Artist exploring the self care, new food and wellness industries.
My name is Diana Gheorghiu. I am a Romanian visual artist living and working in the Netherlands. I graduated in 2019 from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, within the Photography department. My output comprises computer-generated characters - almost always female-presenting, stemming from my experiences as a woman - which are framed within static images, videos, and installations. They are usually taking care of themselves in a detached manner, their bodies contorting, being deformed, and performing themselves. Their dissociated selves illustrate a form of personhood that has subsumed the body to a regimes of control in the face of an uncertain world. I use these computer-generated characters to explore the topics of self-care, new food, and the wellness industry.
According to the World Health Organization, health is not defined as the absence of disease, but as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. It’s no coincidence that the wellness industry has blossomed in the past 50 years, sculpted as it is by the economic mechanisms of neoliberalism and the subtle move from societal responsibility for one’s health and wellbeing towards individual responsibility. The wellness industry brings together several economic sectors, among which: personal care, beauty and anti-aging, healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss, fitness and mind-body, the spa economy as well as workplace wellness. Overall, the wellness industry is said to be valued at around $4.5 trillion globally, according to the Global Wellness Institute and data compiled in 2018.
My interest in the field was born out of a personal drive. The topic hung heavy, following the cancer diagnosis of my grandmother, in 2005, when I was only 20 years old. At the time I observed her attempts to make diet and lifestyle changes, at the advice of doctors, to keep her illness under control. In an attempt to pre-emptively take control of my own body, while I didn’t think I had a reason to improve my health at the time, I started to fast, detox, cleanse, go to acupuncture, do herb diets, a liquid diet as well as a vegan one. The practice of wellness, without a major personal motivator, subject to the whims of my youth, became episodic. I was, in parallel to it, living a life of excess - a weekend of serious partying would be followed by a trip to the sauna. Submerged as I was in these practices I turned them into my research into the overarching philosophy of wellness and I’ve gradually inserted myself into online communities that promote healthy lifestyles as well as read up in-depth on the topic.
Ultimately, my work offers a critique of the pressure on the individual that wellness establishes. I believe that the pressure of choosing and safeguarding our health provokes a sense of guilt and anxiety. By focusing on our self-satisfaction, I think we end up in a situation where people feel constantly anxious, where bonds between people are broken down and any sense of solidarity is crushed.
Throughout the years my artistic output has been shown in The Netherlands, Italy, and Romania. My first solo show took place in 2020 at Pulchri Gallery in The Hague and my work has been featured in i-D Netherlands, ALT Magazine, Glamour, and CUTRA.
I’ve also been commissioned by De Correspondent and Platform BK to illustrate articles published on their website, and by Humanity House to create an exhibition with the occasion of the Netherlands being part of the UN Security Council in 2018.
In 2019 I was part of the Apprentice Master program organized by KunstpodiumT, under the guidance of Nathalie Hartjes, director of MAMA Rotterdam. I am currently funded by the Mondriaan Fund under the Start Stipendium scheme and will take part in the Prospects 2023 show, at the Van Nelle Fabriek, in Rotterdam.
2015-2019 – Royal Academy of Art, Photography Department, The Hague, KABK, NL
2011 – SAE Institute Media, 3D & Animation Course, NL
2010 – SAE Institute Media, VJ Visual Production Course, NL
2004-2008 – National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Communication and PR, SNSPA, RO
2022 – 15 Jan-13 Feb, Virtual Virality, Online Intimacy and Digital Detox, Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam, NL
2021 – 11-21 Nov, If it fools you, it is not fake, Tetem, Enschede, NL
2021 – 24 Sept, Morning Routine with Kexin Hao & Diana Gheorghiu , PIP Expo, The Hague, NL
2021 – 08 Sept–09 Oct, The Current Affair of Some Young Romanian Artists , Ivan Gallery, Cazul 101, Bucharest, Ro
2020 – 05–29 Sept, Untired, Pulchri Studio, The Hague, NL (Solo Show)
2020 – 25 May–7 June, Miranda, Apprentice Master, Kunstpodium T, Tilburg, NL
2020 – 05 Jan–29 Febr, Baitball 01, Like A Little Disaster / Harlesden High Street, Polignano a Mare (Bari), IT
2019 – 02 Aug–01 Sept, Arty Party: Photography Exhibition #2, Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam, NL
2019 – 5–11 Jul, Graduation Festival, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL
2019 – 21–23 Jun, SUB, Suprainfinit Gallery, Bucharest, RO
2019 – 23–28 May, Push It To The Limit, Melkweg Expo, Amsterdam, NL
2019 – 14 Mar, PPS 4, AiciAcolo Gallery, Cluj-Napoca, RO
2018 – 18 Dec–20 Jan, Security in Pictures, Humanity House, The Hague, NL
2018 – 15 Dec, Night of the Conflict, Theater aan het Spui, The Hague, NL
2018 – 25–30 Jan, Noun Presents Good Work, Grey Space in the Middle, The Hague, NL
2017 – 24 Mar, Noun Presents, VSVU, Bratislava, SK
2020 – Cover for Cutra magazine, Romanian intersectional feminist magazine
2019 – kunstenaar diana gheorghiu wil dat we stoppen met streven naar perfectie / I D Netherlands
2018 – ALT Magazine, de Alternatieve Veiligheidsraad
De Correspondent | “Sommige coronapatiënten zijn maanden later nog ziek. Waar zijn zij in het coronabeleid?“, by Sanne Blauw, (2020)
The Correspondent | “Why the world can get worse by constantly saying it’s getting better”, by Nesrine Malik, (2020) (published also in De Correspondent)
De Correspondent | “Onze favoriete fictieboeken voor in je strandstoel“, by Rosan Smits, (2019)
De Correspondent | “Een documentaire over het beste festival dat nooit plaatsvond. En nog 7 kijktips voor de zomer.”, by Rosan Smits, 2019
De Correspondent | “Naar deze podcasts luisteren onze correspondenten“, by Rosan Smits, (2019)
Spam Index | “WELL, WELL, WELL”, collaborative project with Alina Lupu, (2019)
Humanity House | Still Life with Bird Crashing a Wall, The Hague, 2018
MONDRIAAN Stipendium for Emerging Artists 2021
STROOM Den Haag PRO Research, 2021
Bartalk #23, Hype, “Wellness industries trends” | speaker.
Apprentice Master 2019, Master: Nathalie Hartjes | together with Lola Safari and Yung Nora, a project initiated by Kunstpodium T, Tilburg