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.
Spiritual Bucharest (detail)
Spiritual Bucharest (detail)
And here are two other works of hers
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.
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.
Marian Ionescu of the band Direcţia 5 has had his first painting exhibition this year at the largest contemporary art fair in Romania, Art Safari. He then exhibited at ARCUB. Here’s one of my favorite paintings of his show there. It’s titled Urban, and for some reason reminds me of Keith Haring’s lines. It also speaks to me of how we try to impose rational lines onto a city to oppose its organic growth, and how at the end the fabric of that city is a jumbled mixture of lines that make up a palimpsest of its urban history.
Here’s a work I saw at Senso Gallery in Bucharest last fall, and the beginning of a poem I wrote about it.
I’ve seen warm marble in Bernini’s Rape of Persephone
—Where Pluto’s hand sinks into her flesh—
Pregnant marble in Brancusi’s Beginning of the World
—Where an ovoid rests on a polished steel plate:
The material world and its metaphysical alter in bud—
Marble draped in lavish folds in Michelangelo’s Pietà
Diaphanous in Giovanni Strazza’s Veiled Virgin
But I’ve never seen marble quite so soft and elastic
As that of Cristian Pentelescu’s in The Gate
Or if I did, I don’t remember—
Saw one of Marcel Guguianu’s Muse sculptures at Artmark in Bucharest last fall and was quite taken with it, so much so that I returned to the exhibition hall (the new space they have for showcasing contemporary art) to take a whole slew of photos of her in addition to the few I took the first time. Enjoy.
Marcel Guguianu Muse
18 x 8 x 6 cm (7.1 x 3.1 x 2.4 in)
Pre-sale estimate: €600–€800
As part of the White Night of the Galleries (September 30), the alternative gallery space at Dr. Iacob Felix no. 72A hosted an installation called Road, about the road of life.
The piece that intrigued me the most, despite its simple concept, showed a family photo and a number of medicine package inserts, blisters of pills and prescriptions pinned to an old light brown overcoat. The garment was hanged from the ceiling and a side wall, and underneath it was a pile of medicine packets, pill bottles, and blister packs. The label read Bătrânețea (Old Age), by Rene Răileanu.
The piece, with the medicine signifiers replacing the body of the person, made me think how in our old age we’re shaped by suffering and how the fact that we’re still standing under that coat is due to the many medicines we take, medicines which help numb that suffering but which, in many ways, take over our identity as we become more and more concerned with our health, talk often about our ailments, and are perceived through the lens of our illnesses by others. And then there the family portrait at the top–what most of us hold most dear in our waning years.
Rene Răileanu is mostly a figurative painter. If you want to see some more of his work, here’s his website.
Walking about Amzei Square yesterday evening, I stopped at Amzei Market Makers to see their current exhibition (curated by Beti Vervega and Mădălina Mirea). One of the artists included in the show was Vlad Basarab (b. 1977, Bucharest), a graduate of the Ceramics section of the University of Alaska Anchorage, as well as of two M.F.A. programs in the U.S, currently a Ph.D. student in visual arts at the National University of the Arts in Bucharest.
Vlad Basarab is mostly known for the clay books in his Archaeology of Memory series. You can see a photo on ArtOut, accompanying Mădălina Panduru’s interview with the artist, and a video on YouTube, showing in 4 minutes and 31 seconds the way one of these books dissolves under the week-long attritive action of water. In the interview, Vlad Basarab explains that he has left the pages blank in order to allude to oblivion and absence, and to stimulate the viewer to imagine what might have been in those books. Along the same lines, the disintegration of the book suggests the loss of collective memory. For more info in English on Vlad Basarab, see this page from the online art portal Modernism.
I didn’t get to see his books yesterday, but the works he did contribute to the show were rather strong, too. They were called Oameni Pământ nr. 1 (Earth People no. 1) and Oameni Pământ nr. 2 (Earth People no. 2), and played with his favorite media, the elementary materials of earth, water, and fire. I thought they were quite inspired. Here they are.