SPECIAL FEATURE: Romanian Contemporary Ceramics

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Romanian Contemporary Ceramics
Written review of Romanian contemporary ceramics through interviews with internationally-renowned and emerging Romanian artists.

In December 2011 we have witnessed the rebirth of Romanian contemporary ceramics through the opening of Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, the first gallery in Romania that promotes contemporary ceramics. The exhibition was titled “Ceramic rendez-vous”, poiting out the fact that it brought together fourteen artists from all over the country: Arina Ailincăi, Bianca Boeroiu, Cristina Bolborea, Adela Bonaţ, Vasile Cercel, Gherghina Costea, Georgiana Cozma, Marta Jakobovits, Romana Mateiaş, Aniela Ovadiuc, Monika Pădureţ, Cristina Popescu Russu, Ioana Şetran and Simona Tănăsescu.

With just two days ahead of the opening day of “Ceramic rendez-vous”, in December the 9th, 2011, Ceramics Now organized the opening day of the first Ceramics Now Exhibition in the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The exhibition marked the launch of the magazine by exhibiting works of fifteen artists from eight countries. The third edition of Ceramics Now Exhibition is being held at Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, between 8-26th of November 2012, and presents the works of 22 world renowned contemporary ceramic artists, including three Romanian artists.

ROMANIAN CERAMIC ARTISTS - Read all the interviews:
Arina Ailincăi - by Vasi Hîrdo
Marta Jakobovits - by Ileana Surducan and Alexandra Mureşan
Romana Cucu Mateiaş - by Andra Baban
Aniela Ovadiuc - by Vasi Hîrdo
Oriana Pelladi - by Vasi Hîrdo
Eugenia Pop - by Alexandra Mureşan and Vasi Hîrdo
Cristina Popescu Russu - by Alexandra Mureşan
Bogdan Teodorescu - by Vasi Hîrdo

The feature is an ongoing project developed by Ceramics Now Association in collaboration with the Romanian Fine Arts Union, the University of Arts and Design Cluj-Napoca and the National University of Arts Bucharest.

Above: Oriana Pelladi, Emptiness, 2007, Ceramics, Video projection.

Oriana Pelladi - Romanian ceramic artist, November 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, November 2012: Oriana Pelladi

Oriana Pelladi Ceramics - Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
Translation by Anca Sânpetrean

You are a young ceramist who had started her artistic endeavor early on, during college. How did you discover the passion for ceramics?

I guess it was while working. From one work to another you get new ideas; you get excited, you make things. I remember that at the beginning, in high school, I was fascinated to discover how a crude glaze that was a washy orange became dark green after the firing. When you are applying glazes, a significant part of the process is a mental/ imaginative one. While you are mixing and combining them, you need to imagine their true colors, revealed by the firing process.

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Aniela Ovadiuc - Romanian ceramic artist, November 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, November 2012: Aniela Ovadiuc

Aniela Ovadiuc Romanian contemporary ceramics featured on Ceramics Now Magazine

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
Translation by Andra Baban

How did you discover the passion for ceramics?

By accident! When I was in high school I studied painting and I believed that nothing could rise to its value; that painting is part of my soul and the only way of expression for me as an artist. But this had changed when in university I have met ceramics, felt in loved and couldn’t separate since. This is mainly due to my professor, Ernest Budeş, the person which showed us all the ways of expressing through this medium, using clay, stoneware, earthenware or porcelain, each with its specific techniques.

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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.

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Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Arina Ailincăi

Arina Ailincai - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics special feature

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two
Translation by Anca Sânpetrean

What was your first contact with ceramics?

The first meeting with ceramic took place when I entered the university, as I decided to take the admission exam for the Ceramics Department. The reason for this option was the liberal reputation held by the Ceramics Department, mainly due to the young teachers of various formations, who were encouraging the free investigation subordinated to an “interdisciplinary” that at that time was quite attractive.

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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.

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Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, October 2012

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012: Bogdan Teodorescu

Bogdan Teodorescu - Romanian ceramic artist, Romanian contemporary ceramics

Interview by Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine - Issue Two

You are a versatile visual artist who works in mediums such as painting, collage, video art, but also ceramics. In the process of creating a new work, do you allow yourself the freedom to change the medium of expression?

Versatility it’s not entirely a positive feature, at least not for an artist. To be consequent could be in many cases a better option. Up to this moment, my flexibility didn’t create a strong image of myself, but instead surrounded me with an aura of strangeness and ambiguity.

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In memoriam Eugenia Pop / Interview

ROMANIAN CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, October 2012

In memoriam Eugenia Pop
Eugenia Pop lived and worked in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where she graduated from the Ceramics Department of “Ion Andreescu” Arts Institute in 1971. Over the course of 40 years, she had exhibited in many countries and has been awarded for her career by the Romanian Government (Order of Cultural Merit) and the Fine Arts Union.

Eugenia Pop Romanian ceramic artist

Two days after our meeting in February, Eugenia Pop went to the Copăceni alms house, near Turda, to read in peace a book by Zhi Gang Sha. She wanted to learn how to communicate better with her guardian angel. She told us that the spirit must be cleaned more frequently.

We thank Jeni Pop from our hearts and promise to carry her optimism out in the world.

Interview by Alexandra Mureşan and Vasi Hîrdo for Ceramics Now Magazine, Issue Two
February 2012

How did the fascination for ceramics started?

I graduated Ceramics at the Fine Arts Highschool in Cluj. In the twelfth grade I had an excessive curiosity to do work as much as possible, that’s why I chose ceramics. I was a colleague with Arina Ailincăi for 6 years. We were also six in the department. Our personalities were very different, and they remained the same. A sculptor inoculated me the idea of versions. He gave me a theme, a ceramic piece in an architectural environment. After a few sketches, he told me to do more versions. I didn’t like the idea – why make more versions when the first one was good enough? But, if the master told me, I had to do it. I did lots of versions and sketches, from bad to worse. He chose from the first two, and I remained very sad because I worked so hard on so many. After a while, the seed sprouted in my mind. I was at a Communist party meeting, and I got very bored. I had my sketchbook at me and I was doing all sorts of sketches and drawings. The expression was changing with little diversity if terms of form. I showed the sketches to my professor. It remained my method over the years.

Now I stopped doing more versions on a theme. I read books, for example those written by Rudolf Steiner, and I make illustrations on the pages. When reading a book twice, the images speak to me a lot more and I feel the text very differently when it’s illustrated, just like a plastic commentary.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

I broke up with the illustrative image of the exterior form. I adhered to the archetypal forms, which are interior forms of the soul, forms that kids use when drawing, but also used in the antic culture.

Mihai Oroveanu said “Look how monumental your works are,” even if they were very small. Dan Hăliucă said the contrary: “That’s how it should be – plenty and small.” I used this thing with plenty and small a lot, because that’s how the image of the soul is. The soul is very capacious. From it’s ampleness you can make plenty and small.

A moment of crystallization appeared when I found my personality – when I said that this is how I want to express myself. It was the humanity theme, the man. The mother man, the old man, the child man. Mother Earth. These are themes that I feel I synthesized.
When I was young, my mother used to call me “little golden thorn” – she couldn’t tell me that I was not right, but I was also very determined. I was telling the truth.

Eugenia Pop - Mother Earth, ceramics
Eugenia Pop, Mother Earth, 1985, Soft porcelain

What is your dearest part in elaborating a new work?

Each part has its own magic. The first one is sketching the idea and choosing the right drawing, then follows the modeling and making the negative. After that, the fascination of the firing starts. It is like when a mother gives birth – she doesn’t know how the child will look like or what color his eyes will be. It is just like that after the firing, when you remain charmed by an object, and you say to yourself that this is mine! – its color has changed and it shrank. After you inspect it for a while, you adopt it or not. Sometimes you have to say I’m sorry – this is not mine.

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Arina Ailincai: IN-SCRIPTED BODY / Art on the Avenue Gallery, Philadelphia

Arina Ailincai IN-SCRIPTED BODY exhibition Art on the Avenue Gallery, Philadelphia - Contemporary romanian ceramics

Arina Ailincăi: IN-SCRIPTED BODY / Art on the Avenue Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
September 14 - October 7, 2012

Opening Reception: Friday, September 14, 5:30 - 8:30 pm.

Art on the Avenue Gallery, at 3808 Lancaster Avenue, is pleased to present Arina Ailincăi: IN-SCRIPTED BODY, a solo sculpture exhibition featuring recent works in clay of this noteworthy international artist.

Arina Ailincăi is a truly international artist. Raised and educated in Romania, she began her artistic career in Eastern Europe. In the 1980s she crossed the Atlantic and settled in Canada, where she was soon acknowledged as one of its most talented artists working in clay. At that time she also exhibited and lectured in the United States. Over the last several years, she has been invited to work, exhibit and lecture at major ceramic art centers and international events throughout Europe, including Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Croatia and Turkey. Most recently she has held residencies in China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea.

Arina Ailincăi’s art focuses on the human figure, with the body cast using real bodies - often her own. The closeresemblance of the ceramic sculpture to the actual body is only a starting point for her deeper exploration of the universal human condition as an embodied self. Ailincai’s sculptures in clay are philosophically and metaphorically charged. The markings on the outer surface and the mysterious inscriptions in the hollow interior of the body transform the replica of a particular individual into an archetypal human vessel, holding the traces of inner life, time, place and history.

"My desire is to “write” a three dimensional poem to both the fragile physical body and the intangible world of our inner existence. I translate this desire into ceramic sculpture through the use of faithfully replicated, life-size clay body-casts and fragments. I press the clay into the plaster mold to create ”the shell," a hollowed out body shape: an empty vessel containing the inner self, with its personal and universal history. The scripts imprinted on the interior walls of the shell, acquire symbolic and metaphoric dimensions, becoming a palimpsest of the entire human existence.  While most of my works are made in clay, I make use of other materials and techniques, often combining drawing and photography in my installations. I want to synthesize two-dimensional and three-dimensional vocabularies into a visual language charged with meaning, which directs the viewers to sense their location, both within and without.” Arina Ailincăi

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Nicolae Moldovan: The minimal form / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

Nicolae Moldovan: The minimal form exhibition at Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, Romania

Nicolae Moldovan: The minimal form / Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, Romania
March 29 - April 16, 2012

Galateea Gallery, Bucharest, presents a new ceramic exhibition by Nicolae Moldovan, comprising a series of minimal objects. The show runs from March 29 through April 16, 2012, with the Opening Reception on Thursday, March 29, from 6pm to 9pm.

"The Minimal Form" exhibition brings together works that live through their clean shapes and through the essentialized force given by the form. From time to time, the ‘original form’ interacts with elements from other materialities, starting a conflict and aggressing the original.

Nicolae Moldovan graduated in Ceramics at the National University of Arts, Bucharest (1998), being one of Alexie Lazăr Florian and Doru Marian’s pupils. In the last twenty years, he participated in group exhibitions in Romania, Germany, South Korea and Bulgaria.

Reopened in 2011 at the initiative of the Romanian Fine Arts Union, Galateea Gallery is the first contemporary ceramics gallery in Romania, located on 132 Victory Avenue.

Curated by Cristina Bolborea.

Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Friday, 12-20 pm. Saturday, 11-19 pm.

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