Table of Silence

Cori Rina Oancea’s research explores the EU’s accession process and its impact on gender equality in Romania.

Through art, Rina initiates dialogue and challenges the prevailing narrative. Despite Romania’s EU membership for 16 years, the ongoing accession process includes additional legislation. However, the EU-imposed measures have had limited societal impact, necessitating further action.

Rina’s artwork, “Table of Silence,” draws inspiration from a renowned Romanian piece by sculptor Constantin Brancusi, capturing the moment of Romania’s EU membership and its implications for gender representation.

The artwork intricately portrays multiple narratives, inviting contemplation and reflection. By employing artistic language, Rina aims to address the power dynamics and one-sided gender depictions that influenced the fate of many individuals.

The chairs and table are inspired in terms of shape by the Table of Silence by Constantin Brancusi. Its comprehensible language transcends temporal and spatial barriers and communicates with people of all cultures and ages from Romania. For the European audience, the shape does not make a difference in terms of legacy language but it is evocative on the subject of time passing by.

The chairs have an hourglass shape. They suggest and imply just by taking a place in space that time passes by without being stopped by any inaction or action. The choice of rope as a material was inspired by its historical use in Romanian households, where women used it as a tool for tying and connecting things together. This material symbolizes the important role that women played in their families, keeping everything connected and glued together. The use of this material in the chairs is a nod to this tradition and the importance of the feminine role in maintaining family connections. 

The choosing of six chairs for a table of 12 people is intentional again as it suggests that only half of the
expected people participated and half were left behind, half making decisions for all. The table is crafted from wood, a living material that evolves over time. Its surface is painted with oil, which evokes an old patriarchal method of applying a layer of control over a living material. This highlights the fact that even though wood may be shaped and manipulated, it will always continue to change and evolve under the patriarchal thumb, creating a powerful tension.