O carte noua,  Editura SAGA- 2020- avand in focar pe marele pictor suprarealist Victor Brauner

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In the footsteps of Victor Brauner (Pe urmele lui Victor Brauner)

Victor Brauner is the most important painter of the Romanian avant-garde. After his first impressionist and expressionist works, he contributed to every avant-garde movement or group. However, the biggest part of his work aligns  into surrealism, Brauner being considered one of the most important surrealist painters of the pre- and post-war period.
Following Max Herman Maxy and Marcel Ianco, the vanguard representative of the Romanian art is Victor Brauner, who, in the same time, is a representative of the international modern art due to the Parisian school he belonged to, starting from 1938. 
He was born in Piatra Neamt, in 1903. His father was involved in spiritualism and sent Brauner to the evangelical school in Brāila from 1916 till 1918. He enrolled in 1919 in the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest, where he remained till 1921, when he continued his studies at the private painting academy of H. Igiroșianu. 
He participates in 1924 in the international exhibition of "The contemporary" and again, in the exhibitions of the same group, in 1929 and 1930. 
In 1921, he attended for a short time the School of Fine Arts in Bucharest where he painted Cezanne-like landscapes. He exhibited paintings in his expressionist style at his first solo exhibition, at Mozart Gallery in Bucharest in the year 1924.
The catalogue featured 16 paintings with a verse, with a surrealist image, delightful in their insolite, maybe creations of an automatic dictation and, precisely, without any reference to the respective work. They were redacted in French language. Their savor was maintained through the Romanian translation as well. The exhibition caused the appearance of numerous, interesting critical articles in newspapers and magazines and attitude taking regarding surrealism in arts and literature.
Other commentaries about Brauner's participation in surrealist exhibitions:
"This current with its total appearance of an absurd formula...it's a transiting point towards the art that is coming." (D. Frost, in "Rampa" of April 14, 1935).
In "The Free Word"(" Cuvântul Liber") of April 20, 1935, in the article "The exhibition of Victor Brauner", Miron Radu Paraschivescu wrote: "Compared to - for example - what we can see in the exhibiting halls near Victor Brauner, his painting means integration, attitude which, in the artistic dimension, is social, because V. Brauner takes attitude through the character and the ideology of his own art ." Also in 1935, he created the illustrations for the collection of poems by the poet Gellu Naum "The incendiary traveller" and "Freedom to sleep on the forehead". Since 1930, Brauner has settled in Paris. He became friends with his compatriot Constantin Brâncusi, who initiated him into the art of photography. During the same period he became friends with the poet Benjamin Fondane, and Yves Tanguy, the latter introduced him in the circle of the surrealists, in the year 1933. He lived on Moulin Vert road, in the same building with Giacometti and Tanguy. During this year he painted " Self-portrait with plucked eye",  a premonitory theme.
In 1934, his first personal exhibition took place in Paris, at "Gallerie Pierre", presented by André Breton, who wrote an enthusiastic introduction to the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition. A series of works was exhibited, in which the eye theme was always present: " The power of concentration of mister K" and "The strange case of mister K" are works that André Breton compared with the play " Ubu Roi" by Alfred Jarry, "an immense caricature satire of the bourgeoisie". The exhibition was not well received, and in 1935 Brauner returned to Bucharest, where he remained until 1938. Breton dedicated to him a full chapter in his book "Surrealism and painting". In 1935 he returned to Romania to take part in the first surrealist exhibition in Romania, artistic orientation to which he adhered totally, after in the first period of creation he had opted for an insistently expressive portraiture painting, followed by a less known "iserian" phase - of landscapes with Dobrogean and Transylvanian sceneries. 
Brauner came back to Paris in 1945. He was included in the "International Exhibition of Surrealism" at Maeght Gallery in Paris, in 1947. His post war painting incorporated forms and symbols based on Tarot cards, Egyptian hieroglyphs and antique Mexican codices. In the fifties, Brauner travelled to Normandy and Italy, and his work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 1954 and 1966. In 1965, he created an ensemble of object-paintings full of inventiveness and liveliness, grouped under the titles "Mythology" and "Mothers feasts". The mythology of the modern world, where man is pictured with humour, tenderness and also pessimism, estranged from his new "mothers" that are "L'automoma" and "L'aeroplapa".  Here was a critique or an acceptance of this world, formerly "so frightening " and in which "reality becomes a terribly harmful thing", but that life made it more acceptable. It is considered that these works, painted at Varangéville, in 1964 at Athanor, where Victor Brauner retreated, are visions full of humour and fantasy of the world to come, which he wanted to leave for us, as a gift. In this "Mythology" is also found the last storytelling painting "The end and the beginning" (made in 1965) reminding that "if the painter's life is over, his work starts living". He died in Paris, in 1966. He is buried in the Montmartre cemetery, his tomb stone having the epitaph: "Painting is life, real life, my life".

Adrian Grauenfels - SAGA 2020


English translation: Carmen Tatiana Onuorah

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