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Dragos BURLACU on Wed, 31 Mar 2004 08:37:36 +0200 (CEST)

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paulneagu email
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Gallery {AT} 49 
To: garofeanu {AT} btinternet.com 
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 6:18 AM

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      by Donald Kuspit 
      For Paul Neagu, art is an expression of "desire in the face of the systems that attempt to inhibit it," as he writes, and desire involves "the recovery" of what he calls, variously, the "hyphen," the "abstract," the "gamma," all of which involve the "bodily," conveyed particularly through the "figural essence of sculpting, paintings, drawings." Neagu's works, whatever their medium, are certainly full of desire, as their visceral energy suggests. The Gamma paintings of 1973 are luminous bursts of cosmic energy, radiating like the rays of a distant sun from the core of consciousness, and telescoped into immediacy by artistic science. At once Pointillist and Futurist, the spectral lines of force evoke the "Big Bang" with which the cosmos began. It is the sudden moment of creation, of seemingly spontaneous generation--the glorious moment when energy and system are one, that is, when system has not yet crystallized into inhibiting structure and energy has not yet dissipated into structureless atmosphere. The energy of the Gamma paintings seems illimitable and inexhaustible, and at once material and immaterial--simultaneously concrete and pure. 

      It is clearly an erotic moment, as the turbulence of Open Monolith, 1992 makes clear. For Neagu, the cosmos is created by an enormous orgasmic discharge, and so is the self, as Hyphen Phallus Self, 1984-91 implies: the sculpted hyphen is a self-symbol. It is Neagu's signature form, and his most innovative creation--a major contribution to abstract art. Circle and rectangle integrate in a suavely convulsive geometry. The result is a hermetic whole: a self-sufficient unity of incommensurate forms that embodies the energy--the urgent force of desire--that effects the unity. Indeed, geometrical form and gestural energy are one and the same in Neagu's marvellous shape. It is suggestive image and pure form in one. There is something at once grotesque and sublime about Neagu's hyphen, as one might expect from a union of incommensurates. Neagu's hyphen is pure dialectic: its elements remain autonomous even as their difference is resolved. The result is an elegantly baroque harmony--an extravagantly dynamic grand gesture that is at the same time classically perfect. 

      The amorphous residue of the creative discharge tends to linger in Neagu's paintings, as though it was an emanation from the hyphen itself--a kind of atmospheric halo. Neagu's color is often dazzling, as in Hyphen Chong-Force, 1998, but sometimes grim and gray, as in Hyphen Phallus Self. Open Monolith, 1992 is a tour de force of Abstract Expressionism, overflowing with conflicting colors that nonetheless perceptually merge. 

      There is another side to Neagu: long before hybrid forms became fashionable Neagu was making them. Foot Cells, Human Head Cells , H. H. 81C, and H. H. 88, along with many other works from 1973, are at once abstract grids, human figures (or parts of the figure), two dimensional, and illustionistic, as the cellular compartments indicate. One might say a conceptual hyphen links them. From the start, Neagu was among the most imaginative avant-garde innovators, all the more so because his works makes a conceptual point with no loss of physical presence. His work is uncategorizable because it cuts through avant-garde conventions while assimilating them into his own radical vision of the relationship of art and mind. 

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