Alexandra Chiriac

Published: 26 August 2015

‘Oriental Constructivism’? The Search for Modernity in Decorative & Applied Arts in Interwar Bucharest

University of St Andrews

‘Oriental Constructivism’? The Search for Modernity in Decorative & Applied Arts in Interwar Bucharest

Academic History:

2015 - 2018    Doctoral candidate in History of Art, University of St Andrews

2011 - 2012    MA History of Art, Courtauld Institute of Art - Dissertation: 'Femininities in private & public spaces: Sonia Delaunay & Cecilia Cutescu-Storck'

2005 - 2009    Graduate Certificate in History of Art & Certificate of Higher Education in History of Art (part-time), Birkbeck University of London - Dissertation: "Genius has no sex": Do Edvard Munch & Frida Kahlo represent the polarity of the archetypal male & female artist?'

1999 - 2003    BBA (hons) European Management & French, Lancaster University & Reims Management School


Dr Jeremy Howard

Dr Karen Brown

Research Interests:

My doctoral research aims to examine the history of applied arts & design in interbellum Bucharest, highlighting the interchanges between modernist movements in Eastern & Western Europe. Existing research in the field has focused on the emergence of the historicist neo-Romanian style & as a result the history of decorative & applied arts in Romania has become subsumed with that of traditional crafts. Through my research I wish to address this imbalance by excavating the contribution made by Romanian artists to international design practices & pedagogy, including the creation of a Bauhaus-inspired Academy of Decorative Arts, the foundation of artist-led design studios, & the emergence of ground-breaking exhibitions & publications produced in collaboration with members of the Western avant-gardes. It is my intention to add to the growing number of works that expand the definition of modernism away from Western European practices, emphasising the mobility of the international avant-gardes & the shifting boundaries between the applied & fine arts.

Previous Research Projects:

Prior to embarking on my PhD I curated exhibitions & public programmes for GRAD, a non-profit cultural platform for Russian & Eastern European arts based in London. One of the exhibitions I co-curated on Soviet design, entitled 'Work & Play behind the Iron Curtain', was selected by the Guardian as one of the top 10 design exhibitions of 2014.


2015 - 2018 AHRC DTP Studentship


  • 'Fedor Lopukhov & The Bolt', Aug 2016
    In the journal Studies in Theatre & Performance. Based on a conference paper presented at The Russian Avant-Garde Theatre, War, Revolution & Design symposium at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London 
  • 'Bolt', Dec 2014
    Co-producer & editor of an iPad app & website created to accompany the exhibition 'Bolt' at GRAD, London
  • 'Soviet Cinema and the Age of Mechanical Reproduction', Jan 2014
    In the exhibition catalogue Kino/Film: Soviet Posters of the Silent Screen, edited by Alexandra Chiriac & Elena Sudakova, London: GRAD
  • 'Soviet Textiles: Between Communism & Commerce', Jun 2013
     In the exhibition catalogue See USSR. Intourist Posters & the Marketing of the Soviet Union, edited by Elena Sudakova, London: GRAD

First published: 26 August 2015