Sorin Purcaru: Traumland, my inner world

Sorin George Purcaru, Romanian sculptor and graphic artist, has an art show at Tiny Griffon Gallery in Nuremberg, until the 16th of October, in collaboration with the painter Constantin Tofan. The exhibition, named Traumland (Dreamland), displays figurative works in bronze, stainless steel and steel.

To which creative period belong the works that can be seen in the exhibition?

The works I’m showing are part of a recent cycle, but in addition I have wished to also exhibit three works belonging to an older period of time, because I consider them representative for what I am standing for as an artist. These three are: Masina de Zburatacit (The Flying Machine), Masina de Forfecat Vise (The Dream-cutting Machine) and Inima (The Heart), executed in steel, although my current materials of choice are stainless steel and bronze. My works of art are representative of my searches into volumetrics and have no seriality, but rather a connection through their themes and forms.

The cycle of Centaurs and She-Centaurs is outstanding; how did you come to this?

The Centaurs and the She-Centaurs are characters one could find also in the creation of the Romanian sculptor Ion Irimescu. But what I have done differently is that my characters are part of an experimental series with mythological heroes in drawings, since the man-animal representation it’s one of the themes I passionately work with. My first researches started many years ago, but as I developed the theme, the robust characters from the beginning have suffered an elongation process, and they are more hieratic now (as ‘Povara’/’The Burden’). I have worked a lot with this theme.

Where is the apparent fragility of the characters coming from?

The reason of these forms is not conceptual, but a plastic one – the need for a ‘spatial explosion’ of the volumes. It is the result of a plastic research, a search for the ideal form which is linked to a conceptual search – because there is a metaphor behind everything I do. This metaphor never forgets, however, its starting point: the form, the volumes.

Do you have a preferred material, a favorite technique?

For a while I worked with wood, but later I discovered steel and nowadays steel represents me at best, since it allows me to create elongations that were too fragile in wood. I also like the robust feeling of the form. Bronze also allows me color interventions. I was using other materials in combination with steel anyway. I used paints and applied certain types of steel patina. The different colors of bronze are the results of an acid intervention, and the patina forms naturally.

How much of your quest for a material with a higher plasticity than wood is reflected in your graphic works? You are also a graphic artist and you have had public displays of your works as well.

My research of form has started, in most of cases, with a drawing. But my drawings are independent works, not necessarily projects for my future sculptures. When I create graphic art, I feel the joy of color that belongs to the painting, the joy of creating an atmosphere around a character using color as a tool. I also have non-figurative experiments in graphics, in which I play with the color patches, using combinations between aquarelle, printing paint and China ink.

Your favorite sculptors? The masters that have influenced you?

I do not look up to one master, I love the works of many different artists. From Paciurea (T.N. Dimitrie Paciurea, Romanian sculptor) to Brancusi, from Paul Vasilescu to Paul Neagu, from Gorduz and Silvia Radu, Imade different discoveries and, certainly, I think that I have integrated into my works elements of the art of my favorite artist. I like Henri Moore a lot as well, alongside Marino Marini.

You did not mention Giacometti, although my first thoughts were of Giacometti when I saw your works for the very first time.

I like Giacometti, but not as much, because the type of work using just a single axis does not necessarily represent me. I like the structures he created, but I am not as close to his work as I am to the work of others.

During the last few years you had exhibits in the German-speaking world (in Bern, Heidelberg and Hamburg). Was it just a chance, or was it the choice of the curators who saw and liked your works, or was it a special affinity for this cultural space?

I think it is all these factors together. In the case of Switzerland, my works happened to be seen and appreciated by a curator of Romanian origin.I was not the only artist from Iasi, the city where I live and work in Romania, who was noticed and then invited to Bern. The invitation to Hamburg was the result of an excellent collaboration with a German colleague I had in Iskenderan, Turkey. He recommended me to a gallery there, and they included me in their exhibition plan. In Heidelberg, a colleague painter opened the way for my participation, since he was looking for the best partner for an exhibition.

Where are your works to be found?

In private collections, in France, Germany, Swizerland, certainly in Romania. In public collections, I have a work that has received the Grand Award at ‘Saloanele Moldovei’, which is now in the permanent collection of the Art Museum in Kishinev and some monumental works in private and public collections. I would like to mention a fountain in front of the Dana art gallery in Iasi and one monumental sculpture on the Mediterranean seaside, at Iskenderan, in Turkey – that is a work that I particularly like.

How has your artistic vision evolved and how would you define it right now?

It is extremely difficult for me to determine my vision, through an artistic statement, at a certain moment. I am characterized rather by searches leading towards evolution than by a clear vision and mission.  I had an artistic period of time where my works were entirely figurative – but now, in my last series, ‘Clopotaresele’ (‘The Female Bell Ringers’), I included abstract elements, the hemispheres, without forgetting that the character should remain alive, living her own life. I think I am defined by the oscillation between figurative and abstract. Some elements of my figurative sculptures could live on independently, as an abstract form, without the figurative accent. But it is precisely this figurative accent that defines me and, at least for the foreseeable future, I cannot see myself without it.

 an interview by Cristina Simion

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