With every occurring edition, the International Biennial of Painting in Chișinău, situates itself more firmly in the landscape of cultural events of an international scale, organized in Moldova. The 7th installments, taking place this year, will be held under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova, as part of the European Days of Heritage event program. The currently restrictive conditions imposed by the pandemic, affect public manifestations on an international scale.
Even though, we’ve encountered a number of technical difficulties, pertaining to transportation of art works via the international postal services, which during this time functioned with complications, the exhibition has participants from 35 countries, including: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, China, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Germany, India, Iran, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, The Great Britain, Morocco, Mexico, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, The Netherlands, Panama, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine and Hungary.
As a result of a generous offer, of more than 1500 artworks sent in by 400 artists, 192 works, signed by 186 artists were selected. Unfortunately, some of the artists who passed the preselection process, were not able to expedite their works, because of the pandemic restrictions in their countries. Out of the total number of participants, 53 are from Republic of Moldova, 64 from Romania, and 69 from other countries. The majority of artists are members of the younger generation. Starting from first editions, we’ve made it a point, to offer platform to younger artists together with those who’ve already achieved notoriety. As a result of that, through the years, we see an ever increasing number of young artists, who maintain a growing interest towards our exhibition, and who substantiate an exceptional evolution of the pictorial discourse, while managing to establish themselves in the international exhibition area.
Like with the previous edition, there will be a conference organized, with presentations from esteemed historians and critics of art: Pavel Șușară, who was also the president of the jury, from Romania, as well as, Paolo Manazzo and Pietro Finelli from Italy. As a purpose the conference proposes a discussion of topics surrounding contemporary art.
It must also be mentioned that, as part of our collaboration with the Museum Complex of Iasi, a selection of works from the biennial will be exhibited at the National Art Museum, which is a segment of the Complex. For the first time, in the framework of this year’s events, we will exhibit a selection of works signed by the winners of six previous editions, that are now part of the museum’s collection. This selection is a testament to the creative effervescence of a group of artists who belong to different cultural spaces, presenting an array of topics and an interesting stylistic dynamic. The fact that, throughout the years, the awarded artworks encompass a broad stylistic variety, where we can find artists engaging diverse techniques and artistic solutions, proves that the thought process behind jury selection is not concentrated on aesthetic preferences, but rather encourages a diversity of the authentic form, professionalism and innovation within this culturally versatile group. It is worth to mention, that the great majority of awarded artists from previous editions, are on a continuous and thrilling artistic ascension, which can be remarked in their active participation in international exhibitions and other public performances, as well as, their developements in the workshop.
Given the generous offer from artists worldwide, this particular selection proved to be quite rigorous. Particularly lavish in their offer were participants from Romania, Poland, Cyprus and Bulgaria. The local art scene too, is represented by an imposing number of artists, many of whom are established within a convincing and well-articulated vision synchronized with the stylistic requirements of the international exhibition context. The current edition, not unlike the previous ones, is defined by professionalism and diversity in stylistic and artistic expression of participating artists who creatively approach various themes. Starting from pieces reflecting on the social oscillations, ingrained in aesthetic tendencies of their place of origin, with elements of precise reality or photographic realism, ending with those oriented towards abstract or figurative form, guided by an inherent impulse.
Digital artworks and art objects, were admitted for the very first time. Always advocating for freedom of artistic expression, the exhibition tasks itself with reflections upon a diversity of concepts and individual aesthetics of creators worldwide, said fact confers individuality to each work displayed, while simultaneously converging them into a pertinent dialogue regarding the current tendencies of visual arts.
In the end, we would like to give credit to the constant support offered by a number of public and private institutions, which make possible, bringing to live the monumentally important manifestation of international scope, that is the International Biennial of Painting in Chișinău, 2021. We, therefore, offer our sincerest gratitude to the Ministry of Culture of Republic of Moldova, the City Hall Department of Culture, The Sturza Family Foundation and to the permanent partner of The National Art Museum of Moldova, Mobiasbanca OTP Group, to all those who support the synchronization of the local aesthetic tendencies with the international ones, and the participation of domestic creators at this international event, together with the alignment of the Republic of Moldova with cosmopolite cultural values.
Painting and the world inhabit
The International Painting Biennial in Chisinau, organized by The National Art Museum of Moldova, The Association of Artists of Moldova, and the Art Centre Amprente, conceived and curated by Tudor Zbârnea, artist and Director of the National Art Museum, is coming forth with its 7th edition. This ongoing artistic endeavour, contains the characteristics of a full-fledged and well-established, long term cultural project, whilst managing each time to be a singularly bright and surprising event, both as a manifestation and as lasting impact. If in previous editions, especially the earlier ones, the novelty could be identified, with propensity in geographical expansion, currently, at the events’ full maturity, these things cease to be surprising, because at this moment in time, it would be difficult to identify a place of place of significance, a country, a civilization code in the world, that has not, at least once, reached Chisinau, in some way. In this case, the newly occurring elements, should be discovered in notable details pertaining to the succession of editions, as well as, shifts in behaviour and approach of its participants, and most importantly in the very matter of art works themselves.
The aforementioned remarks, give credit to the fact that the important fundamentals of this event, with which the public is familiar by now, are perfectly in line with its previous edition. The consistency of participants from Asia and the Middle East (Japan, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Turkey, China, Israel and Cyprus), from Africa and the Americas (Tunisia, Ghana, Togo, U.S.A, Mexico and Ecuador), from post-soviet spaces (Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Armenia, Georgia and Belarus) and formerly socialist terrains (Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Serbia), serve not only as a confirmation of constant interest for grand artistic projects, even if on the cultural map of Europe they came to be a bit later, but are also proof of the special need for communication and communion between artists.
Even though western European and Nordic countries (Germany, Italy, The Netherlands , Spain, Sweden, Austria etc.), typically participate at events without a consolidated history with some reluctancy, it was not the case this time around, thus implying, that the barriers and preconceived notions of yesteryear, are if not obliterated, then significantly alleviated. These observations are extremely interesting, from both a psychological and socio-cultural perspective. One could say that the western artist is somewhat more prudent and considerably less motivated, as far as the necessity for affirmation and communication goes, he explores propositions with equal attunment, without fluctuations and with apparent, sometimes only implied conviction that everything is stable and always accessible, meanwhile the artist from a formerly communist space as well as the one from Asian territory, has perhaps a stronger desire and motivation for both assertion and dialoguing.
It is evident, however, that participants from the Republic of Moldova and Romania, are part of a wholly different discussion, naturally, being the dominating party of the exhibitions discourse both in quantity and quality, all the more since some, simultaneously represent both countries. But the success of this event, does not stem solely from the number of applicants and art works (both, undoubtably important), but from the profound message of those creations and the regions from which they spring. Upon immediate revision, and after a profound analysis alike, the Biennial from Chisinau is concurrently o course of geography of art, and a subtle study of the imaginary, the symbolic comportment, from a space of cultural magnitude, with practically a worldwide reach. From Tunisia to Lithuania, from India to Ecuador, Mongolia to Bulgaria, U.S.A to Cyprus, and to China, and Japan, Czech Republic and Indonesia, or to Poland, to Italy, Mexico or Russia, artists came forth with enthusiasm, taking into considerations the vagueness of the idea of Moldova, as well as Romania, for many countries of the world. All genres of painting, starting from those rooted in motive, somewhat closer to a classical vision, and ending with the ones that are non-conformist and more radical in expression, demonstrate a few things worthy of observation, and some even of attentive contemplation.
Regardless of their country of origin, the prevailing majority of participants, on the level of artistic language and formal conventions, attempt, a sort, of merging into the rhythms of codes of European and worldwide art, they commit to the effort of being there, and make their presence known and convincing, even at the cost of identity loss.
As a matter of fact, it would be relevant to note a structure that isn’t merely that of artistry and cultural backdrop. For instance, it can be observed that the most geographically identifiable artists, that come bearing an iconography and a colour palette alluding to a certain tópos, are the ones coming from more vulnerable spaces, in a political, as well as, cultural and religious outlook (Mongolia, Pakistan, Togo, Mexico etc.). Other than that, without really altering the artists’ personal and cultural identity, the identity rhetoric itself, vanishes, and is replaced by more subtle elements of a stylistic and temperamental variety. In this regard, though there is nothing specifically Polish, Lithuanian, Bulgarian, Italian, or Hungarian, as a rhetoric, it is still quite possible to track the origins of the artists, in particular types of reflection upon the form, the technical aspects of creation, and through subtle hues of spirituality. The same can, evidently, be said of Moldovan and Romanian artists. They have perfectly internalized the lessons and ciphers of modern painting, of European and transatlantic variety, and have adapted to this need of intelligible, quick paced communication. Elements of local colours, and outburst, in nature romantic and bucolic, that one could encounter many years ago, have now entirely disappeared, this, not being a dictation of this particular edition, but a process developing for quite a while now. The remarkable thing brought by later editions, and further confirmed by the current one, is the increasingly evident return to the use of ever existing technical means of painting, even if the views and messages are strictly contemporary. Artists, to the detriment of various techniques like abnegation, or re-contextualizing the idea of painting within the universe of new technology, chose to dedicate themselves to the painting in its integral, classic workshop meaning. The painters of today, implicitly, those who illustrate the 7th edition of The International Painting Biennial from Chisinau, not only participate with easel painting at a major artistic event, but also manage to bring a collective tribute to painting as a genre , as a type of sensibility and pictorial reflection, and even, reflection, in and of itself.