We are in the large galleries of the Exhibition Centre “C. Brancusi” of the Union of Artists of Moldova where the third edition of the International Painting Biennial is taking place. The enthusiasm with which artists from distant countries and from those that are a bit nearer responded to the invitation to participate at the event, reveals its significance in the paramount concert of the genre.
Following the example of the magnificent Modest Musorgski when he visited the retrospective exhibition of his friend, architect and artist Victor Hatmann, we too had a walk through the galleries. We would stop only in front of several works from those presented and, being unable to express our feelings by means of bunches of musical notes eloquent for the illustration of the plastic efforts of the participants, I laid down these lines in critical prose – sometimes even lyrical – with no intention to suggest ranking nor to be exhaustive.
As a matter of fact it was said that the above mentioned composer was making “music in prose”!
Under the sign of post modernism, the exhibitors show, with no exception, that they are the possessors of some rich imaginary museums where they often are finding models and inspiration. Those with less fantasy use frequently the inverted comas and quote the world arts history. Generally, there may be admired illustrative and narrative works that provoke the viewer/visitor to create his own fairytales starting from each painting. Beside this, local artists are admirable narrators like their ancestor and man of genius Ion Creanga. How couldn’t they be talkative in the exposed paintings?
Dimitrie Peicev’s “Pray” is heavy with meditation spirit that is shown by pious peasant women gathered around a table with appetizing alms – a coincidence with the Blessed Easter that was celebrated just in the day of jury’s meeting! The religious subject may be noticed also at Ecaterina Ajder who, starting from standard iconographic concepts, suggests a daring merger of Our Lady in Sorrow and the martyrised on cross body of Our Lord in the series “The Reaping of Angels”. The diptych “Echo” is also a biblical subject, in two stages, like the sequences in an animation movie, one on black and the other one on white, with two saint characters haloed by knurled rays made with the tip of the knife in paste. Daniela Gaftea presents a shaking “Crucifixion”.
The suggestions of folk art, of the motifs used in ceramics or textiles made in a peasant’s farm may be distinguished in the works of Iraida Ciobanu (“Festive motif”, “Fruits and birds”). Time’s flow is presented by Ludmila Zastavnitchi through the parody game of a jaquemart that appears once in an hour and beats into an imaginary gong on the virtual façade of a dome suggested by the black bulkheads of glass eyes from a rosette, with those two silhouettes of saints that surmount the composition. In the same way and with the same subject of the inevitable passing of the time works also Liviu Hancu. For him the life is “Chess games/Space games”. The life game under the form of a cheerful masquerade is admirably suggested by Victoria Cozmolici in the painting “Flirt”. A very pensive harlequin in blue nuances – inspired by one of Picasso’s phases – proposes Aurelia Nascu. The carnival spirit is examined also by Nicolae Gutu in “Composition III”. In the masques’ mosaic there is recreated a series of portraits with bewildered, scared, inquiring expressions, from the African ritual masque to the Greek theatre and cubist synthesis. The ironic paraphrases of the Greek mythology made by Mihail Brunea are full of verve and emphasize author’s abilities to travel in time and to use the plastic syntax of the drawings with red figures on black background that decorated the ceramics of the ancient times. The cycle of semianthropomorphic flyers, generously colored and titled “All the birds fly” of Sergiu Cuciuc is also amusing – the savant owls and the spurred cock, with a medal on its neck and an earring in the crest may be considered some appropriate illustrations for children to the tale “The purse with two coins”. The references to the Flemish avimorf painter Roelandt Savery are obvious and the results are beneficent. The Moldovan narrators are creating in both the infant genre, like in the above mentioned examples and in the one destined to adults. Iurie Rosioru’s “New Year Party” is made with a great dose of humor. There are focused specific types of bacchanals, all suitable for caricaturing.
“Gone with the wind” is a work with no relation to the famous novel by Margaret Mitchell but with a great portion of romanticism. Lucky Galaction Passarelli could be proud of the chromatic and graphic succession that manifests the author Victor Hristov in his work with the multicolored flowers twirl through which passes a girl with golden hair waved by the breeze. In “Katya”, Stanislav Babiuk catches with sense and tenderness a small naïve girl who smiles, slightly intimidated, clasping at her chest two dear toys and with one hand holding delicately the lap of the pink robe as if preparing to tell a piece of poetry in front of the generous Santa Claus or at parents’ request to sing in front of some guests. An intimate contre jour brings the painting closer to the perennial values of the Russian/ Soviet academism. Cezara Colesnic’s “Sasha” and “Young Ukrainian girl” are the portraits of two children, a bit scared, a little sad – just like when they are for the first time in front of the camera – with his hair cut short, he stands on a flowery background, she, with the head wrapped in a flowery shawl, is cut off on a snow background in the style of Mir Iskusstva. The monumental Gheorghe Lisita’s portrait “Abbot” is also characteristic for traditional creativity. The author affirms itself as a brave descendant of Perov and Repin with hidden quotations from the richly pasty paintings of Octav Bancila made after Munich period. The diptych ‘Self portrait with dog” belonging to Ion Morarescu is shocking through toughness due to a vigorous, in strenuous touches bordering on a black, thick line of a stained glass decorativity.
The celestial map and the movement of the stars is a matter of interest for Moldovan artists. Veaceslav Ignatenco’s “Eclipse” reveals the astral phenomenon of a wheel set into motion by the fireworks at a Mexican fiesta. Veaceslav Bakitkii appeals to action painting in order to suggest “Meteorites rain”. The architectonic motif still provokes the artists’ interest in urban landscapes with historic flavor: Inga Edu depicts the eternal Venice in cold evening tones; a Dr.ADRIAN-SILVAN IONESCU, Romania, Chairman of the Jury golden cupola of a madrasa is an “Oriental” element of a great force for Victor Cretu. Some landscapists strictly follow the lesson of their precursors: Valerii Sidorkin, in the composition “Towards home” immortalized the afternoon when the herd is coming back home and passes near a water pond in which their sculptural volumes are reflected. It all reminds, through chromatics and drawing, the works of Grant Wood.
The landscape with intrinsic message is well treated by Igor Svernei in “Hunting”: a diving look over a winter landscape, with leafless trees and a big red trail that indicates the direction where the hunting trophy was dragged. This work is referring to some local dramatic events. For Olga Bakitchi the succession of the generations is similar to a tree. At its foot the ancestors are placed, on the upper branches the recent fruits, children and youngsters, in a phylum of portraits stressed by a collage of volumetric fabrics.
The work of Diana Braescu, one of the foreign exhibitors, attracted our attention. She is lately approaching the subject of feminine angelic that slides easily to the angels fallen because of carnal sins: the holiness is overwhelmed by diabolical; the Mephistopheles rictus distorts the apparently seraphic features of the priestess of love introduced by the author in the key marks of the composition, as spiritual self-portraits. Here, the Romanian artist has a supporter in the person of the Czech artist Jindřich Bílek who displays a grotesque image, titled “Vital water” – a reference to the Dantesque immersion in purgatory, where the condemned spirits drown into a sea of blood.
The overwhelming concert of the stern flowing of life is a subject that Florin Menzopol likes and which he is treating with elegance, under an introspective discreet look.
Several authors are stout adepts of the action painting like Petar Arnaudov (Bulgary), Sozi Constantinidou (Cyprus), Iolanta Gmur (Poland). Iana Kuneva’s “Horizons” (Bulgary) are compound of pale green and blue parallels like in works of Morris Louis. In the “Spring” of Marika Naadel (Estonia) optical effects are obtained through the utilization of some little stars in complementary hues, the warm ones breaking the cold mass of the background. From their chromatic burst in some cases we come to a total silence, by means of the white color, in a suprematist Tatlinian triumph, like in the work signed by Stella Christofi (Cyprus). The honorable guest Nicole Callebaut (Belgium) has two big lettrist compositions that follow, from the point of view of the hue, the suprematist principles (one on white, the second on black), with he slogan IN ART WE TRUST, obsessively repeated as a paraphrase of the United States official motto, printed on the American banknotes and coins (In God We Trust).
There may be also seen several portrait addicted artists: Alexandra Baciu (Romania) presents a pretty monumental image of a girl with green eyes; those three dramatic figures of Dora Constantionou (Cyprus/Greece), self isolated behind some windows, show the impossibility of communication and distorted contemplation of the reality through the dirty piece of window – this spell cannot be broken even if the vitreous surface is broken, like in the case of the last character who tried a vain escape. The emotion of desperate solitude is the subject of the work “Windows” by Rumiana Yotova (Netherlands). A worthwhile composition with several personages in fine gray hues is the one signed by Perrine Moreau (Belgium) and signed “L’autre silance” as a faraway echo of the “silence poetry” of the Dutch Vilhelm Hammershøi. Although the models from the paintings mentioned above are generally sad and pensive, the multitude of children and adults faces that from behind a wire fence are watching with bright eyes a show or a parade in the work of Valdemaras Semeska (Lithuania), are radiant, demonstrate health and an ebullient joyfulness. Nastar Mamai (Kirghizstan) shows in an ironic portrait a head of a sheep in an elegant costume as if having the intention to illustrate a fable. Gopal Dagnogo (Ivory Coast) delicately presents some silhouettes that may be vaguely seen through the transparent watercolors curtain. The pure decorativism is well applied in the “Amazon” of Yuristanbek Shygaev (Kirghizstan). Tomoco Kazama-Ober’s “Dans l’espace” (France) is a composition with the figure of a pharaoh passionate by astronomy caught in full process of examining the stars movement. A mixture of naïve art and rich academic pictoriality is met in the Marta Vosyliute’s “Chestnut” (Lithuania) where near the magnificent tree in bloom a gaunt puppy is frisking. “Basomis” by Indre Martinkiene (Lithuania) is reminding us, Romanians, about the cover of the first edition of Zaharia Stancu’s novel “Barefoot”. José A. Gonzales Grillo (Cuba) makes a combination of the quenched, soil like gamut of the art of Australian aborigines, Chagall wanton faces and the Wilfredo Lam’s synthetism in the works “Travel” and “Mechanic woman”.
The velocity, the flickering of the wings, the film like effect are immediately caught by Teodor Buzu in “Leaving the nest”. “Evening” by Leonardo Gutu is a work in two levels where some inflorescences are reproduced based on the principle of traditional photography: positive/negative. An emotional work by Ieva Skaurone makes part from the cycle “Faith” and is focused on the figures without identity of several Muslim women, wrapped in a burqa. The Japanese Yoshizumi Toshio displays the most original and forceful work – a diptych titled “Zesoh-Samsara”, made in ink on a sand-color fabric: an immense, continuous, modulated spot, with full of vibrations and very pictorial gradients, though everything is the result of an achromatic dialogue.
As honorable guests there responded and sent works Silvia Radu, Viorel Marginean, Constantin Flondor, Paul Gherasim, Sorin Ilfoveanu, Horia Pastina, Petru Lucaci and Mihai Sarbulescu. As they are indisputable masters, any comment regarding their work would be unnecessary.
For any art lover, visiting of the International Painting Biennial in Chisinau this year will be a rewarding travel into dream.
At its third edition, the International Painting Biennial Chisinau – 2013, organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova, demonstrates certainly an ascendant vector that characterizes the quality of the presentation, the aesthetic matters dealt with, as well as the extension of the international cultural-artistic context. The result of organization efforts of the first two editions, but also the consequent approach from this year, validates the event on international arena and places Chisinau among the interest centers of visual cultural manifestations, a fact that attracted a much more important international participation
The ascendant course is demonstrated by a simple statistics: in comparison with the first edition when 110 artists, representatives of 12 countries, displayed 141 works, the actual edition distinguishes itself from a qualitative but also quantitative perspective with the participation of 181 artists from 33 countries with some 250 artworks exposed on the cymae of the Exhibition Centre “Constantin Brancusi” of the Union of Artists of Moldova.
The exhibition unites artists from Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Cuba, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Iran, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Mongolia, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Republic of Moldova.
The rhythm of the evolution of the informational technologies from recent years reached impressive levels. By their means artists communicate freely with the entire world. But there cannot be assured a perspective for the evolution of the contemporary plastic phenomenon without a permanent intercultural, live communication, in the context of the international artistic trends. Here, this can be realized only through the participation in some competitive exhibition manifestations with external participation.
In this respect, through the common efforts of several public institutions and unions of creation – Ministry of Culture, National Art Museum of Moldova, Art Center “Amprente”, in partnership with Culture Department of Chisinau Mayoralty, Romanian Cultural Institute “M. Eminescu” from Chisinau and Sturza Family Foundation – this competitive international exhibition manifestation is organized in Chisinau.
A distinctive and auspicious sign of the indubitable artistic level of this ample manifestation is the generous presence of some notorious representatives of contemporary painting: Paul Gherasim, Gheorghe Anghel, Viorel Marginean, Sorin Ilfoveanu, Horia Pastina, Petru Lucaci, Vasile Tolan and others (Romania), Nicole Callebaut (Belgium), Ewa Mazek (Poland), Rick Copsey (Great Britain), Gabrielle Lockstaedt (Germany), Rinaldo Novali (Italy), Valentina Rusu-Coibanu, Eleonora Romanescu, Sergiu Cuciuc, Dmitrie Peicev(Moldova), Anatoli Vasiliev (Russia) and others.
As well as in the previous edition, Lithuania imposes itself through the presence of several artists with an exceptional plastic performance. Among them can be mentioned Ieva Skaurone, Marta Vosiliute, Romanas Averincevas. We are very glad to find numerous artists from Bulgaria participating this year. It is a number of strong artists with predominantly abstract-expressionist works and a nonconformist chromatic construction, peculiar for Bulgarian school of painting of the last decades (Maria Zlatanova, Petar Arnaudov, Dimitar Iankov). For the first time there actively participate artists from the Near East (Turkey, Iran), as well as from Asia (Mongolia, India).
The competitive character of the Biennial tries to increase the level of the artistic performance and at the same time it promotes and sustains the young creators during the process of artistic evolution, tries to attract an as greater as possible number of their works on the cymae. We surely cannot overlook the fact that the confusion, disappointment, the socioeconomic “convulsions” from the last years, the precarious social statute of the artist in the Moldovan society directly affects the artistic milieu. They especially affect the young generation that is more and more frequently taking the way towards the “momentary” needs of dining room art consumers. These reasons force us to note the fact that the actual exhibition records a low receptivity, shy in a way, from the point of view of plastic expression, of the local artists young generation representatives, in comparison with the generous offers from the part of the young artists from other countries, creators whose artistic interests concern not only the consumist painting. The works of foreign young artists who studied in educational institutions where the studying process has other criteria, different from ours, are distinctive from the point of view of the freedom to choose the artistic means and their orientation towards the actual conceptual aesthetical trends. It demonstrates an absolute freedom beyond any technical or stylistic conventionalities, without direct intentions of public’s approval – this is also the secret that explains why their works produce a remarkable visual interest and are a delight for genuine art connoisseurs.
We hope that the dialogue between the core local painters who mainly strive for innovative artistic trends and the aesthetic of some foreign artists will get shape in course of the time and will ensure a favorable frame for the evolution of this genre. Supposedly, it will offer more opportunities to apply abilities to synchronize with the artistic worldwide phenomenon.
The recent trends of the contemporary painting increase the forms and the expression means. Thereby the borders between the genres vanish or even interfere. There are generated new artworks that surprise the viewer, appeal to his spirit and serve as an opportunity for aesthetic delight: in this edition of the Biennial, the jury awarded the Grand prize to one of the works made by Toshio Yoshizumi from Japan, who won not only through originality but also through aesthetical intensity, a work that comes more from the graphic art or print.
All these determines us to organize the next edition of the Biennial in a larger context that would include several genres of contemporary visual arts (graphics, sculpture, object etc.) and would allow to have a complex and useful dialogue between generations of artists, cultures, art genres, trends and critics.