Author: Ileana Pintilie
Context: Exhibition at The Art Museum of Cluj-Napoca, 2009

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.

Copyright 2021 – All rights reserved –