If you arrive in Bucharest before June 21st, you can stop for a while at the Cotroceni Museum, which is hosting a special event full of light, color and positive energy.
The Cantacuzine Spaces section is playing host, for two months, to 100 works by painter Emil Ciocoiu, some of them monumental. The exhibition is called Nature-Man-the Universe, because it illustrates the three great themes in the artist's creation. Or, as art critic Marius Tita says, it reflects 'the grandeur of Man, the perfection of Nature, and the splendor of the Universe', but also the dialog between them.
Emil Ciocoiu was born in Romania, and in 1974 he graduated from the Nicolae Grigorescu Art Academy of Bucharest. He's been living in Aachen, Germany, since 1980. His ties to Romania, though, are strong. Which was also noticed by the mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp, who said, quote 'he has Romanian roots in his soul, which keep guiding him back to his country. His art exudes optimism and a bright deepness'.
Marcel Philipp was invited by painter Emil Ciocoiu to attend the opening of the exhibition at the Cotroceni Museum, where he spoke to the guests: “It is a gesture of friendship that I've wanted for a very long time now to show painter Emil Ciocoiu. He is very much appreciated in Germany, in Aachen, as I see he is appreciated here as well. The locals in Aachen like him a lot, they know his art works. His themes reach people's souls. Many of his works depict the city of Aachen, but a lot of others have religious themes, the communication between religions, which is very important. The city of Aachen grants the Charlemagne Award, which supports the dialog between peoples and religions. This year, in May, the distinction will be granted to Pope Francis. Dialog between religions has been a preoccupation for painter Ciocoiu for years now. In addition, his paintings are extraordinary, they have a special technique, and I am very happy that this exhibition takes place in such a wonderful place.”
While we were there, we spoke to painter Emil Ciocoiu shortly before the opening of the Nature-Man-the Universe exhibition, and asked him what inspires him in his creation: “I like places with rivers, places close to the sea. I am fascinated by nature, and I note various aspects of it. I painted in Balchik, in places like Gran Canaria and Venice... I am attracted by the south, generally, because I am from the south. I love Italy, and I have many exhibitions there. I also work in Italy. I love the south of France, I love Spain... I have a lot of works created in these places: Andalusian Landscape, Mykonos, Santorini... We have right in front of us Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, Aachen, the place where I live and work – I am talking about 'Good Morning, Aachen', in which I depicted Charlemagne's fortress, the Aachen Dome, built by the emperor, and the City Hall building.”
Many of Emil Ciocoiu's paintings feature warm colors: “It could be red, as we can see in Sant Egidio, for instance, inspired after the world gathering of religions in Aachen. It features the representatives of all religions holding a single book. This happens in a city like Aachen. In the background we see the Aachen Dome, and in the forefront we have many representatives of various world religions, which slowly turn into a building, the Dome. Sant Egidio is a world religious movement, a dialog of religions. It is not about unifying religions, but about dialog, because peace is achieved through dialog. We have to be tolerant with one another, to understand that we are created in various cultures. Cultures, in my view, conjugate in dialog, in the harmony that I wish for. We live complicated times, because of the lack of understanding among ethnicities, among cultures, religions. Which is why I made the painting Consensus – it shows all the symbols of the four great religions united in a monumental work. It is my proposal to unite these symbols into a harmonious system of understanding, of peace.”
Visitors to the Nature-Man-the Universe exhibition meet at the entrance another monumental work, The Flowing Spring. Here is painter Emil Ciocoiu again: “I picked this one because it includes elements that exult us, that characterize and move us... It is about the primordial ocean from whence we come. It is a spring that flows from the ocean, which emanates energy – because we are energy in motion – and rises towards the infinite, towards Creation. This is what it is about, in broad strokes. But the work has to be seen in depth, because it has a special vibration, which invites us to meditate upon our existence.”
Almost all of the works in the exhibition are featured in the album of the same title, written by art critic Marius Tita: “The album follows the same issues as the exhibition, though not in the same order as in the exhibition, it is a debate, a reading that is closer to the theme. We start with man and we get to the Universe, its grand energy explosions, vibrations, vortexes, which gave birth to the universe. Then comes the theme of understanding between religions, the inter-religion dialog we find in the chapter Man, going on to the one on the Universe. The beginning deals with Nature, with its grand themes, including those famous lonely flowers in an ocean of color, of vibration. Also, we find there Emil Ciocoiu's cities, which are made up of strokes that are in fact people, and which form an easily recognizable objective.”
Works by Emil Ciocoiu can also be found in the Cologne Television Collection, the Dutch Royal House collection – Den Haag, the Venice Sacred Art Museum, the Aachen Ludwig Foundation, Romania's National Art Museum in Bucharest, and in China's National Art Museum in Beijing.