Raluca de Soleil


My practice spans across free verse, photography, video, performance, sound and abstract painting. Thematically, my work explores early life disconnection, body image/sense of self, memory, native language and migration. Using NHS letters, reports and therapy journals, I reclaim
madness and neurodivergence and document my experience as a mental health service user, whilst proposing intuitive approaches to healing psychological trauma. 

My poetry is informed by my background in psychology, neuroscience and clinical research, and carries the tension between the biomedical model and social model of mental illness. Many poems were born from looping songs or film soundtracks guiding my creative process. Other poems act as therapeutic tools for channeling overwhelming emotions, such as thrust faults which was inspired by a train journey to London where all the passangers learnt of a fatal accident occurring a few miles ahead. 

Through photography I document details of daily multisensorial experiences, hyperfixations and brief moments of belonging, as well as distant memories accessed through family archives summoning affective memories of home.

I use sound to study and capture the rhythm and cadence of spoken word and how this evolves between the writing process and recording of the poem.  An example of this is how to block arteries supplying a rapidly expanding neurosis, an audiovisual interpretation of a homonymous poem featured in my debut poetry collection, premiered as part of I can’t afford Forgetting, a  bilingual solo interdisciplinary show that took place in March 2020 at S1 Artspace in Sheffield.

Through performance, I aim to create spaces where the viewer and the performer can be emotionally honest, acknowledge personal-political trauma and discover alternatives to the oppressive structures inhabiting and inhibiting our minds. These were the intentions behind Tales of Emotional Tangles (2019), a 30-minute immersive promenade performance using existing poems and new monologues.

Similarly, the installation and interactive aspect of “I can’t afford Forgetting” invited attendees to sit down in areas resembling a living room, a dining room and a desk, where they were prompted to use the cards provided and share a memory, thought, or feeling triggered by anything in the exhibition space. I continued this dialogue between myself and the attendees by creating new paintings inspired by their anonymous confessions and then shared the work with those who had previously consented. 

In 2021, I worked on a series of poems around queer eros as well as texts that  reimagined narratives repressed since migrating to England in 2012. I completed the poem expulsare in Romanian to relive experiences of sexual liberation and sexual abuse in adolescence. I then translated the poem into English as an intuitive approach to healing, revisiting with emotional distance. This translation process allowed for exploring new poetic forms and meaning. The final version was published by Prototype Publishing London.