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It’s Art darling, it’s Art !

by Anca Ungureanu


My Luca, the Saint of Avantgarde

Expozitiei1f Project Space decided to end its contemporary art events series of 2015, dedicated to the recovery of internationally acknowledged noted Romanian artists, with “Gherasim Luca” exhibition.

And I decided to begin learning more about this complete artist that left behind after 81 years of existence, a treasure not known yet at its real value.

An Avantgarde writer.

A surrealist, part of a surrealist artists group, together with Gellu Naum, Paul Paun, Virgil Theodorescu and Dolfi Trost.

The inventor of “cubomania”, a method of making collages in which a picture or image is cut into squares and the squares are then reassembled without regard for the image.
Indeed, he created amazing collages with beautiful arbitrary patterns.

I knew the basics, like most probably you all do and if you don’t you can easily find them on the internet.

Born in a Jewish family in Bucharest in 1913, Salman Locker appropriates the name of Gherasim Luca from an obituary: “Gherasim Luca, Archimandrite of Mount Athos and linguist emeritus”. He was attracted to avant-garde poetry at a young age and became fluent in Yiddish, Romanian, German and French. Luca questioned the existence of the human being: „There are experiences which one cannot survive, after which one feels that there is no meaning left in anything”, he wrote. “Life breeds plenitude and void, exuberance and depression. I am only 22 and I am already a specialist in the question of death”, he bluntly expressed in the “On Not Wanting to Live” essays published in 1984.

Although historically considered a poet and wholly absorbed by the literary world, Gherasim Luca is a truly complex artist: he wrote poetry, he made objects, he composed theoretical texts, he created collages and drawings and he performed. From a visual and performative art perspective, Luca‘s post exile work can be correlated to that of US artists such as Vito Acconci or the Fluxus group.

I began to read.

Not the articles or the studies, nor the commentaries. But his work.
Poem by poem, word by word I’ve immersed into his universe. An universe of infinite possibilities.

A world without boundaries or rules.

A canvas of vivid images that can burn not only your eyes, but your soul.

A world of unthinkable associations of mutilated, impossible or sometimes newly born words.

A mirror of a tormented soul, haunted by the Iron Guard before war, suffocated by the post war stalinism regime, chased by his own people, ending up as a forever misfit in exile.

His word-drunk poetry was for me a gate to exit the real word. A way to turn off the rational side of me and just feel. Completely detached from this world, floating in a parallel universe that Luca knew so well and where he felt so alone.

For that, for these pure – untouched by reason – and overwhelming emotions, I am grateful to him. This was my own encounter with Gherasim Luca. Yours can and most probably will be different, maybe even more profound.

The first step for that, if you’re living in Bucharest or just passing by, would be to come visit Expozitiei 1F Project Space. The exhibition is open to the public from Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 8 pm until end of January.

I really feel it is worth get acquainted with “The Saint of Avantgarde”.

Not only for what I’ve just written about Luca, but especially because the current exhibition investigates the artistic media this artist used in a rather similar approach: direct, without detours, mixed, multilevel, architectural, experimental, dialectical.

This approach is also marked by Nona Inescu’s intervention, that decided to interpret the artist’s “cubomania recipe”. The result is displayed in dialogue with Luca’s works. “This has opened the way for a very interesting dialectic”, said the exhibition’s curator.

Nona Inescu lives and works in Bucharest. She has studied at the Chelsea College of Art & Design in London (UK) and at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (Belgium). She is currently studying at the National University of Arts Bucharest in her final year. Her practice covers a wide array of fields like graphic design, photography and object and I will tell you more about her in another post.

”It’s an innovative project that hopes to inspire further research on this artist too little acknowledged on a local and international level in the visual arts filed.” explained the exhibition’s curator, Adriana Trancă.

On the 9th of February 1994, after a message left on an answering machine of his companion Micheline Catti, “The Saint of Avantgarde” decided to say goodbye to this life, near point Mirabeau in Paris.
I will end with his final message saying that „There is no place for poets in this world”
I say, let’s prove him wrong.

The spring ends on 30th of September

Source: Artnews.org

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