Maria Gutu
Documentary photographer
Multimedia artist

Maria Gutu is a visual artist working with photography and collage, from Moldova, Republic of. In 2020 she graduated from Academy of Arts in Chisinau, film image studies. In 2018 she became one of 30 under 30 women photographers Artpil, in 2020 she became a finalist of The people photo award by The Independent Photographer.In her photography and collage works she explores the post-soviet territory, her country, remote places and the relation between humans and environment.



The Homeland project seeks out the connections between young people from the northern Republic of Moldova and their surrounding scenery. One third of Moldova's population has emigrated, and the number of young citizens leaving only increases each year. Thus, Maria Guțu's project is a poetic quest for roots, for

a home whose meaning always changes, even in the understanding of children.

Place to Disappear

In late 2016 I began to explore areas near me. One kilometre from my home there is a village founded in the 19th century by a group of Poles led by Michał Wojewódzki. Its name has changed over time from Dușmanii Mici to Elizavetovca, and since 1911 it is known as Stârcea. It lies in Glodeni County, in the north of the Republic of Moldova. Here I made friends with a group of children who started to lead me on tours around the village, from deserted houses full of dust with religious icons on the floor to the village church, still considered a tourist attraction, and also serving as the village’s only public building. What impressed me the most was the lake, isolated from the rest of the village and, in that season, completely covered with a thick sheet of ice, just right for skating. Around the lake, the scenery was reminiscent of Kerouac’s novels: a small blue cabin – former food store, now someone’s home – with its annexes, dogs, cattle and many unidentified objects, a chaos harmoniously nestled in nature. Here I met Victor, a fisherman, and Gheorghe, a farmer. We went out walking with the dogs, then woodcutting, and I listened to their stories about ice fishing. Gheorghe is 25 and lives here. He came to work in Stârcea a few years ago, when the farm had a different owner. He had planned to stay for a year or two, then go work in Russia. But he never left. Some of the lake’s rare visitors are fishermen who come every two or three days. Sparsely populated in winter, the lake is a space into which you can dissolve and disappear at will.


I started to make collages as a way of playing,” says Moldovan photographer Maria Guțu. “For me, collages are like photos created without a camera.Indeed, Guțu says, she partly started making collages out of frustration that she didn’t own a camera four years ago. Since 2016, she has focused on documentary photography, but she might return to the art of collage-making now that the coronavirus pandemic is temporarily isolating us into our homes. “They are like meditation.”

Guțu’s collages include both conceptual, repetitive elements and social critique, as well as an interest

in existential and psychological truths.Many use vintage Soviet and German magazines found in second-hand bookshops and flea markets. Guțu says she became fascinated by the idealised socialist world these publications depicted, a place she only knew from her older relatives’ nostalgic memories. Yet Guțu’s collages also resist glamourising the past.

On the contrary, while some works place alienated human being

in their different environments — from domineering socialist modernist blocks of flats and busy construction sites to sparse rural gardens and beautiful nature — others directly engage with the multiple gazes over, and facets of, the female body and experience. This wide range of themes and eras depicted in the artworks creates fresh ways of remembering the past, and thinking the present.

Text: Paula Erizanu

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