22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Ileana Surducan

Portrait Ileana Surducan
© privat

Ileana Surducan, born in 1987 in Cluj-Napoca, is a Romanian artist and comic illustrator. After studying ceramics at the art academy in Cluj and spending a semester abroad at L’Ecole Supérieure des Arts Saint-Luc in Liege, she turned increasingly to illustrated storytelling, but also expresses herself in other forms, ranging from illustrations to ceramic art. She already became interested in comics as an adolescent, learning French with the help of imported comics that she discovered at the French cultural centre in her home town.

She released her first own comic in 2007 on the website »30 jours de BD«. Inspired by a workshop she had attended, she began to publish the fazine »Glorioasa Fanzină« with her sister Maria: »We wanted to make the Romanian public familiar with comics and show that they are not only for children.« In 2010, she was one of the co-founders of the Cluj Comics Club, which brought together comic illustrators from the region and from all over Romania. Many of Ileana Surducan’s works get by without the use of words and often use fantastical and mythological motifs. Her drawing style is marked by flowing, dynamic strokes, which are supported by a lively, often spontaneous seeming use of watercolours. She has a poetic narrative tone and her use of surrealistic elements is reminiscent of illustrators like Joann Sfar and Shaun Tan, who are among her role models. In her wordless comic short stories, Ileana Surducan relies on the power of picture sequences which remind one at first glance of classic fairytales. They attract the reader with their visual beauty, only to surprise with unexpected turns and original ideas. »No matter what medium I use, it is important for me to tell a story. I want to take the reader on an imaginary journey.« This, she says, is only possible as long as the medium is able to communicate a multi-layered narrative. 2009 saw the release of »Edouard le renardeau« (tr. Edward the young fox), her first longer comic story for young readers. Her most important book to date is the graphic novel »Le Cirque« (scheduled 2014; tr. The circus). This fairytale-like story is about a man who dreams of becoming a chair trainer because he knows that the supposedly lifeless chairs are fantastic creatures, with personalities and acrobatic potential. He lives in a city ruled by reason, which has no place for such absurd ideas. But just outside its gates, he finds a magical circus that brings together reality and fantasy, where he could live out his passion.

A great many shorter works by Ileana Surducan have also appeared in Romanian, French and Polish comic anthologies and fanzines as well as on the Internet. She has had exhibitions in Cluj and New York.