Golden Dream, Glass Painting; and a Note on Art Galleries in Downtown Bucharest

Whether you’re an art aficionado or not, I think you may find you’ll enjoy some of the art galleries in downtown Bucharest on your next trip here. Entrance is free and I guarantee you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. I am amazed myself every time I go for a leisure stroll and stop at Artmark or Galateca or Cercul Militar / Military Circle (the latter one where Victoriei Blvd crosses Regina Elisabeta Blvd, close to University Square). I had another favorite gallery on Victoriei Blvd, but unfortunately it closed down sometime this year. Other galleries I invite you to explore are Elite Art Gallery close to Unirii Square and Art Yourself Gallery near Romana Square.

All of these spaces showcase contemporary art, but Artmark also has an impressive collection of 19th-century art (along with collections of various objects they sell at auction) which rivals in many ways that of the National Art Museum (not in size, of course) and is free to visit. So you have nothing to lose; give it a try! Artmark’s building lies close to the National Art Museum, on a street (C.A. Rosetti) which connects Victoriei Bldv to Magheru Blvd.

Here’s a photo from my last promenade in the area, when I caught some contemporary pieces right after the official close of an exhibition.

#Supercontemporary exhibition of contemporary art at Artmark Auction House in Bucharest

 

And here’s an amazing piece from yesterday’s walk, when I swung by Cercul Militar and caught a glass painting exhibition by Elena Cioclu. The two images presented here are on show until August 5. My favorite is Golden Dream. It includes not only a cross, a (church) bell and angels, but also an axis mundi (through the cross), a liminal circular area which includes references to vegetation and organic forms, and a spiritual realm where angels support the structure of this world, including by holding on to the edges of the bell (and therefore helping it move in the world). The color composition is also intriguing, with golden, blue, and turquoise hues (which I haven’t captured very well) and with a more intense, orange reddish dot at the center of the cross, in a blue square. This bit is very significant, as it may refer both to the human nature of Christ and to His sacrifice; also to the intensity of the center that holds all things together.

Note as well the circle around the meeting point of the arms of the cross,  which is an ancient symbol of the Sun adopted by the Celts; given that it’s also split in four, it also references, just as crosses do, the four corners of the Earth and the four elements that—at least in Western symbolism—make up this world (earth, water, air, and fire). And if you don’t see any symbols of the Trinity, keep you hair on: the vertical arm of the cross is flanked by three beams on each side, making up a total of seven, which among other things (the seven days of Creation, for one) is said to represent the unity between the Holy Trinity and the created world.

Golden Dream sells for €1800.

Golden Dream (

Golden Dream (“Vis de aur”), glass painting by Elena Cioclu

 

NB: I had to take the photos at an angle because I developed a smudge on my camera lens (can’t fix it) and also this is glass, so I didn’t want my profile reflected in the photos.

Balance (

Balance (“Echilibru”), glass painting by Elena Cioclu

 

If the above two pieces are too spiritually charged for you, I’ll leave you with a photo of marigolds from nearby Cișmigiu Park to cleanse your palate 🙂

Marigolds in Cismigiu Park, downtown Bucharest

Marigolds in Cișmigiu Park in downtown Bucharest
Advertisements

Lucia Lobonț, Moody Pictures

I love the aesthetics of Lucia Lobonț’s ceramics, whether they be tamer decorative pieces, moody portraits, or mixed-media-informed collage-like compositions with more recognizable use of decalcomania (Here’s an example of the latter.)

I discovered Lucia Lobonț about a week ago at Elite Art Gallery in downtown Bucharest, where she had two portraits and a mirror frame on show. Here’s one of the portraits and part of the mirror.

Lucia Lobont_Reflection and Portrait

Lucia Lobonț, Reflection and Portrait
Glazed Ceramics

In the piece to the right, I’m drawn to the economy of gestures in marking shadows and red cheeks, and, of course, the moody tone, set by those wonderful droopy eyes, the chubby chins, the quirkily curved lips, and the full ovals of the faces.

Ion Iancuț’s Light Seekers

Earlier this month I saw Ion Iancuț’s personal exhibition Light Seekers (sculpture and pastels) at Senso Gallery here in Bucharest.

Most of the works were quite memorable, as I expected. Here are some of them.

Ion Iancut_Light Seekers_Senso_June 2018

Light Seekers, 2017
Bronze
44 x 77 x 6.5 cm (17.32 x 30.31 x 2.55 in)

Look how these Light Seekers seem to rest on their walking sticks, as if they had found something like Archimedes’s fulcrum (“Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”).

Alternatively, I see them pointing down from the sky with sticks like diving rods—rods which point us to the light hidden in our earthly lives, under our worries, disbelief, and general lack of interest in higher forms of existence we could embrace . . . if we only paid attention to the many fulcrums in our paths which could help rise us aloft.

Ion Iancut_Accordion_Senso_June 2018

Accordion, 2017
Bronze
17.5 x 47 x 42 cm (6.88 x 18.50 x 16.53 in)

 

Ion Iancut_the Archers_Senso_June 2018

The Archers, 2017
Bronze
78.5 x 35 x 49 cm (30.90 x 13.77 x 19.29 in)

 

Ion Iancut_Tired Angel_Senso_June 2018

Tired Angel, 2017
Bronze
43 x 32 x 10 cm (16.92 x 12.59 x 3.93 in)

 

Ion Iancut_Star Seeker_Senso_June 2018

Star Seeker [n.d.]
Pastel on colored cardboard
70 x 50 cm (27.55 x 19.68 in)

Ion Iancuț was born in Răducăneni, Iași county. He graduated from the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest in 1974.

Watercolors by Ioana Nicoara

IMG_20171128_145835_ioana nicoara_annart_bucharestIMG_20171128_145818_sm_ioana nicoara_annart_bucharestIMG_20171128_145840_sm_ioana nicoara_annart_bucharest

Watercolors by Ioana Nicoara, AnnArt Gallery, Bucharest, November 2017

Upon seeing them, I had the sense right away that they visualize inner life. Inner life of the cells, or, barring that (cell life looks different: more geometric and compact), the life of our emotions permeating us like breaths or whooshing over us, coming together with neurons firing sparks of thought and cells responding to all that energy, electric . . .

Dumitru Radu, Echo

dumitru radu_senso_IMG_20171213_145548
Dumitru Radu, Echo, [year?], Senso Art Gallery, Bucharest, December 2017
Bronze and marble
30 x 30 x 30 cm
€3,500

dumitru radu_senso_IMG_20171213_145603

This figure doesn’t move inside the bell, so it’s not quite a bell clapper, but with its trumpet and openings in its body suggests to me someone who has embraced a certain space of meaning—certain themes from the past, for instance—and turns to that space—that of the bell—to amplify his concerns in a certain way, his voice growing in the echo of others who have worked before him (in this respect, to me the bell he’s echoing into could be the trumpet of a predecessor like him).

This type of bell is, in fact, in Dumitru Radu’s oeuvre some kind of funnel, one that brings us in and out of existence, and also a musical instrument through which the music of God resonates. For more about this approach see this presentation by Luiza Barcan at Simeza Art Gallery in Bucharest in 2014. (The talk is in Romanian but the video shows many of Radu’s recent sculptures.)

Spiritual Bucharest and Crazy Bucharest

I went to visit several artist workshops last weekend, as this month over 70 artists In Bucharest and Mogosoaia are opening their premises to visitors on weekends on the occasion of the George Enescu Classical Music Festival.

One of the artists I visited was graphic artist Carmen Paraschivescu. Her workshop is filled with intricate designs in mixed media, the ornamental tracery pinning down vivid, effusive inspiration. Here are two works she did for an art salon on Bucharest. They are titled Spiritual Bucharest and Crazy Bucharest.

IMG_0622_sm Spiritual Bucharest

IMG_0628_sm

IMG_0630_sm
Spiritual Bucharest (detail)

IMG_0632_sm
Spiritual Bucharest (detail)

 

IMG_0623_sm Crazy Bucharest

And here are two other works of hers

IMG_0619_sm

IMG_0621_sm

Carmen Paraschivescu will open her workshop next weekend too, so if you’d like to have a look at these pieces, she’ll be happy to receive you for a chat and a glass of wine at Str. Doamnei nr. 5 (the tower on the corner of Academiei and Doamnei streets) between 12 noon and 8 p.m.

IMG_0636_sm

“I like the search, the constant tearing apart of landmarks.”—Ciprian Istrate

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of seeing Ciprian Istrate’s exhibition A’TOPIA at Galateca in downtown Bucharest. His portraits are arresting—which is no surprise given that he painted church murals for twenty years. Have a look for yourself! I could see speed, assurance, and “mirror eyes,” as the curator Iulia Gorneanu dubbed them, eyes which draw our attention in so many ways, and every time with a vigorous intensity which both pulls us in and keeps us at a distance as if in awe of their presence.

IMG_0413_ciprian istrate_portraits_galateca
Ciprian Istrate, A’TOPIA, Galateca

IMG_0451_ciprian istrate_two portraits_galateca
Bride in Times of War

IMG_0415_ciprian istrate_angel during war
Angel During War