International Biennial of Art and Culture in Rome, Italy

2017, Florence Biennale, Florence, Italy

2017, Alchemic Body | Fire. Air. Water. Earth, Jorge Jurado Gallery, Art Festival, Bogota, Columbia

2017, Anima Mundi Visions, Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi Gallery, It's Liquid International Art Festival, Venice, Italy

2017, Femininity Art Online Exhibition, International Gallery of the Arts, Toronto, ON, Canada

2016, Bitter or Sweeter, Installation @ Molecule-F Concept Store, Bucharest, Romania

2015, LOVE ART, WEAR ART, Installation @ Molecule-F Concept Store Bucharest, Romania

2014, Art & Fashion, Entrance Concept Store, Bucharest, Romania

2014, Romanian Design Week, "Timeless Collection," Anca Stefanescu X Alina Gavrila, Bucharest, Romania

2013, Book Cover Tee, Chapter 3, Bucharest, Romania

2010, Opening of the new Gandy Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia

2004, 20 Minutes of Glory, Video Installation, MNAC Centre, Bucharest, Romania

2001, Five Stories, New Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

2000, Other P’Art, Mission Art Gallery, French Institute, Polish Institute, M.A.M.Ü. Galley, Budapest, Hungary

2000, Studio 498, Eforie Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

2000, Other P’Art International, Art Camp, Tihany, Hungary

1999, Urban Feelings – Urban Facts, Graz-Maribor, Austria-Slovenia

1999, Selected at the Contemporary Art Biennial Manifesta 3 Ljubljana, Slovenia 1998

1999, IntermediArt – Contemporary Art Biennial, Oradea, Romania

Selected Publications

COLECTA The Art Magazine, April/June 2021

Le Monde Diplomatique, September 2020, pag. Cover, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Aesthetica, April/May 2018, issue 81, pag. 158

NAG Gallery - Arte Contemporanea 2018, p. 56–63

Anima Mundi - ITS Liquid International Art Show Venice 2017

Federation of Canadian Artists, Annual International Representation 2017

Aesthetica Feb/Mar 2018 issue 81, pag. 158

Aesthetica Dec/Jan 2018 issue 80, pag. 157

Exhibition Catalogue, The Room Gallery, Venice, 2017

Glamour UK, vol. 6, June 2017, p. 206

Art & Beyond Chicago, USA, vol. 45, May-June 2017, p. 26

Glamour UK, vol. 6, June 2017, p. 206

Glamour UK, vol. 5, May 2017, p. 198

Glamour UK, vol. 4, April 2017, p. 202

Unica Romania, vol. 7, July 2016, p. 51

Beaumonde Romania, vol. 12, December 2015, p. 71

Villa Design, Romania, vol. 5, June-November 2011, p. 56–63, p. 162 (back cover)

Opening, published by Gandy Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia, 2010

Exhibition Catalogue, published by Other P’Art, M.A.M.Ü. Galley, Budapest, Hungary, 2000

Observatorul Cultural, Art Magazine, Romania, 1999


Most recent interviews:

Oneness: Anca F. Stefanescu, November 29, 2020, by Burnt Orange City [read the article]

The emotional gradations of my colours, curator Marta Grabowska, Red Zenith Collective, 2020 [read the article]

Anca Stefanescu, Curaty's Artist of the Week, VI, June 18, 2020 [read the article]

Q&A with Artist Anca Stefanescu, September 30, 2019, Ken Bromley Art Supplies [read the article] 


2015–2018 Co-Founder & Designer, COML Ltd., London, UK

2013–2015, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Diorama Concept, London, UK

2004–2015, DI Colourist, Multimedia Est, Bucharest, Romanian Production and Post Production House

1997–2002, VFX artist, Abis Studio, Bucharest, Romania

Anca Stefanescu - A Steam of Life, 2024 Catalogue

Anca Stefanescu - A Steam of Life, 2024 Catalogue
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