Bogdan, in a recent interview you stated that painting is a ’profession of theft’ and yourself one of its many thieves. What is it about the past that you find compelling and inspires you to put brush to easel?
The past is a magnet for me that holds me fast in its grip. The more I delve into the past more fascinated I am by the classicism the past has bequeathed us. I have no desire to imitate the past but rather to keep true to the past and express my sense of wonder that the past brings to me. I try to do this using my own ‘twenty first century voice’ to express the traditions of the past.
What does "a proper topic for an exhibition" means to you? How do you decide if a particulate theme you are drawn to has the potential to be transposed into an extended series of paintings or remains only a note in the sketchbook?
An exhibition is a speech, or an essay that has something new to say. To succeed, it needs cohesion and it must surprise for the viewer. I organize an exhibition only if I have something to say.
What would you recommend young artists to do at the beginning of their career, in order to make themselves present on the art scene? Do you find it appropriate to make their work visible before reaching a certain maturity?
It depends on the artist, on the intimate way he/her chooses to express himself/herself. There are artists who sustain a prolific exhibition activity, and hold exhibitions of their work as frequently as possible and encourage you to do likewise. This is why I do not hold frequent exhibitions as some artists do. For me frequent exhibitions betray the artist’s mystery, and is in danger of becoming vulnerable and losing his/her originality. I will not show my creativity to just anybody, but just to those who appreciate fine art.
Do you identify a tutor, friend or studio neighbour that helped you evolve towards a new perspective on things? Regardless of the technical, procedural or conceptual nature of your practice…
I consider myself a painter dependent on pre-existing models. The lessons I learned were fundamental in building my way of thinking and painting. I’d like to mention: Sorin Dumitrescu, Horia Bernea and Ion Grigorescu. Then there is the Roman school of the anonymous ancient Roman painters, the painters of the Roman School, of the neoclassical Grand Raite (Le Grand Tour), etc. You cannot establish yourself as a cultured person without identifying with the “Great Art”, of your predecessors, with the memory and the museum.”
What do you think about the local artistic community, what is your relationship with it?
Contemporary art is circumstantial, it cannot be seen at all as having special qualities. Being conditioned by the present, it can be, “under the curse of an unfortunate present”. Contemporary Romanian painting promotes an art without dilemmas, a flawless art, a display of muscles and powerful athletics, forgetting that life has other characteristics. Life is full of difficult situations from which there seems to be no escape. The challenge is to contradict yourself. Your art should travel the path of life’s successes alongside the parallel path of life’s travails This is how I see the great avant-garde.
Do you think the current situation will have an impact on artistic creation in the future, when we will have overcome this pandemic moment?
When we have overcome this pandemic time, I think we will find ourselves in the same syncope of misunderstood truths, which we will cling to stronger than before. I think we will see an accentuated segregation which will erase the nuances and deepen the contrasts. Whoever counted before as a prominent figure will be even more prominent now and whoever provoked doubts will be immediately repudiated. The transformations that will take place will deepen the differences. unfortunately, they will not change the accepted thinking.
I believe everyday, journal-like notation, whether it’s a sketch, a drawing or a photograph. I am seduced by the double meaning the gesture has: you leave a trace of your journey through life and at the same time you record things worthy of your attention and that you believe will be of benefit to others not just yourself.