The 13th edition of the White Night of Art Galleries has been held recently in several cities in Romania
The 13th edition of the White Night of Art Galleries has been held recently in several cities in Romania. Art galleries, museums, cultural institutes, alternative venues, creative hubs and artist workshops offered night-long contemporary art programmes in Bucharest and 13 other Romanian cities. Alba Iulia, Arad, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Craiova, Iasi, Miercurea Ciuc, Petrila, Resita, Sfantu Gheorghe, Sibiu, Targu Mures and Timisoara were the hosts of special events as part of this festival.
The White Night of Art Galleries gives the public an opportunity to discover contemporary art in all its diversity, from visual arts to performing arts, music and film, and in all its forms of presentation, from museum display to curatorial concepts or works displayed in artists’ studios.
This year was the first time when the White Night of Art Galleries resulted in a permanent work of art: a project called Outside Histories, hosted by the Rezidenta BRD Scena 9 cultural venue in Bucharest. For this project, the artists Alexandru Ciubotariu, aka Pisica Patrata (the Romanian for “the Square Cat”), Robert Obert, Maria Balan and John Dot S painted live the walls of the venue. Bizarre scenes inspired from the Aztec culture, blended with Byzantine-inspired decorations, surround the yard of this building, which is an item of architectural heritage.
The building dates back to 1890, it belonged to King Michael, and was originally a gift from King Ferdinand to his wife, Queen Marie of Romania. The royal estate was later on turned into the headquarters of a public institution, then it hosted a Mexican restaurant, to be turned recently into a contemporary cultural centre, and it carries the marks of all the purposes it served during its long history.
Alexandru Ciubotariu, aka Pisica Patrata, is one of the most highly appreciated illustrators and street artists in Romania, and the founder of a Museum of Comic Books. We talked to him while he was painting live, on the night of the exhibition opening, and he told us what he was working on:
Pisica Patrata: “I am working on a tridimensional piece, which is somewhat new in my area of interest. What I am trying to convey is roughly unchanged, the only difference is that I am now trying to transfer these things into a tridimensional area. But for the time being it’s just work in progress.”
One of the projects is called “Un-hidden,” and Pisica Patrata told us a few words about it as well:
Pisica Patrata: “There are actually 2 exhibitions combined. One of them is a personal exhibition, I called it ‘+Plus,’ but apart from the mural paintings in the city, which more people seem to be familiar with, I am also trying to include the preliminary drafts, the details drawn on canvas, a tridimensional area, and even a few comic strips, so as to give viewers a broader image of my interests.”
Street artists were the stars of this year’s edition of the White Night of Art Galleries, Pisica Patrata told us:
Pisica Patrata: “This is a support exhibition for a project intended to map all things street-art in Bucharest at first, and across the country later on. It is basically an interactive map, which can be accessed by anybody, and where people can find every work of street art in Romania. The map is updated almost the same moment when an artist finishes a piece of work, so essentially the items in the exhibition are the reflection of the works you can find in public areas in the country.”
Pisica Patrata also told us about the extent to which street art has caught on in Romania:
Pisica Patrata: “I think in the recent period quite major works in this field have been completed, and the general impression is that people are beginning to understand the differences between graffiti, street art and street installations. And this makes street art easier to understand and to accept. I believe we can safely say now that lately street art has become more palatable.”
And because the Pisica Patrata exhibition was hosted by Imbold Gallery, which specializes in the reconstruction of the communist era, we invited the artist to explain this association:
Pisica Patrata: “It was their suggestion to begin with. I had worked with them extensively, and they insisted that we should put up this exhibition. I agreed, but on condition that I did what I try to do in every exhibition, namely to create a new artwork in each area or venue where I work. This is how this tridimensional item that you found me working on came to be. We still have a few walls left to paint, weather permitting, and several comic strips, four of which are scheduled for release almost simultaneously. The publishers are Casa Radio, where I’ve also been coordinating a collection devoted to children, called Radio Prichindel, which I am very fond of. So probably at the Gaudeamus book fair in November we will have 4 new volumes.”
As the artist told us, “comic books are my first love, so I’ll continue to put pen to paper and draw all the characters that live in my imagination.”
(translated by: Ana-Maria Popescu)