Born in Romania. Living and working between Rome and Vienna.

email:    sulgherudragos@yahoo.it

 

[...] I don't have a strong interest in the social utility of Art, although I do recognize its versatility and potential, as a tool of social criticism. For me Art has always been something personal and intimate, an indefinite and vague soliloquy whose form always interested me more than its meaning. I am predominantly fascinated, in a very childish way, by shapes and forms, by lights and shadows, by how various elements can collide and coexist at the same time on a piece of paper. As Maurice Dennis said: ''a picture, before being a battle horse, a female nude or some sort of anecdote, is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order." And I am concerned with how to assemble a picture more than anything else. It's that simple. Of course, each work inevitably reflects personal thoughts and memories and moods but they manifest in the process of making Art, more than in the end result. They are reflected in movements, in gestures, in the intensity of marks: it's all there, the ''unspeakable''. They all fight each other for attention but I try not to take sides, rarely choosing just one specific subject matter to explore. As Wislawa Szymborska put it: ''I am a poor audience for my memory, I listen and don't, step out, come back, then leave again''. I don't apply that to memory alone but to thoughts and moods in general. I let them float around without clinging to one in particular. I let them be and they return me the favor. Excessive introspection can be debilitating and so I rarely rationalize Art, especially since I do so with everything else. I want to keep it simple, liberating and accidental. In the end, aesthetic preferences tend to prevail and not always in a positive way. But then again, it's just Art, nothing too serious, fortunately.


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[...]I don't deliberately try to communicate anything to anyone. I think that the more one tries to communicate, the less one succeeds in doing so. We can see that today, in the age of global digital communication: we are all obsessed with it, expressing our thoughts and ideas and opinions and yet we have never felt more disconnected and lonely. As George Bernard Shaw once said, ''the biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place''. The secret ingredients of meaningful communication are a deep knowledge of ourselves and a sincere interest in knowing others, and we often lack both. And even when we know ourselves, do we really want to be seen? To be known for who we are? The way we communicate is rarely authentic. We are obsessed with our image more than anything else and when given the chance to express ourselves we tend to sacrifice authenticity and truthfulness in favor of a false image that we carefully craft in order to achieve validation and acceptance. I think communication is more authentic and sincere when it's not deliberate, when it's not searched. Communication as an accident, as an involuntary by-product of disinterested self-expression. And Art has often been very effective in doing that, in facilitating sincere communication, especially with ourselves if not with others, both as artists and as viewers. Communication through direct, intimate, emotional experience. Art, in its essence, exists to be experienced, not necessarily understood. A painting must be looked at just as a piece of music must be listened to. They exist to be consumed. Everything else, all the notions on an artist's intentions and what he wants and how he lives and how he works are mostly trivialities. As Lu Nan, a great photographer, once said: "If the pictures are good, it doesn't matter who took them, and if the pictures are not good, it also doesn't matter who took them."

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[...] An artist is essentially an observer, sometimes an avid researcher and always a thief. I experience and I consume more than I create. Much of my time is spent avidly researching evocative images, that for some reason resonate with my own experience and memories, holding a certain familiarity. I absorb and elaborate everything, adapting and using them as ingredients of my own work.

There is always a general idea at first, a certain effect that I want to eventually achieve. But then it evolves into something else and something else again, in the process. Each drawing is full of accidents and contradictions. New images, new shapes come and go and I add and remove and add again until I don't feel the need to change anything anymore. Not because it's finished, it never is, but because I am content, for the moment, with how it looks. And it never looks how I intended it in the first place.
The final result often stands between abstraction and figuration. I am not particularly interested in the accurate and detailed representation of the appearence of things and I often neglect what I consider to be unimportant details. My portraits usually have vague and indefinite facial features, indistinct and ambiguous expressions because they don't portray singular, recognizable individuals. They are not there to represent individuality but to suggest and evoke generalized human figures, that eventually would act as mirrors. Abstraction usually initiates intrigue by reflecting, instead of representing.

 

©2019 by Dragos Sulgheru