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Alexandra Muresan

Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Cristina Popescu Russu

Cristina Popescu Russu - Romanian contemporary ceramics

Interview by Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

In 1975 you graduated Ceramics at the Nicolae Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest. You have been active in this domain for over 35 years, all marked by a large number of exhibitions, as well as participations to international symposiums. How was this passion for ceramics born? Have you had any masters that marked your career?

In the Music & Fine Arts Highschool in Craiova, the teachers Şopov Cole Nicos, Ion Marineanu and Vasile Buz have inspired me a love for painting as well as for molding. I fell in love with our prehistoric ceramics and from then on I knew I would dedicate myself to this domain.  
In the N. Grigorescu Arts Institute in Bucharest I had the privilege of meeting remarkable teachers: Lucia Ioan Neagu, Costel Badea. I learned something from each of them, namely to learn as much arts history as possible, to investigate, to experiment and to be creative at the same time, to not plagiarize, to know that talent had no significance without daily work, and that only the well made work, the passionate one - can lead to performance.
Being fascinated by the renaissance techniques in painting and by the technology of ceramics - like I was then, I used to work all day long in the Institute with the love and the exigency that have been taught to us by our professors.

The material that you most often work with is porcelain. What determines you to prefer it to all others? What are the artistic proprieties of porcelain that makes it more suitable for you than any other material?

In the ’70 and the ’80 there was collaboration between the arts institutes and the factories in the country that specialized in porcelain, tile, sandstone, glass and other materials. The students used to make their internship and their diploma works there, benefiting from what is vital for an artist: the specific materials and technologies. My love for porcelain was born there as a challenge. Only the ones who have knowledge in the technology of ceramics can comprehend how difficult it is to achieve performance when porcelain is the material of choice. It is a difficult material, hard to manage, because it has a memory and you have to know with precision the distortions, the contractions, the burning curves, when you want to obtain something in particular. Everything is fascinating about this material: the pure white, the translucence gained by the thinning of the fragments, its resonance when it is well burned, its preciousness. 

[] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

You are the founder of Galateea Gallery, the only gallery in Romania dedicated to promoting contemporary Romanian ceramics. What is the Gallery’s history and what are its projects?

In 1953, the Artists Union in Romania is granted the use of the space for an exposition hall. In 1955, arh. Eugen Vernescu arranges it to host painting and sculpture expositions. Twenty years later, arh. Mircea Coradino dramatically modifies its interior and façade, and the art critiques Mihai Ispir and Mihai Drişcu titled it Galateea Gallery.

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  • Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

    ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Marta Jakobovits

    Marta Jakobovits - Romanian ceramic artist

    Interview by by Ileana Surducan and Alexandra Mureşan for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

    What message or emotion do you want to convey to the observer through your works? Is your artistic undertake based on a certain idea or is it more of a searching process and experimentation?

    For me, this process is never conscious, programmed or preconceived. It is more of a constant experiment that is absolutely instinctive. My only guides on this path are those primal, undefined sensations generated by touching and feeling the malleable and permissive clay.
    Only afterwards I come to realize with wonder that a kind of actualization takes place - a humble identification, like a translation of some archaic, immemorial message. When I stop and ”read” the pieces that I created, and I analyze the way I created them, I marvel and realize that an actualization was already in me, that that translation was made through me.
    Good or bad, this is my path; through it I try to understand, not in a rational way, but rather through sensations and feelings, some of the facts of my existence, trying at the same time to leave some signs behind, signs that have meaning only if they are perceived by others.

    [] Read the full interview in Ceramics Now - Issue Two

    Many of your works are created in raku – a technique that is not the most convenient for everybody. Why did you choose this technique? What are the advantages and disadvantages that it presents?

    Raku is a technique that allows one to obtain very special and organic effects, both surprising and discreet. The expressive potential of the surface is greatly enhanced and can vary according to time and to different types of materials used in the burning – crumbled paper, sawdust, grass or dry leafs. Because of the strange appearance obtained through the ulterior reductions, the objects that are born through raku seem to me to be part of an ancient world, they appear timeless.

    The process of preparing the clay for the object that will be raku fired is special and equally important to me, because this offers just as many possibilities. The preparation involving different salts, oxides, engobes or glazes, in diverse combinations gives the final piece a special and unique visual individuality.
    Throughout the years I tested many of these possibilities, and through numerous repetitions I tried to understand and feel the spell of prompt intervention and immediate decision. These interventions can give you the impression that you work directly with the magical proprieties of the ceramic material.

    Marta Jakobovits Contemporary Ceramics featured on Ceramics Now

    Clay is perceived by many to be a docile and easy to manipulate material, but a real ceramic artist knows its potential and limits. In your opinion, what should be the relation between an artist and the material he uses?

    Clay is a material that is very open to the tactile dialog of touches, and this opening is very important to me because it creates a link to a world full of miracles and secrets. Through the material I am capable to connect with messages from ancient times. Clay seems to transport me into a different time, a different dimension. This is the reason why, whenever I find myself face to face with clay I try to reach the highest level of sincerity.

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  • Ceramics Now Team Exhibition / Europe Gallery, Brasov, Romania

    Ceramics Now Team Exhibition, Brasov

    Ceramics Now Team Exhibition / Europe Gallery, Braşov, Romania
    1-14 September, 2012

    Opening reception: Saturday, 1 September, 6 pm.

    Ceramics Now Association has the pleasure to invite you to the group exhibition of Ceramics Now Magazine team. With this occasion, the courageous members of the team will exhibit together for the first time contemporary ceramics and glass works. The six exhibiting artists, five members of the team and one special guest, were bringed together by Vasi Hîrdo, founding editor of Ceramics Now.

    Exhibiting artists: Andra Baban, Vasi Hîrdo, Alexandra Mureşan, Cora Pojaru, Anca Sânpetrean, Bogdan Teodorescu.
    Curator: Vasi Hîrdo

    After the success of the first two editions of Ceramics Now Exhibition organized in Cluj-Napoca (The Paintbrush Factory) and Bucharest (Galateea Gallery), this exhibition is prefacing the third edition of the international contemporary ceramics exhibition that will took place at the end of the year in Bucharest.

    Ceramics Now Magazine is a comprehensive and innovative quarterly publication (online and print) specialized in contemporary ceramics. Founded in 2011, the magazine features interviews, articles, reviews and works of emerging and world-renowned ceramic artists. It is distributed all over the world in a network of libraries, galleries, museums and institutions.

    Europe Gallery is administrated by the Romanian Fine Arts Union - Braşov Branch, and it’s located on 1 Mureşenilor street. The gallery is opened Monday to Saturday, between 12-19 pm. The exhibition can also be visited on Sunday, September the 2nd, between 12-19 pm.

    Organized by Ceramics Now Association and the Romanian Fine Arts Union - Braşov Branch.

    Download the press release of the exhibition: www.is.gd/teamexpo
    The event on Facebook.

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