November 2004


Romania through international eyes
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ARTBEAT
An all round talent

by Andreea Sarcani
November 2004

While admiring visual art, it can be difficult to identify where the mission of the painter ends and where the artistic creation makes its presence felt. This same feeling is produced by the personality and work of the Romanian artist Catalin Radulescu. His multiple preoccupations express with sureness the attitude of a person who has taken his creative mission seriously and expresses it in all his spheres of activity.

Catalin Radulescu: ''Romania is an inspiration in all my work.''

Painting, music, acting, directing, restoration and journalism are just a few of the areas which have sparked his curiosity throughout the course of his long career. ''I like practicing all kinds of crafts. For example, I’m fascinated by the idea of making footwear such as moccasins or traditional peasant footwear, for their simplicity, for their lack of industrial refinement,'' says Radulescu.

Catalin Radulescu has tested his diverse talent by participating in exhibitions of graphic art, sculpture, installations and scenography. An exhibition of his painting held two years ago at the San Marco Museum of Modern Art still has special significance for him.

''I have a special memory of this exhibition because of the pleasant surprise I had at San Marco, for the friendliness with which I was received there and because I had unexpected success, which I hadn’t enjoyed in Romania. A large part of my work had already been bought by the second day of the exhibition. I think contemporary Romanian art is well placed in the context of European art. I’ve heard fairly gushing reports about Romanian art.''

Catalin Radulescu is a graduate of the School of Popular Art in Ploiesti and the painting department of Bucharest’s Institute of Visual Arts.

''I don’t consider visual art as my trade, it’s just one of several ways through which I’ve learned to express myself better. Restoration work has also attracted me greatly. As my time as an amateur actor preceded the Revolution, I remember that with some sadness in my heart. As a member of a theatre group, I experienced all aspects of censorship. Everything had to be done in a hidden way. You had to exercise delicacy and be subtle in inserting your message and communicating things which couldn’t be said explicitly. The question is whether we are making full use of the freedom of expression we enjoy now.''

In 1991 he was awarded a bursary in the restoration of books and parchments at the Vatican. Access to such unique, ancient works, particularly in the storage area of the manuscripts, was a great privilege. ''You could say that places such as the Vatican prompt you, in a very natural way, to reach a state of spiritual fullness, so that you can harmonise with all the beauty surrounding you.''


Nude, 70cm x 50cm, mixed media.


On the origins of his inspiration, Catalin Radulescu replies: ''Obviously Romania is a basic inspiration in all my creative work. Also, I feel very attracted to early cultures, which are primitive and at the same time symbolic of every civilisation.''

His connection with music is unconventional and he loves the joy of spontaneity: ''For years I’ve played with jazz and blues groups. I’ve performed concerts with Ioan Gyuri Pascu, Alex Tomaseli and Mihai Iordache. I love the friendly, free and easy atmosphere of the jazz and blues festivals at Vama Veche.''

Even the exhibition which he is planning for next spring will involve his passion for styles of music in times past: ''I’m preparing an exhibition based on an attempt to alter how time is seen due to the fact that the mechanism of the clocks makes them move in the opposite direction to that which is usual. My clocks will have reverse pendulums, made up of old objects found in various places and the opening of this exhibition will take place in a musical atmosphere of blues and jazz under the motto 'Back in time.' ''

In the field of literature, Borges has a special hold on his imagination, along with other South American writers such as Marquez and Llosa. He likes Russian writers for their rich humour and the vividness of their creations.

If he had not been born in Romania, he would have liked to be born in a tribe of Indians in the extreme north of America, though before the arrival of the Europeans.

 

 

 

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