November 21 2004, I stroll through the gallery, at midnight, taking a look at the paintings exhibited by the group called „NOIMA”.(Ciprian Bodea, Dan Gherman, Sorin Neamţu, Andrei Rosetti, Sorin Scurtulescu, Sorin Oncu)

I looked through the window. The other way round. From outside towards inside. The world was opening. No one opposed anyone. Everything was included. The eye was the only exclusive organ, watching the space with limited interest. And the space had no limits. It was like at the very beginning. A garden as big as the world.

There was a stillness in this world, which became continuous. In its stillness, beyond its ending, its constant heartbeat announced life: the flowers, the field, the trees, the grass, and the cactus in the pot.

I didn’t see the master. I told myself he must be taking a nap. I could feel him breathing, he was an embedded presence. One can’t see him with bare eyes. One must be well trained to sight him.

I kept looking from outside towards inside. I heard steps, voices. I stood up on my tiptoes to get a better view of the world. It was a world in itself, perpetual, alive. It was moving in silence, suggesting immobility. Looking through the window, I recognized the beginning. All over the place, there was a beginning. did me a power of good, I braced myself, and, in the morning, after a beautiful and serene night, after a good sleep, I prepared my coffee with more enthusiasm than usual and drank it with joy.

This, I told myself, must mean something, after all!

The master from the painting whispered, like a prompter: this is the beginning!


NOIMA... What is this group and what keeps its members together? As its very name suggests (“meaning”), I think their main aim is that of finding the meaning of painting and their own role, as painters, in this world and in this age. If noimă (“meaning”) is a common word, mostly used pejoratively, this group conveys a new dimension to it: the avid search for the way, for the encounter, essential when trying to validate and promote life for the sake of painting and other beautiful things. A serious search, which is, also, self-confident. NOIMA (founded in 2003) stemmed from fertile soil, as Timişoara has a quite old and rich tradition of groups of “visual artists” (who used to be called, in Romanian, plastic artists). There were two outstanding such groups in the late 1960s, years of openness and effervescence: „111” (1966) and „Sigma”(1969), which grew into legends. A decade later, in harder political circumstances, two exhibitions are worth mentioning: „Study I” (1978) and „Study II” (1981), which were, in act, groups themselves (at least in terms of their view on the act of painting). All these events were the result of an avid search for meaning, a search which could be more successful if performed by like-minded people, who then gave precious, reliable evidence (to other artists and the public) about the experience of the Art of living. All these events were remarkably attended by a man who made a real difference -

Constantin Flondor. This is all the more important to mention, since NOIMA is made up of Constantin Flondor’s most hardworking and endowed apprentices. They are Andrei Rosetti (Deva, b. 1974), Ciprian Bodea (Timişoara, b. 1979), Dan Gherman (Lipova, b. 1980), Sorin Neamţu (Arad, b. 1977), Sorin Scurtulescu (Timişoara, b. 1979). 5 men from 4 towns. Some of them were workshop mates at the university, some had previously graduated from other universities (especially the polytechnic school: Andrei Rosetti, Sorin Neamţu). But this group seems to be closer to another one, “Prolog”, based in Bucharest, but whose founding member was the same wonderful man, Constantin Flondor.

To grasp the importance of such experiences – both life and art experiences – here are some of Constantin Flondor’s impressions after joining the above-mentioned groups: • 1984: „painting becomes my primeval magma” (in 1965-1966 he had given up the “oil paintings”) • 1986: „to paint observantly” • 1987: „painting is a moral act before it is an aesthetic one” • 1987: „I am attempting a prayer-painting” • 2000-2001: „painting is a staircase, a means, a vertical channel between God and the painter, it is contemplation”. All this, the result of lengthy meditation, of mystical and intense experiences, must have been passed on to his attentive students, not necessarily in a didactic manner, but more implicitly, in an osmotic way.

It was a gift from God that these (still young) artists were the disciples of Professor Constantin Flondor. Their contribution was the fact that they were aware of this gift. Their bond with their mentor consists of love, admiration, gratitude. It is, thus, worth looking at the things the students owe their Teacher. There are quite a few things: • the way they relate themselves to painting, with full responsibility towards themselves, towards their addressees, and, moreover, towards God, Who paid the talants; • the attention paid to the detail of life; • the attention paid to Creation, to nature (with its species), time – minutely observed, since it is regarded as a concrete and materialized dimension); • the exploration of a subject or a theme (which is not given up until as many of its visual and iconic dimensions have been caught as the artist is able to); • a certain diversity of their means of artistic expression (they also tackle photography and film etc.); • the exploration of colours, sometimes by means of their endless shades (the colours are intense and alive in themselves, but, upon the artist’s touch, they become traces of a feeling or a state of mind); • the involvement and high degree of responsibility, which is entailed by each pictorial gesture. Sometimes, there are also influences identified in the technical or literary details of the painting: • a certain way of applying touches; • a certain composition and colouring; • imprints in the field of painting, embedded in the painting, etc. What I find remarkable in this sense is that, if, in terms of basic elements of craftsmanship, they have been internalized and followed by all of them, in terms of representation (in and with the painting), each artist seems to have borrowed something else from their mentor, according to their own personality. That is why the members of this group are similar, but different. At the same time, they inherit the artistic silence and restlessness of their mentor... We also learn from them, despite their discretion, what it is like to walk away from the Teacher in such a way as to remain close to him in everything (in terms of structural similarities). That is why there is no one who can refer better and more accurately to NOIMA as a group and to each of its members than their Teacher.

An interesting exercise would be that of looking at what members of other groups had in common (in Constantin Flondor’s view) and what connects the members of today’s NOIMA (in Sorin Neamţu’s view).

The „111” group (1966): • Common principles and lots of affinities • They were different “in detail”, in their ideas and visual sensitiveness.
The „Sigma” group (1969): • The contact with mathematics and physics • A rationalabstract approach.
The „Prolog” group (1985): • „What brings us together is friendship and a bit of otherness” • „the painting is not the main reason why we maintain our bond” • „here is where we learnt the meaning of being together, cleanness, simplicity, the fact that nothing exists in itself.”
NOIMA (2003): • „We were brought together by mutual fondness and a common appreciation of art.” • „We don’t have a manifesto which would announce that the world is to be turned upside down.” • „Sometimes, we feel we are walking against the current. (...) We are even defensive (through our faith in painting).” • „We want to become good painters.” • „Most of us are searching. (...) To be sure, we are painting, in a way, searching for answers.”

To sum up, for NOIMA: common beliefs as painters (• „painting is a way of investing emotion”; • „painting stays alive and expressive when the painter is good”; • „painting is not a morally obsolete art”) and friendship, sincere friendship. The public workshops, the meetings with other painters (more often than not, in their own flats – which reminds me of Kieslovski’s Decalogue, where you could see how many exceptional things, from wonders to tragedies, can happen around blocks of flats and inside blocks of flats: real life!), the group exhibitions are all special occasions to meet, to talk and work together, with the raw matter of their craftsmanship. (The same spirit of adventure, for the sake of learning together, has characterized a recent, spontaneous and enthusiastic trip to Budapest, to see an exceptional van Gogh exhibition). Another element to be taken into account is their assumed, non-ideologized belonging to the Church, their life in its luminous shade. One can see and feel these things and be transported by them. The NOIMA members make up a spiritual family and a guild (craft is more important for them than any ideology). Together, they are stronger, so they can stick to genuine painting more successfully. At the same time, however, each member goes on his own way, his world being the reflection of the Creator’s same world. Each member is searching for his own place. The search is the genuine artist’s natural state, as he hates to follow prescriptions. But their ways meet, due to their seriousness, aspirations, human qualities. Each of them oscillates between the “warehouse” of his personal painting and the space of exhibiting in the middle of his community. Meeting them and watching them together are such beautiful, encouraging and optimistic experiences!
What can I tell them, while they are still at the beginning of their career? We are always tempted by competition. Sometimes, this is a harmless temptation, because it stems from a natural need to relate to hierarchies, to reach the top in a field of study (the top, which is felt to be closer to God!), to get there as fast as possible. But maybe there are moments, just as important, when classifications should be left aside, in order to make way for simple and pure satisfactions. To make way for comparisons, which are not so much about value, as they are about the contents – the visual contents in this particular case. Maybe what characterizes really good painting is beyond comparison. But if we learn to enjoy each little flower, then we can look at paintings as flowers, created by man with God’s help. The painting is ineffable, with its bidimensional and fragile nature… The painter is a “seer”, Octav Grigorescu wrote in a letter. So are the poets, the composers, even the performers, who see, or, more precisely, hyper-see. They hyper-see the “crystal structure” (Krzysztof Zanussi). However, the painter is the only artist who gives back what he has hyper-seen, by means of sight, for better and more profound knowledge. With the painter’s help, we can all hyper-see with our own eyes.

They are all very good painters. “Good” is the feature which occurs at the beginning of the artist’s career, a quality which should be always nursed and nurtured. That is why their (correct!) confession is this: „We want to become good painters!” Let their painting be, from now on, a confession, a (self-) sacrifice, a hyper-vision, a wondrous discovery, a recovery, a returned gift, and, above all, glory… The most important thing is to have something to say. This is why they are all so wonderful. If they are also patient and hardworking, the rest will come naturally. They all deserve our congratulations. And our attention. And their canvases should reach us as closely and intimately as possible, in our homes, to make us rejoice. In a painting, its quality is less important than one’s personal relationship with it, the way in which a rapport is established between the painting and the viewer (or owner), a relationship which may turn into friendship.

Horia Bernea used to quote Father Justin Pârvu (Petru Vodă Monastery)’s idea, which he was very fond of: „Painting is the younger sister of mystics”. I believe this is where the circle formed by the painting condition becomes full: it is an appropriate discoverer and presenter of God’s mysteries and His Creation.

Will there be painting in Heaven? I believe so! Anyway, I am sure there will be many painters there. Will they still be painting? I don’t know. I hope I shall find out!


What is remarkable in the NOIMA group is their relationship with time. Perfectly contemporary, inserted in the present without hesitation, the young artists revisit the monuments of tradition reverentially and perseveringly. The confidence of their realization that they belong to our times does not tarnish the grace with which they go beyond the trend, the standard, the dictatorship of the latest cry. They understood, as it were, that – above all – tradition is a past that refuses to pass away.


The association, in an exhibition, of Andrei Rosetti, Sorin Scurtulescu and Sorin Neamţu is not only a sign of spiritual closeness, dating back to their years of apprenticeship, but also reveals despite apparent differences an artistic affinity and a type of similarity of visions. Their quests resemble some threads which, in their irregular ways, eventually meet and come together, following a common course.

What unites the three artists is their continuous struggle to find a way into painting, the tenacious fight with raw materials, which they are striving to transform into refined matter, spiritualized by the act of creation. In the desire to recreate this process, they start step by step from the easiest and most convenient model, which they analyze by decomposing shape, in order to find essences hidden within the matter.

Subjects are apparently devoid of grandeur, going down in the anonymity of ordinary things or even in that of the unimportant ones. It is in these harmless forms, which usually go unnoticed, that the matter worthy of being transformed and spiritualized by the creative effort seems to hide.

In Andrei Rosetti’s view this matter is now “the window” and “the wall” or “the walledin window” and the amorphous surfaces, cut from the urban complexity and isolated in real “samples”. Subject to the careful eye of the painter, who sees beyond these appearances, the motifs are being transformed in vibrant surfaces, delicately colored in the playful blending of light and shadow. The walls and their textures occupy the entire surface of the painting and displace the landscape, which sometimes is only looming in a corner or is presented through scarce elements of vegetation, appearing only incidentally in the picture.

Painted images alternate with black and white photographs of such “raw materials”, details of walls and bricks, slits that leave place for the darkness to settle and that “live” by their association with the paintings. These studies display samples taken from the surroundings, becoming a visual reference for the paintings.

The artistic effort to transpose in painting the motif found in the surroundings tames the raw material through the vibrated touches, through the light relationships and through the attenuation of the details and all these transform the work in an almost abstract field. The maximum effect is achieved in a diptych titled Alb & negru, alb & alb (Bârcea) (White & black, white & white (Bârcea)).

The two works faithfully inspired by reality, a reality sublimated however to abstraction, represent, in concrete words, the outline of a former square window (in the meantime suppressed) in the middle of a white wall. The artist first paints the built-in window, which appears black on the white wall and then transforms the value relations, when this outline is painted white on the white wall. The accident that occurred in real life becomes the pretext of a diptych which comprises works having a symbolic value and recover, ironically or not, Kazimir Malevich’s suprematist experience, Black Square against a Black Background and White Square against a White Background. Without being a manifesto, the diptych we are dealing with holds however an exemplary position in the current series of works of Andrei Rosetti, illustrating the way the artist traveled from reality to abstraction, from form to concept, but without denying the “reality” of form.

In his quest for the art of painting Sorin Neamţu simplifies and disassembles form down to essentiality. His interest is directed towards the world of objects, usually containers of pure geometric forms, from a postindustrial society. Giving the impression of representations reduced to the minimum, to their true function, discharged of the decorative excess of obsolete ages, these objects called receptacles and containers by the artist become the ideal model for him to build his own way in painting, eliminating
the surp us of a too discursive language, composed around the motif.

Form treatment leads to a certain extent to its dematerialization in the sense of an abstraction effect. The idea of a vacuum container highlights, through this absence, the subject that remains an empty volume or sometimes just a contour. Thus, the artist gets closer to the outside world through a process of perception, but also through one of analysis, suppressing the urge to paint the effects of a world too full from a sensorial point of view.

The will to decompose the outside world, subjecting it to a systematic analysis, becomes the impulse that determines the painter to reduce his inspiration possibilities, to continuously go back to simple forms, able to contain, to which he adds one more column object, whose imprecise and ambiguous presence amazes and arouses curiosity. This inexplicable object, in which shape, functionality, simplicity and symbolism combine and temper each other, produces the effect of a mental game, a challenge.

The artist reduces his plastic means - the chromatics is cool, the complementary agreements are refined and the vibrant touch is being used - aiming to reduce the pictorial effects, in a desire for temperance and moderation which is equivalent to asceticism and at the same time with an intellectual approach. Oscillating between intellect and perception, Sorin Neamţu’s painting seems seriously committed to the mastery of matter and its transformation into a new substance, imbued with spirituality.

Whereas Andrei Rosetti’s inspiration comes from landscape and Sorin Neamţu’s from oversized still life, Sorin Scurtulescu’s favorite motif is, for some time, the nude. Based on the study of the human figure, an old theme and a challenge for any artist, he wishes to overcome the actual formal representation and to make a conceptual analysis of this motif. Nudes are for him “moving bodies”, and the interest focuses mainly on color. Using color overlapped in thick paste, recoveries and deletions with the spatula, the artist experiments with form and gets spontaneous effects, leaving room for surprise and hazard.

In this sense the nude or the “body” - as he calls this motif - becomes a pretext for a series of experimental studies of representation, such as breaking form, which “blocks the idea” by its conformism. The artist seeks to dematerialize the figure by reducing the contour almost to deletion, to abstract it by blurredness, by overlapping colors and thick paste, where he then causes accidents such as cuts, exfoliation, attacks on the pictorial material.

Continuously subjected to the dematerialization by deleting the contour, by treating the colored surface as a small relief and by cancellation of any perspective, the body becomes in Sorin Scurtulescu’s vision colored fluid, an emblem of humanity dethroned from its central position. At the same time, the dispersion of the plastic motif (Cinci corpuri în mişcare, Five bodies in motion) allows the painter to develop his color research, exalted by various methods, such as alternating matte with glossy surfaces, the use of double or triple glazes, returning at regular short intervals.

The three young painters complete one another and are thus united by the desire to experiment with less investigated ways and not to become subject to the pressure of easy images, “fashionable”, which might shock through the visions borrowed from the new media. They try to remain in the field of purely pictorial experiments without amazing the viewers, or at least in no other way than by their powerful insight.


Curating a 3 day show gives consideration to all the NOIMA Group’s facets and achievements, including the solo artists, is challenging, but thrilling. What I spotted first, was a transformation of styles, the trespassing of borders, the groups urge to fathom art theory in practical environment, the one step beyond. For there are several strings leading to NOIMA’s universe, I suggested to connect them to diverse forms of presentation and communication. The main display is located in the exhibition space Schleifmühlgasse 12-14: a permanently lighted window. Inside we will establish a narrative space, presenting the history of NOIMA group and their development. Text, sketches, drawings and documentation of former projects are positioned in the middle of the exhibition space. Emerging out from this midpoint different strings are leading to the individuals, the members of the group, Ciprian Bodea, Sorin Scurtulescu, Cosmin Fruntes and Andrei Rosetti.

Watching the NOIMA group, it seems that working together helps reflecting an issue, and encourages to try out various interpretations and visualization on one topic. Painting is only one side of the used media, NOIMA is using video, photography, sculpture as well as performance.

Being an artist can lead to autistic character traits, living closed in between studio walls or tagged to a computer. After an artist has left the academy real life starts with lonesomeness, questions, self reflections and rare answers. Gathering to a group is a logical idea, but hidden fears, shyness or mistrust are some of the reasons, why co-operations often end before starting something big.

You will find an exception in NOIMA Group, based in Romania. All of the members studied in TimiÈ™oara at the Fine Arts Academy, where they settled as group. NOIMA was founded in 2003 by Sorin Scurtulescu, Andrei Rosetti, Ciprian Bodea, Dan Gherman, Sorin NeamÈ›u and Sorin Oncu. NOIMA made its debut in 2004 at The Joys Literay Café, Arad. In the same year, the first exhibition under the NOIMA name/brand took place at Galeria 28 in TimiÅŸoara. At the moment, NOIMA has the following active members: Sorin Scurtulescu, Andrei Rosetti, Ciprian Bodea, Cosmin FrunteÅŸ.

Even if the NOIMA artists are traveling, exhibiting and working on projects together, all of them have at least two additional duties: working as an artist on own projects and working for money, for feeding the families. The reason, why they maybe complicate their lives by founding a group, was and actually is the consciousness of being stronger, louder, more significant and aware of following an objective and establishing on an international market when working together.

Ismen in fine arts, as well as manifests, mostly complicate group activities. Decisions hardly can be made in non-hierarchical groups. Still, they are rare but existing: successful groups in contemporary art history (for example Gelitin). You will find many reasons against gathering and cooperating, but more convincing arguments speak for copying the practize of NOIMA and establishing a group with the only goal to make art, to have more power, to bundle the energy, be stronger as a group, and to have an exchange – which will prevent you from getting too autistic.

One of the special character of each solo artist is the development from natural forms in an expressive way to abstract paintings or vice versa. Following a common project helps in reflecting the issue, and try out various interpretations and visualization on one topic. Painting is only one side of the used medias, mostly following their own tracks the media is changing, they are using video, photography, sculptures as well as performances, with which Sorin Scurtulescu startet in London in 2013.

I choose the fragile installation E574 EXPERIMENT by Cosmin Fruntes, combined with the wall relief, BURNED FIELD, a mixed media installation and the collage FUSION. The objective is to show the artist’s wide range of working in contemporary fine arts while still being based in painting. Fruntes’ main interest in that variety is to stretch the second dimension out into the third.

CONVEX CONCAV is a series by Ciprian Bodea, which deals with triggering the brain and reflecting on the usual way of seeing. Bodea experiments with structure, perspective and textural effects as well as with shadow and light. The same approach he uses when he is painting. I choose 360° Schleifmühlgasse for pointing out the relations between graphical projections and paintings.

The PLASTIC BAG SHOE PROJEKT demonstrates how so called private experiences lead to fine art projects. From an incident in daily life, walking through the rain without proper shoes, Sorin Scurtulescu developed a new artificial style of “Wellingtons”.To that I will oppose blurred ink drawings, NIGHT OUT and NIGHT IN VENICE compiled with a 360° painting of Schleifmühlgasse 12-14 EX LOCATION VIENNA. The three art works are different in media, but together perfectly represent the artist’s approach.

The Photographs by AndreI Rosetti are blurred and foggy, like a breeze of cold air. The title of the series, SWEATRAINDIRT evokes a social level behind the surface. The images can be read as reminding of social housing ghettos as well as of lonely lovers left in the middle of nowhere. It depends on the spectator which story shows up.
The paintings appear clearer, more structured. Their resemblance to architecture draft the desire to look behind the facade.

OUT OF A BLIZZARD (fragments)

My Time with NOIMA, 3 of 15 years

NOIMA emerged in front of the gallery windows in Vienna out of a blizzard, armed with easel, canvas and paintbrushes. They moved themselves in the desired position outside, square shaped. Snowflakes were dancing like in Constantin Flondor´s famous paintings, while the four artists, Ciprian Bodea, Cosmin Fruntes, Andrei Rosetti and Sorin Scurtulescu, were kind of dancing, following a secret choreography, changed their positions clockwise and added layer over layer on their canvases. This procedure and empathic capacity for artistic depiction was a new experience for me. I got fond of their love for art and their approach as an artist group.

As students of Constantin Flondor they are aware of modern and contemporary art development in Romania. Their cumulative established knowledge of Timisoara tradition in art lies in the realms of education by Flondor, who was a member of 111 and Sigma Group. The 111 Group, founded in 1966, focused on the study of the principles of constructivism, and the Bauhaus School model. Its members – Ștefan Bertalan, Constantin Flondor and Roman Cotoșman – found their personal artistic language quickly, and presented a well coagulated theoretical research, strengthened by a close friendship. During the Nürnberg Biennial trip, Cotoșman emigrated, while Bertalan and Flondor continued working on common artistic projects, based on interdisciplinary and inter-medium ideas, forming a new group – Sigma – which included Doru Tulcan, Ion Gaita, Elisei Rusu and Lucian Codreanu. A defining characteristic of Sigma group was the declared program of work, based on the principle of team and interdisciplinary work (mathematics, cybernetics, bionics, but also plastic structures).

Out of this tradition NOIMA are playing joyfully with different medias, oscillating between classical painting, performance, photography. The idea of going out, like French Impressionists, to observe and research nature, was one of Sigma´s motto. Learning by deconstructing flowers and herbs, monitoring elements, finding out everything about structure and static. They transformed flowers into abstract sculptures, the Dandelion by Doru Tulcan i.e. still appears like a futuristic animal.

NOIMA is following these traditional approach, but moves it in the 21st century.

They are still practicing like mad, they are going out in nature or during the night in cities and paint what they see. Light, movement, air, nature, objects. They love the procedure of classical paintings, the altercation with image composition, the influence of natural light.

Short before we met they decided that NOIMA should not be any longer only a dialogue space between individual painting projects, but a visual environment. The group is figuring as an organism, a living system, which is talking about the big (collective) eye, the tactile whiskers… in form of performative dialogues with the surrounding space. Following game-moves and a particular grammar, searching for collective visual perspectives in different contexts, disputing drawing, painting, performing, photographing, sharing visual experiences, changing perspectives and approaches is the way for NOIMA to take together.

Gathering and working together is the best possibility of surviving in contemporary art. As a group every single member is feeling stronger, together the appearance is more effective, louder and surviving becomes possible in lean times.

As we know it is great to have a shared history over 15 years, but it ain´t easy as well. Therefore it is even more impressive to see how they are working out their projects, though all of them are employed for daily living and three of them having children too. Even though they have spare time for meetings and workshops, for education trips with collectors and for participating in group shows all over Europe, based on the understanding of their wives and families.

We are working together for three years now, realizing different shows and projects. It has been really thrilling for me to observe their evolution of site specific performances, to realize the development in painting, to experience their theoretical background. They keep me aware, talks and meetings are inspiring, cordially and open minded. Meanwhile our discussions include topics like literature, politics, religion, as well as relevant issues of contemporary art. I have learned a lot about Romanian Art History and I reduced my knowledge gaps.

Out of a spontaneous blizzard meeting developed a cooperation and friendship I will not miss anymore.


NOIMA – is an Romanian polyvalent word, that litteraly translates as SENSE
/NOIMA. At the begining there was painting; and painting was with NOIMA; and painting was Noima (t/n: sense)/
The road of NOIMA through noima (sense) begins with the year 2003 in Timișoara, Romania. The first nucleus forms in the workshop and studio of artist Constantin Flondor, a significant personality in the contemporary Romanian art scene and also an initiator of many artistic groups and movements, defined as the neo-avantgarde in the city of Timișoara during the 1960s (i.e.”Group 111”, ”Sigma”, and eventually, ”Prologue”).

Logos Spermatikus was for them the drawing and painting, like earth and water, the studio and mentor moulded as life-giving breath.

Mircea Nedelciu in his book “Zmeura de câmpie” proposes an alternative history defined not by events which compose it, but by a semantic inventory composed of certain words and concepts that constantly conduct it from its incipient form. “Noima” today stands as an archaic word, an autochthonic word, too much embedded in the local spectre surrounded by the new realities of the world-wide web. But it is this very archaic resonance amongst post-structuralist concepts, which gives this word its new meaning. Thus, it is no longer just a synonym for the words “meaning” and “purpose”, but becomes a concept in itself that is representative of an entire tradition of native “meaning”. “Noima” becomes a rigorous kind of “meaning”, that is pragmatic and non-reflective, structured after a gradual deduction. Following the deconstruction of the word, in its form “noima” becomes “noi” – us, but also “the new”.. By spelling the word in Romanian, we get “noi” and “mă” (which can be understood as an imperative word for “you”). These two words which compose “noima” become a motto while being pronounced slowly one after another they translate literally as “we!”.

Cu-Noi-MA (t/n: /With us/for a purpose) And all things were made for a purpose/with us ( (Noi-ma)/; and nothing that was made, wasn’t made without a purpose/without us.(Noi-ma)

“Noima” becomes a definite group in the year 2014, by defining its final component and its direction for which to follow. At the beginning the preference was to define itself as an artistic group through various formulas and formations, given the context and event. Now, we see a form of collaborative art a byproduct of relational aesthetics – where the five artists successfully practice performative actions (painting, happenings, public-space interventions, etc.), quintessentially defined by painting. A group is like a composition of similar objects, while a group of collaborative artists is defined by social constructs. A group of collaborative artists favours a more coherent explanation of a certain concept, but also a more sincere and significant orientation towards the spectator who becomes a participant in a relational art. If the artistic group of the twentieth century created a form of art that became devoid of its origin in an exhibition space that in itself retained an atmosphere of a prescribed concept, a group of collaborative artists utilize the exhibition space as an alternative world with its own narrative. Hence the international recognition these artists enjoyed in galleries and institutions around Europe.

Cu-noi-ma (With us) seems to stand as a manifesto delivered by NOIMA with every public interference made so far. Thus, the transgression becomes visible also in relation to the work itself, ranging from problems involving the observation of ones surroundings – nature, especially – to preoccupations which are more linked to the artistic process – the transformation of the studio and the artist’s purpose in today’s society.
/Fără Noimă (/Without meaning/Without purpose) There was no Meaning, and they came talk about MEANING/US!/

NOIMA is not all a structure and a meaning. It is also play. However, we cannot talk about meaningless play, but about that revelatory play that Johan Huizinga attributes to homo ludens. Play is a form of action that resonates with eastern culture and tradition, where the prologue to discovering the ontological mystery is endlessly postponed. This preference fortifies an apparently paradoxical characteristic: as long as you are more attached to spaces outside your native ones, the more you are inclined to wish encipher in yourself, like an enclave, national liberty and specificity.


The topic of the show spanned the period from the 1960s to the present, beginning with works of Neo-avantgardists from former socialist states on Balkan and conceptual art that reflect on both the conditions of artistic production and reception and also their social dimensions and critiques of history. Specialist of that period is Ileana Pintilie, who will sum up for us the wide range of the exciting phase of artistic and social development in Romanian contemporary art history.

Hidden Paradise allows the recipient a glimpse in different levels of history. Intimate stories from the childhood or won experiences in the changes of times and systems. Sociopolitical stories about disobedience and revolt. Historical stories about transformation from modern to contemporary art. All these stories are fixed to the specific example of the Romanian border town Timișoara / Temesvar, the relevant cradle of political and art historian revolution.

The artists Ciprian Bodea, Cosmin Frunteș, Andrei Rosetti, Sorin Scurtulescu, well known as NOIMA, are artists on their own as well. Hidden Paradies presents each of them with another approach, all of them connected to their personally history and their development to art scene and their out coming of being an artist.

The artists access to this theme is different but very personal. The works are independent works with references to the Art School of Timișoara. Education by artists such as Constantin Flondor has left its mark, for example the closeness to nature and its study, the passionate devotion to art and nature. Nevertheless, each of the four painters managed to shed the shackles of tradition, but to transform quintessence into contemporary art.

We use the exhibition, the confrontation with yesterday and today, with politics and art, as a breeding ground for further debates about the importance of art and artists for a change in society, sometimes also for a shift of the political landscape. Taking responsibility is not just about artists, each of us should feel responsible for the state of our world. The dialogue between East and West, the exchange of experiences and achieved successes brings us closer together and can help to understand historical phenomena, perhaps also help to avoid dictatorships in the future. In any case, this exhibition should give the opportunity to search for hidden paradises and to integrate utopias in everyday life.

NOIMA – Work in Progress

Experimenting means getting out of a circle, experimeter. But, the thing is, there are more ways of getting out of the circle. Getting out of the circle by keeping the centre. And getting out of the circle by moving your centre. There are always experiments taking place at a smaller or bigger scales. I mean when there is no experiment at all, you are a little dead, meaning you don’t challenge yourself. You have to challenge yourself to keep yourself alive. If you’re not challenged and you rely on what you know, I do every day what I did yesterday without that extra of getting out the perimeter, of experimeter, maybe there should be a word that’s the opposite. Going deeper inside the perimeter you have, something imperimeter. The experiment is also something that can be very logical, but it can also be a challenge of your courage.

We see in art newspapers words that are automatically bandied about as good or bad. The experiment is generally thought to be a good thing. Tradition is generally seen as a bad thing. In my opinion, they both have a positive and a negative side. And an experiment can be a useless or a degrading one. As well as being something that helps you grow enormously. Tradition is the same. I mean traditionalism could be the fear of seeing life, the present and the movement.
But there is a thing that is the centre of that peremeter which needs to be nourished all the time, it needs to be kept alive.

Being part of a group is something special. Because the group shapes you, it creates a certain education around the artists or its members, which is truly special. And I felt this in my experience in all the groups I’ve belonged to. When I was a teacher and the ones in the Noima group, one of which was Sorin, were students, I may have told them, maybe they knew a lot of what the Prolog group means. But I was trying to model them to be sensitive to the joy of being together. That being alone is one thing, and being together with a few colleagues, painting partners, is a joy and it means a lot. D2

So being part of a group doesn’t only mean stylistic affinity, it mostly means being friends with the others. Their friendship is very important. As proof, until Noima was set up in 2019, there were members that could be in the group, who said I can’t cope, I can’t be in the Noima group, they left it, others came and wanted it. That’s how this bunch of young people came about. What’s certain, and I think you all agree, is the spiritual affinity that binds them. The way of feeling life and the world and the painting in the same way, all of them. Even if stylistically now after seeing them after so many years, they can be separated really well, one from another. So they’re alike and also different, which is a good thing.

Speaking again as a psychologist rather than a painter, each of them had something personal and something in common. One is more dynamic, another one more sensitive... The age made them all alike in a way. They all wanted to be known. And this can be seen in the way you use the brush, in your brushstroke, also in your way of thinking. Apart from this desire to be heard or known, I dare say they were also linked by a certain modesty. This desire didn’t go as far as scandal and rudeness. They each knew their place.

The group shapes you, it creates a certain education around its artists, or its members, which is truly special. And I felt this in all my experience, in all the groups I’ve belonged to. Knowing how to enjoy somebody else’s results. It makes you altruistic. It makes you shape somehow the drawback that all the artists have, egocentrism. A certain egocentrism was always left aside, in relation to the joy that the Prolog group, or the Noima group, or the Sigma group accomplished something good. So this was another very important lesson I learned from belonging to a group.