Art historian Erwin Kessler puts spotlight on Tristan Tzara’s work

Newsroom 04/03/2016 | 18:05

Romanian art historian Erwin Kessler has recently launched two bilingual art albums about the works of Dadaist artist Tristan Tzara and Constructivist artist Stefan Bertalan. 

TZARA. DADA. ETC., published by ARCUB, is the first volume to appear in bilingual form, in Romanian and English, dedicated to the research of the work of Tristan Tzara.

The co-founder of Cabaret Voltaire (1916) is also a promoter of Dadaism, the most radical avant-garde movement, which still represents a good deal of contemporary art, art challenge, art freedom and art innovation without limits. The volume is illustrated with a unique collection that chronologically punctuates almost every year of Tristan Tzara’s creative existence, from his days in Bucharest to his staying in Zurich and then in Paris. All illustrations are from the richest private collection of Tristan Tzara in Romania, owned by Emilian Radu, which contain about 100 individual pieces, premium editions of works by Tzara, illustrated with original engravings made by illustrious collaborators like Picasso, Arp, Matisse, Giacometti and so on.

“Bertalan is usually regarded as once an imposing figure of neo-constructivist research art in Romania, an example of advanced, socially-engaged art, opposing the totalitarian, propaganda-driven art of Communist Romania, who afterwards disappeared into insignificant isolation. He is also viewed as the central figure of the progressive, Timișoara-based art circles, an outstanding and influential professor, who stamped generations of art students and architects,” wrote Erwin Kessler in the introduction of Inner emigration, the book that Stefan Bertalan presents. The album is issued in connection with the exhibition Stefan Bertalan: Inner Emigration, organized by the Foundation MARe (Museum of Recent Art) in partnership with The Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu. This is the first volume to be reported, a year after the disappearance of the artist, as the most dramatic period in the artist’s life: the period between 1982-1985, spent in Sibiu before emigrating to Germany. This is the period in which the artist, that made a splash at the Venice Biennale in 2013 with his 18 works exhibited in the International Pavilion and curated by Massimilliano Gioni, reviews its entire neo-constructivist work made between the 70s and 80s. Under the pressure of the communist repression, the artist revises his rationalism, which is turned upside down, pushing him towards an environmental mysticism with a critical and political focus, which, over the coming years, would characterize his whole creation.

Oana Vasiliu

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