Corneliu Baba Workshop ‒ Confessions
The exhibition “Corneliu Baba Workshop ‒ Confessions” will present painting, graphic art and objects from the artist’s workshop, integrated in an exhibition scenography that will try to reconstruct the creative atmosphere in the workshop of the great Romanian painter.
An impressive number of works of the artist will be selected from the painter’s archive / collection, coming from all periods of creation to build a relevant approach for what was and perhaps still is an important landmark of contemporary Romanian art. The exhibition concept is elaborated by the Art Section of the Bucharest Municipality Museum in collaboration with Mrs. Maria Muscalu Albani.
The theme of the creation workshop was not chosen by chance. The process of elaborating a plastic piece of art is not easy, it involves a lot of work, turmoil, the appeal to other great masters, the mastery of techniques and new experiments. Here is what Corneliu Baba wrote in a revealing diary page in 1965: “I came from the workshop after a hard day’s work. I spread by myself a large canvas for Pair and sketched it. On the white canvas with a few dilutions of color admirable, accumulated things come out. But I’m not satisfied. It gives me the impression of ease. At the Institute I see things like this all day, interesting in terms of freshness, but… I’m looking for something else. Of course, support matters a lot. Even a lot… Burnt shade or burnt siena on a white layer of absorbent cloth has the beauty of old wood whose color no varnish or made patina can imitate. But transparent black along with red! But on the other hand, I am thinking of the browns of the Dutch painters, worked and yet brilliant. I saw in Brussels the replica made by Bruegel the Younger after Census from Bethlehem of old Bruegel. The replica painting surpasses the original in depth and drama of the browns, especially on the left side of the painting.”
Corneliu Baba’s painting is focused on an in-depth analysis of the execution technique and color, but it also has a strong anthropocentric dimension, being rhythmed by countless motives and themes, some resumed, others turned into real obsessions. From the dramatic theme of the peasants which stretches over a period of several decades, to the final obsessions of “Fears” and “Crazy Kings”, all are related to the face, presence and human existence, and his self-portraits are not only a fundamental component of his work, but also a new key to reading it.
Despite his immense talent and popularity, Corneliu Baba continues to be a controversial and sometimes even contested artist. However, he ultimately emerges as a great personality of Romanian art, which marked whole generations of Romanian artists. This time, through this new exhibition dedicated to him, the depth of his art will also be revealed by our endeavour to observe more closely the creative process and his painting workshop.
Those who will look at his works exhibited in the rooms of the Bucharest Pinacotheque at the Suțu Palace, simple visitors or specialists in the field, will reconsider today and in the days to come his value in the history of Romanian art. His creation has the value of a confessional document; he saw painting as an element of artistic assumption of life, the spiritual path of penetration into reality.
Dr. Elena Olariu, Deputy Director of Art, Restoration, Conservation
Coordonators: Dr. Elena Olariu, Deputy Director of Art, Restoration, Conservation and Drd. Angelica Iacob, Head of Art Department, MMB