Chişinău – with its theatres, Philharmonic Society, the National Opera, Organ Hall, Fine Arts, different Folkloric manifestations – represents an excellent place where cultural life has always intensive pulsed.
During the last two years, beginning from 2009, in the cultural life of Chişinău there has been appeared such an event of the national and world-wide importance, as the International Biennale of Painting. Certainly, this year edition of the Biennale that takes place in the period of
8 – 27 November, 2011, at the Expositional Center “Constantin Brâncuşi”, has to become the scaled one.
The Ministry of Culture promoted this so important cultural project just from its first edition, being one of financiers
The Ministry of Culture promoted this so important cultural project just from its first edition, being one of financiers and organizers of this event, together with the National Art Museum of Moldova, the Union of Artists of Moldova, the Department of Culture of Chişinău municipality and the Centre of Art “Amprente” (Imprints), between the partners also being the Romanian Cultural Institute “Mihai Eminescu” from Chişinău and “Sturza” Foundation.
Comprehended by organizers to be a place for dialog between artistic manifestations of Europe and of the whole world and revealing the recent art tendencies from this zone of Europe, the Biennale, beginning with its first edition (2009), has gathered the participants d’elite – both local ones and foreign. This year there will take part 133 painters, they representing 20 countries: Armenia, Belgium, Belarus, Costa-Rica, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Kyrghyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine. The artists will exhibit more then 170 works, recently created and of a great quality. They are presenting the diversity of aesthetic and human vision of the world we live in.
A distinct aspect, which is giving a particular character to the present International Biennale of Painting, is a factor that, in the context of the extreme proliferation of new media in visual arts (photo, video, digital images, installation, happening etc.), the Biennale of Chişinău is especially cultivating one of forms of art that has a great history of ages. Painting is presented here in a large context of aesthetical points of view and plastic expressions. And it doesn’t deal with our conservative spirit, just this form of art with its applied creative technique proved to be viable and capable to express the whole spectrum of sufferings and aspirations of contemporary man.
There has to be especially praised the participating of young artists in this Biennale, some of them being awarded with important prizes, such as the example of a young painter Diana Tudose (the Republic of Moldova), whose work “Inside” was appreciated by the jury with Grand-Prize, that can be compared to the act of initiation.
Great level of the Biennale has been completed by appearance of this catalogue, able to impress by its dimension and the publishing quality. Being exactly comprehended and printed on the highest level of the publishing standards, the catalogue of Chişinău Biennale can find its place near the best productions of this kind, realized in the world.
As nothing could be done without the total implication of an expert with his high scientific level, and because we consider that “just a man is making his place sacred”, I want to bring some praiseworthy words to our remarkable painter Tudor Zbârnea, director of the National Art Museum of Moldova, the artist who has dreamed about such an exposition and who has comprehended its structure and realized his dream, being now curator of this Biennale.
I will follow with great interest and emotion the future
Artă, măiestrie, meșteșug
Periodical expositions of contemporary art have inevitably become a professional event. That’s why it is a considerable courage of the painters to choose a chairman of jury who is out of their profession and to publish these thoughts as a Preface to the catalogue of the Biennale. I’ll try just to explain! Specialization, that has acquired its extreme forms in our contemporary world, is offering a firm belief that the only available competence takes its origin from inside of the group of specialists. As for art, consequences have resulted in excluding a dilettante from the debates, though he being a person able to promote the art with love and competence, a key personage of the European Illuminist epoch without whom we can’t imagine appearance of the occidental art. But, besides this general isolation of the branches and domains of human mentality and feelings, the phenomenon of creative activity needs the judgement of the public, so that the art of the XXth century is accused of playing a major ideological role. It’s time to say: the artistic movement of vanguard mainly has been a fellow-traveler of the communist totalitarian regime.
There is a question, that rises from ideological engagement of vanguard in the adventure of radicalism of left-wing and from incapability to see the cruelty of totalitarian regime: is it relevant and legitimated for society this “artistic” tradition of the so-named social or political engagement, now, when there has been revealed all the totalitarian horror? Hans Belting has demonstrated us that the art is social and political phenomenon, produced by the occidental modernity, and it has systematic exceeded the limits of aesthetics that gave it birth, until it has achieved just irrelevance of aesthetics. “Image” and “beautiful” are special concepts in pre-modern societies, though they corresponded to another aspirations of a man, the last ones being connected with the phenomenon of transcendent, allowing its representation. Before becoming a cardinal in the domain of art, the notion of “beautiful” has manifested itself in mastership, the bases of which have been put by handicraft. In this way a pre-modern man has manifested his ontological melancholy.
Today, living in the epoch of post-… (post-soviet, post-totalitarian, post-modern) and in the world predisposed to the engaged art, we can state a disappearing of handicraft, an explosion of kitsch, a voiceless revolt of society against the artistic production of cultural establishment. Between such a notions as private “beautiful” and public “beautiful” there has appeared an abyss. From one revolt to another against the so-named bourgeoisie, the engaged art has learned well to speak by means of artistic expression and about it. The engaged art, sheltered in the museums that are statistic irrelevant for the general public, is feeding with material values the storehouses of the bourgeoisie it has earlier revolted against. Some time passed and a town, this public space that can be excellent visible, has been left for private taste, that comes from a zone of a total absence of artistic competence.
Is there possible to find any answer to this crisis of the contemporary art? Yes, it is: to reveal again the social and moral value of handicraft, to make the mastership to become a predominating criterion inside the profession, to save and to revalue the aesthetic heritage, to invest substantial in forming a private taste. All these mean giving up the progressive art perspective, giving up a disregard inherent to the every new artistic expression face to the art of the past, giving up the idea that the past is systematic becoming obsolete, unfashionable and, as a consequence, has a less value.
As to the genre of painting, I have to add that it will be in the fine arts’ favour their reunion with architecture, their attempt to get out from the museum towards the public space or just to reform the museum in the spirit of contemporary context of life, if to take into consideration that a public space, excellently able to form the taste, now is a mall where the citizens spend their free time, it becoming a zone of artistic expression, sometimes parallel to that professional one.
Encouragement of the extravagancy, the cheap provocations, the revolts with pay-rolls, the tired originalities have pushed those manifestations of modern, post-modern and post-post-modern art further and further from ability to be understood by the middle educated public. But it is possible that revalue of mastership and handicraft could be able to return them away from wild markets of artifacts of plastic and moulds of armored concrete. Is contemporary art really condemned to be modern one?
To return from the sphere of generalization about contemporary art to the event of Chişinău, I have to confess that a day passed in the company of jury members of the International Biennale of Painting, has been for me both instructive and interesting, but the negotiations that have taken place have become a part of dialogue of the artistic profession with the public reasoning. Undoubtedly, the efforts applied by the National Art Museum to organize this Biennale are worthy of praise. That’s why the Romanian Cultural Institute of Chişinău has decided to offer its support. To say more, the organizer of this Biennale has an intuition to comprehend this Preface and to propose realization of exposition of Chişinău on the base of the School of painting – the most conservative in contemporary Romanian art. Not accidentally I have spent fifteen years on the same bench near Paul Gherasim, at Stavropoleos. My courage to sign a text, that has nothing with the prudence that must show a manager of a cultural institute, proceeds from school that I have gone through during those twenty years, at my expense visiting European, American and Mediterranean museums, as well as it proceeds from thoughts of a scholar over decline and disappearing of the Byzantine art and, in a large sense, of the sacred one. Out of my love to the beautiful I was waiting for this day to say the professional artists all I keep in my soul. The Biennale of Painting from Chişinău has given me such a possibility.
The context of public evolution of the visual arts in the Republic of Moldova during the last years reveals one of its main tendencies, characterized by association of artists in small groups, or sometimes it shows just a distinct individualism. Firstly, such a situation has appeared because the older generation of artists, having got none of benefits, that the previous so named collective “organizations” offered to some of them, now refuse their participating in the most of artistic manifestations of a large scale. At the same time, the younger generation of artists prefers the groups based on pragmatic union. However, the both ones are going through the continuous struggle for surviving that has transformed the local artistic landscape into a kaleidoscopic one, paying a tribute to the tastes of market, though, to say the truth, this last one is nearly absent in our reality. All these reasons add some difficulties to the process of organizing the large collective expositions, especially when such expositions are based on enthusiasm.
At the same time, the arrangement of traditional Autumn Salon has become a regular. During the last years, thanks to support offered by the Ministry of Culture and the Union of Artists of Moldova, it has acquired a competitive form, when the best work is awarded with the Prize of the Ministry of Culture and all the domains – painting, graphics, sculpture, decorative arts etc. – are marked with annual rewards of the Union of Artists.
During more then two decades there has being taken place in Chişinău and Bacău (Romania) the annual exhibition entitled “Saloanele Moldovei” (Moldavian Salons), where the artists from Moldova and Romania are usually exhibiting their works. Though the range of this expositional manifestation has been reduced during the last years, it is yet keeping the quality of the most important one in the area.
The actual edition of the International Biennale of Painting – Chişinău-2011 – unites 133 artists with their 170 works, they being representatives from 20 countries (Armenia, Belgium, Belarus, Costa-Rica, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Kyrghyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine). Selected works can define this exposition with such qualities as professionalism, intellectuality and stylistic actuality. Local artists have demonstrated the potential our artistic midst has in the domain of painting, being introduced in the international context. To orient the exposition towards the indisputable values of the creative process, among the exhibited works there are ones created by such remarkable artists (invited of honor) as Gheorghe Anghel, Marin Gherasim, Paul Gherasim, Constantin Flondor, Horia Pashtina – from Romania; Nicole Callebaut from Belgium; Rinaldo Novali from Italy, as well as our best painters – Valentina Rusu- Ciobanu, Eleonora Romanescu, Glebus Sainciuc, Elena Bontea, Dimitrie Peicev, Sergiu Cuciuc, Mihai Țăruș, Petru Jireghea, Vladimir Palamarciuc etc. At the same time there were many artists of the young generation, the organizers having accentuated their debut while exhibiting their woks at such the important manifestation. To encourage the young talents, we consider to be justified the jury’s decision to award them some prizes.
Though we can’t mark yet the abundance of foreign claims for participating in this exposition, there must be appreciated the interest of those nearly one hundred of artists who have decided to exhibit their works in the Republic of Moldova.There has to be mentioned the increasing interest for this edition of Biennale, shown by such important artists from Lithuania, as Ricardas Zdanavicius, Romanas Averincevas, Lena Khvichia, Marta Vosyliute etc.
Certainly, the Biennale is aspiring to configuration of innovatory space of the plastic languages of painting with the diversity of technique and nontraditional styles that characterize the most recent aesthetic tendencies.
Our sincerely sentiments of gratitude to all those who have rendered us their trust and have supported this project, among them being the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Moldova, the Union of Artists of Moldova, the Romanian Cultural Institute “Mihai Eminescu” from Chişinău, Department of Culture of Chişinău municipality and “Sturza” Fund.
There is also the need to thank all the artists invited to participate in this manifestation, all those who have agreed to exhibit their works and who aspire together with us to transform Chişinău into a real cultural center, to attract the artistic values and to synchronize our local development in this domain with the world-wide one.
We are convinced that the International Biennale of Painting in Chişinău will acquire, from one edition to another, some more forms of manifestation, being oriented towards new concepts and diversity of topics, able to increase both the local and the foreign artists’ interest and to attract some other genres – why not? – in future. All this could enlarge the scale of exhibition of contemporary visual arts.
Tudor Zbârnea, Curator of Biennale