Fading order: stories of life and decay


This project started with the fascination for woodshingles roofs of traditional houses in Nucșoara village, Argeș district, Romania. Actually, it started when I had to replace the old wood shingles of the roof of the small house I bought in the village. I witnessed the complete process of putting new wood shingles on the house and, more interesting, the way the wooden roof changed in time: from the honey colour of the new shingles to the silver grey tone after some years. I noticed the way the wood roof changed in different seasons or weather conditions – from the shiny look in the sun, to the dark, almost black nuances in the rain; from the crisp definition of the geometric pattern in summer days to the subtle greys in a cloudy light of spring, or the extreme contrast with the snow or white frost. In few years the perfect order of the shingles on the roof of my house was interrupted by small accidents of broken wood or cracks. Then I begin to document wooden roofs from the village – some of them very old and deteriorated. The older they were – the order was less and less visible. Soon I discover some of the peasants huts or barns that were almost deserted – in different degrees. Some of them hidden by vegetation or trees. The wood structures were almost invisible behind the young, fresh bushes growing around. The conflict of order and decay revealed its dynamic over time when I return year after year to see the same houses or huts. Nucșoara was a wood based society and I tried to capture the beauty of this material in different shapes and forms in connection with time and nature. Every year the peasants fight with the elements, trying to keep order inside their homes and gardens. In spring they fix their fences, clean and work their land. In summer they make hay and repair the wooden damaged roofs. When somebody gets old and cannot do the physical work anymore, his garden and house are taken back by nature, various plants and trees are growing bigger and bigger and what it use to be a hut or a barn for the hay gets lost in vegetation and becomes deserted. I realise that order and life go together. And disorder is the sign of decay, death and dissolution. I found beauty in the way these people humbly fight for order, I found beauty in the way nature and time fights back and I found inspiration in telling the story of this ongoing interaction.