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, [year?], Senso Art Gallery, Bucharest, December 2017
Bronze and marble
30 x 30 x 30 cm
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.)
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