11

Another house in a long row of houses, another courtyard gate opens. Vasilică, a wood carver, welcomes us with a big hello, pats our shoulders and kisses our hands. In the passageway, antlers hang on the wall, each mounted on a wooden disc decorated with carvings. Opposite, an almost life-size wooden figure of Christ is leaning against the wall, arms spread out, without a cross. Next to it, an axe. Vasilică invites us into the courtyard and shoos two little dogs away. They growl and cower under a blue Opel, Vasilică's old car. We are here to look at chairs. He reproduces historical models found in the local museum. Low and rather crudely made, the charm of these pieces comes from the shape of the backrests. With their holes and incisions, they are reminiscent of human faces, both happy and fierce ones. There is a lot of back and forth in Romanian, Vasilică likes to use many words and gesticulate. The material doesn’t yet quite work as he has used different types of wood in one chair. Dimensions are also discussed. The two little dogs bark, one crawls up to us and is chased away again. Even when we’re back outside on the sloping street in front of the big gate, we can still hear them yapping.

Text:  Jasmin Jouhar
Photo(s): Nafez Rerhuf