Works by Constable, Korean art but also Romanian modern and contemporary artists are on show
The 10th edition of the famous art exhibition Art Safari opened on September 22 at the Dacia-Romania Palace in the Bucharest old town. A total of 5 exhibitions can be visited until December 11, 2022. This year, organizers have prepared a journey into the works of John Constable (1776-1837), a British Romantic painter and a pioneer of landscape painting, one of the most celebrated British classical painters. Korean art is also represented by a series of spectacular posters. And of course, there's a pavilion of Romanian art, featuring Ștefan Popescu (1972-1948), painter, sketcher and engraver, as well as the young Cluj-based artist Mihai Mureșan, an urban landscape painter. We spoke to Art Safari director, Ioana Ciocan, about the highlights of this year's edition:
"I would wholeheartedly recommend the collection of the great Victoria and Albert Museum, one of the most important museums in the world, which is on display here, at the Dacia-Romania Palace in Bucharest. The exhibition is devoted to John Constable, who is a sort of British version of Grigorescu. It is an impressive collection, which first and foremost stands out through the value of the works on display and particularly familiar sense we all get when we enter the world's biggest museums. A great museum in the heart of the capital-city, made possible through a partnership struck with Victoria and Albert on the sidelines of Art Safari. Of course, apart from the John Constable exhibition, there's also the exhibition devoted to Ștefan Popescu, organized in partnership with the Bucharest City Hall Museum, which features a painter, an artist, an engraver who scooped numerous prizes in France as well as Romania, presented to the public as a travelling painter. The exhibition includes works the artist created in Romania, France, Italy, Morocco, Albania and Egypt, since Popescu painted wherever he travelled. He was in fact the only Romanian to take part in the Venice Biennial three times. I would like the name Popescu, which is a common Romanian surname, to be henceforth associated with fine art as well. And let us not forget the exhibition devoted to Lilian Theil, a remarkable artist born in 1932 in Brașov, who is a needle painter using the appliqué technique to create very impressive embroideries. Raluca Ilaria Demetrescu is the curator of this exhibition that captures the highlights of recent history, including the pandemic, funerals, weddings, turbulent marriages, love stories, erotic scenes, basically every human experience is transparent in her works. We also have an exhibition devoted to Mihai Mureșan, an artist based in Cluj. The exhibition is curated by Prof. Ioan Sbârciu. The Cluj school of art needs no further introduction, as it helped train some of the superstars of the last 20 years. Prof. Sbârciu this morning told me that Mihai Mureșan will be the next name on this list".
How difficult was it to organize such a complex exhibition against a very turbulent contemporary background, ridden with conflicts, cancelled flights and an uncertain economic context?
"It was a very tough job, but we've spent years negotiating this contract. Of course, this was also made possible with the help of the British Embassy in Romania and our entire team, who wanted to get this great museum to Romania. So I hope that everyone who is a fan of Constable, and I mean Europeans in general, should get on a plane and come to Bucharest and see his exhibition".
Coming back to the 2022 Art Safari, director Ioana Ciocan spoke about the Korean exhibition, which may come as a surprise for local art lovers.
"South Korea is represented with a special exhibition at Art Safari, a collection of posters inspired by the Korean script. It's a very colorful and vibrant collection and involves a tremendous amount of work. The artist is Byoungil Sun, an internationally acclaimed artist, who will actually come to Bucharest for a series of workshops addressing fine arts students from all over the country. And there's more. We also have contemporary art installations created by Mihai Mureșan. There's one set up in the central lobby, and one on the second floor, as part of his private exhibition. And since this is an Art Safari, of course there is a jungle involved".
At the end of our talk with Ioana Ciocan, the director of Art Safari also had a few recommendations for us:
"This year as well we have divided the exhibition in two. There's an international pavilion comprising two exhibitions, and then there's the national pavilion which consists of three exhibitions. So we suggest art lovers should make several visits to see Art Safari. If I were to pick three works of art, I would choose 'Leaping Horse' from Victoria and Albert, then the Byoungil Sun poster and a 1502 engraving by Dürer that inspired John Constable. And I would also pick a Rembrandt, a representation of a famous tree that also inspired Constable's landscapes. So there's a lot to see in Bucharest, works by Constable, but also Gainsborough, Turner, Rembrandt and Dürer". (VP)