Split Dreams Iverni Group Exhibition in Romania

The exhibition opened at the Romanian Literature Museum Gallery in Bucharest, March 19-24, 2003. The address of the museum is 12, Dacia Boulevard, Bucharest.

A day before the war in Iraq started, an interesting American-Romanian exhibition opened at the Romanian Literature Museum in Bucharest. The artists Tony Brown, Dorsey Dunn, Tom Fowler, Chris Natrop, Giordano Pozzi, Tyrome Tripolli (from the U.S.A), and Carsten Stehr (from Germany) are members of the Iverni group, formed in San Francisco, California.

The group has traveled throughout Europe, and has been invited to display in many countries along with local artists. In Romania, the artists Emilia Persu, Ion Atanasiu Delamare, Maria Iosub, and Titi Popovici joined with Iverni group in the exhibition “Split Dreams”.

The name Iverni contains multiple references. It refers to ìvernissageî, the traditional European term for an opening or presentation, but it is also the embodiment of even exchange, allowing the questioning artist to enter into a dialogue with the group and with the public from whatever perspective currently motivating his or her art.

The Romanian artists who joined Iverni group at the Romanian Literature Museum in Bucharest are still young. Their works represent different visions and approaches. Maria Iosub paints beautiful and decorative landscapes with flowers and trees, denying any perspective.

Emilia Persu is a painter concerned by abstract, geometrical forms and Titi Popovici displayed beautiful drawings in China ink. Ion Atanasiu Delamare, the oldest participant from the exhibition, is a graphic artist, well known in Romania, Italy, France, and Belgium. He teaches drawing and engraving at the National University of Art in Bucharest. Reality and dreams intermingle in his works and his characters are strange mixtures of humans and animals.

In the narrative works of Ion Atanasiu Delamare almost anything is possible: Man becomes woman, humans become objects, and objects are able to communicate states of mind in dialogue which destroys all conventions.

Romanian artists’ works are expressions of the contemporary local vision and style in painting and graphics. Yet, other contemporary genres, like installation, digital photography, and mixed media objects were represented in the “Split Dreams” exhibition thanks to American artists.

Traditional and new media met as symbols of two different cultures and two different civilizations in the Romanian exhibition of the Iverni group. I was impressed by the sincerity of the artists. Romanian contemporary art has to turn to its traditional background and the artists’ skillfulness, as Romanian contemporary art comes from a long tradition of painting and sculpture, with deep roots in European antiquity and the Middle-Ages.

The new media and visual experiments are interesting for Romanian art as long as the genres and technologies are able to sustain a coherent idea, or a particular state of mind. But, unfortunately, Romanian artists who embraced new media are concerned only with their international image. In almost all situations, Romanian experiments are forms without substance.

In countries with advanced technology, such as the USA or Western-European countries, new genres and technologies are proper forms of expression. We have to allow that some ideas and approaches are embraced, while others are rejected.

Indeed, the participants of the “Split Dreams” exhibition, whether Romanian or American, understand this reality.However, the works of Tony Brown, Tom Fowler and Chris Natrop seem to be attached to traditional genres and media.

Tom Brown’s beautiful wooden, ceramic, and mixed media objects could be placed somewhere between sculpture and painting. Their impressive visual impact comes from a real understanding of the materials’ expressiveness.

Tom Fowlerís large graphic works approach an ancient theme: The original sin and the first couple’s fall from grace. The artist follows the evolution of human destiny along the Époques. We can see Adam and Eve in Eden and in the contemporary world, as well as in Tom Fowler’s canvases.

Chris Natrop displayed one large drawing and six small paintings on round pieces of wood.

The first room of the Romanian Literature Museum’s art gallery underwent a change in its appearance thanks to Tyrome Tripoli’s installations made from phone cards, bottle caps, plastic rings, oil barrels, and a flat steel bar. His works are dedicated to environmental suffering and to people concerned with the ecology.

All the materials used by Tripoli were found somewhere in his journeys: Mundaka-Spain, Reunion Island ñ France, Mauritius and Diego Garcia Islands, Morocco, and Romanian Black Sea Coast.

The piece made from oil barrels and flat steel bar was dedicated to the surfers from Mundaka (mostly foreigners) who were on the sea shore, cleaning off the oil, regardless of the resistance from the Spanish government. The piece was also dedicated to NO WAR FOR OIL. Tripoli’s message is clear and moving: Stop the war against life, stop the war against ourselves!

Dorsey Dunn displayed an eleven-piece group of digitally processed photographs based on shots of the Oakland port. The photographs were printed on acid-free paper.

The Italian-American artist, Giordano Pozzi, created great birds made from plastic and paper, hung on the walls of the gallery.

German artist, Carsten Stehr, displayed three linotypes in blue color.

Thus, eleven American, Romanian, and Germanartists offered to the Romanian public the opportunity to admire art work which follows the main contemporary languages in an impressive exhibition open for one week at the Romanian Literature Museum in Bucharest.