A new member of the Archetypal Expressionism Group/movement: Andrew Singer

Old Town

Some thoughts on Archetypal Expressionism:

The mystery of redemption is quickened whenever an outside spark animates a vessel an artist is composing – i.e. constructing in temporal rhythm – the vessel is sealed and the work exists in the artistic equivalent of living. We are fallible, except where fallibility is eclipsed by texture or flux. Bodies are spiritual content in painted insignia. As Sun Bear tells us, in 1989 alone, 130 Peruvian politicians were killed. Thus are conceptual frameworks double-edged, and sometimes ill-advised. Even so, linear progress is underrated, as the present exhibit attests.


At Sea
Brancusi in Isfahan
Function Follows Form
Father and Bird
Mother as Mushroom
Figure on an Escalator
Figures Walking Unicycles
Reading in Bed


Andrew Singer is a poet and artist, residing in Manhattan. He directs Trafika Europe (https://trafikaeurope.org), showcasing new literature in English translation from the 47 countries of Council of Europe. He has mentored with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott for an MA in Writing Poetry, and has taught university Creative Writing, Literary Translation, and seminars in European and Anglo-American poetry and fiction most recently at Penn State University, and across Europe. His poetry and critical essays appear in such publications as World Literature Today, Fulcrum, Levure littéraire, Emanations, Pilvax, StAnza, and Open Letters Monthly. He believes all things begin and end in wonder.

Andrew Singer
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The Story of the Archetypal Expressionism

     Since the beginning of the XXth century the history of art did’nt register major ideas/paradigms or disputes. As we know, almost all the art historians and critics asserted that there are only two major paradigms: the figurative and the abstract.
When I launched in 2000-2001, my new ideas about the archetypal art&archetypal expressionism, in the local media from Bucovina, Romania, I received no feedback from the art community.



     I had the idea to invent this concept, after a serious study of the most representatives Romanian artists of the 20th century, from Brancusi to Maitec and Tuculescu, but also inspired by the works of some Modern masters like Klee and Mondrian and sure by the work of Carl Gustav Jung, who launched worldwide the concept „archetype”. In 2015, after I have read „The Red Book”by C. G. Jung, I had the surprise to discover that the paintings made by him over 100 years ago are very close to my vision about the archetypal expressionism: he used old archetypes, a palette of Expressionistic colours and pure colours one near the other, not mixed.
     In 2000, when I launched this art concept/movement I was a known writer, journalist and art critic. The lack of interest regarding my new vision made me think to a challenging decision: to become the first artist to follow programmatically my own concept… Before becoming a writer, I was a gifted painter as a child and teenager, that’s why I returned with a great pleasure and hope to my first spiritual love. In 2002 I painted my first canvas in oil, in the studio of the French artist Maria Santarelli, in Saint Laurent du Pont, Isère, France, during an art workshop organized by me and my French partners.

     In the first artwork dedicated to the Archetypal Expressionism series, ‘’Text and Time 1’’(collection of the Art Museum Drobeta Turnu Severin, Romania) I included fragments from my first published articles on the archetypal expressionism, in 2000 and 2001. My first solo show, ‘’Text and Time’’(Bucovina Museum, Suceava, September 2004) was very successful, because it was promoted by the art experts from the global television, EuroNews, probably being impressed by this new concept launched on the contemporary art scene. Another two of my solo shows of painting, from Stuttgart, Germany in 2004 and from Piatra Neamt, Romania, in 2009, have been highlighted by EuroNews and I was invited with solo shows by the largest and the oldest museum of contemporary art in Romania, The Museum of Visual Arts, Galati, in 2009, next year by the Art Museum from Drobeta Turnu Severin ( the city of my childhood) in 2010 and in 2016 by the prestigious Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu, the oldest art museum in South-Eastern Europe. Many cultural journalists and art critics in my country began to write since 2004 about the new art concept, the archetypal expressionism, and later a lot of art specialists and visual artist from the global art community also became interested about it.
     I created the first Archetypal Expressionism Group in October 2007, on ARTMESH. In February 2008, this group had 32 members, from 19 countries: Canada (Alberto Cerritos, Bianca Guna, James K-M), Denmark (Lars Heiberg, Mik Peter Rasmussen), Egypt (Khaled Siraq), France (Maria de Morais, Delphine Portier), Hungary (Beata Rostas), India (Manvendra Begerhotta), Ireland (Susanne Iles), Italy (Giulio Baistrocchi), Mexico (Paola Gonzalez), Netherlands (Maikel van Stralen), Norway (Elly Prestegaard), Poland (Lola Fischer), Portugal (Alberto D’Assumpcao), Romania (Simona Gocan, Constantin Severin), Russian Federation (Alex Schukin), Spain (Aitor Arakistain, David Heras Verde), Switzerland (Pia Baechler-Lehmann), UK (Bruce Rimell, Shaida Parveen), USA (Cile Bailey, Daniel Chavez, Matt Lewis, Cruz Montoya, Harry Spitz, Jamie Winter). You may read below the messages, wrote in 2008, by some important international artists, who joined this group founded on ARTMESH:

„I’ve got several responses to this thread and the group, so, amusingly, I thought I’d classify them…

The Practical Response: There are millions of artists out there, all swimming around like fish in a pond, all trying to get recognised. To align oneself with a paradigm can be a useful way of making a name. Admittedly it’s not really what I do, but if someone wants to make a movement out of a paradigm, more power to them.

The Annoyed Artist’s Response: For far too long, artists have been pushed into following paradigms that have largely been formulated by critics and commentators. As someone who teaches in an Art College I see this every day. Graduates struggle to break out of these paradigms after leaving, especially since many gallery owners actively encourage the continuation of this paradigmatism (good word, hey?). Here, at last, we seem to have a new or potentially new paradigm created by an artist, not a critic. Thus it has potential for genuine insight beyond the intellectual (which is all most critics can offer). I think this is a good thing.

The Thoughtful Artist’s Response: I will join this debate, I migth even align myself a bit with Archeptyal Expressionism for a while if I sense it is going somewhere and raising up some interesting questions for art in general and my work in particular. But I can never call myself an archetypal expressionist fully. I have never found a paradigm that fully fits my work and am very happy with that fact. I’m closer to visionary art really… no wait, more like petroglyphic art…um, no hang on, Keith Haring’s a big influence, so (cut!)

The Psychologist’s Response: Archetype in the original literature in which it was coined is a very specific set of experiences and phenomena, and thus indeed not everything an artist might produce would be, in my opinion, archetypal. Jung was very specific on what was archetype and what was more specific or personal. Which leads me to…

The Social Commentator’s Response (Exasperated): …if all artists ever produce are archetypes then this clicks into that John Forbes Nash slash John Buchanan model of humans as rational self-serving automatons, post-modernly devouring the past and repackaging it for the future. I don’t buy it, never did. If everything is archetype, then no new insights are available. This is not my experience as an artist or a human being.

New insights and experiences can become archetypes (Guernica…) but they must make the transition from the novel. If all artists produce nothing but archetype, then novelty is not possible, and thus we’re stuck in some fundamentalist postmodern paradigm. Humans don’t tend to act as models predict they do…

The Round-Up Response: …all of which goes to say that Archetypal expressionism can be a valid concept/movement/whatever since archetype is produced by only *some* artists, not all.

There is a stream running through art debates that seems a bit faux-transcendental to me “Well, in a way, all art is visionary… all art is archetypal, all art is (insert adjective X here)…” For me, I don’t buy that – archetypal work is not universally present in all art. Would you call what Tracey Emin does archetypal? I wouldn’t. It’s very personal, extremely particular…

Certain art is archetypal, and certain observers in a given state of mind might make art archetypal, but here, I think, we are speaking of archetypal as found in the artist’s expressive intentions…

For me, the responses I’ve had from Constantin regarding this paradigm have been quite personal, and quite referent to my work as an artist. This impresses me. Many people try to classify my work without really looking at it. I don’t get that impression with Constantin – I think he’s seen something in my work which chimes strongly, and that’s why I’m excited about this idea of his.

Peace and love!”


” constantin, first thanks for contacting me in the first place, second i am very sorry you did not get my first message let me try to reitterate,:

Your idea about archytpal expressionism intrigues me and makes a whole lot of sense to me … I am at the same time excited and intrigued. It may be the terminology
I have been looking for, or wanting to use in regards to my work. I wrote in the group that i thought maybe i would add abstract to it in the sense, that i pull these archytypes (a word i have in much of my writing and have been using since reading jung and exploring language theory such as levi-strauss) out of abstraction, I am interested in how paint or marks can suggest or trigger visual memory, and therefore, can be used in communication. How recall and use this information is part of what we call language, but give little credit to. My ideas for my ‘found head series”(for lack of better words), came out of the ideas of da vinci, max ernst, francis bacon, all my favorites, and it is as you say something primal that goes back to the beginnings of pictural representation.

I have never really thought of directly reusing archetypes of cultures from the past as you have, that is an interesting concept -maybe i do a little in the sense of making a image which recalls a likeness like einstein at the chalkboard … but I am more interested in general archytype, how the mind grasps concepts and images, how we are able to read abstraction as order. how we percieve … and then of course the elusive definition of beauty and how that is captured, formed and perpetuated by art. It has been somewhat a struggle to me to write down my thoughts and theories about this … but I am encouraged by your idea and think you have helped my break through something conceptually.

I had the thought and it is still early in our “friendship” having just met you to ask, but I would be interested in having you write something about my work for my website, maybe we could work out a trade for an artwork?

it just seems you are very clear on your ideas and saw something in my art.

I would love to read more of your theory and writing or to hear it directly from you and have a conversation.
my wife has yahoo messenger- but as i understand it you can only tye as we would here,
Skype is a free download (google it) and enables you with a simple microphone to make phone calls computer to computer (free) and computer to phone (small charges) around the world to other skype users. If you ever get it i would love to talk to you in person as i think our conversation might be lengthly and i dont think I could afford that to romania( but i could check the rates) until then chatting here will have to do.

hope to hear from you soon,



„Dear Constantin

I can’t tell you how important and embarassing was your message!!! For the first time in my life someone told me what my art is!!! I’m fighting everyday to go ahead, believing in my own proposal of beauty and harmony, as I believe art it is!!! And your words gave me that necessary courage to believe!!!
I’ll take you as one of my best friends and support.-

When I saw your artworks, I identified the same necessity to go to the bottom of our soul to bring that little treasure of harmony and happiness to create!
You don’t imagine how you have helped me!!!

With all my heart!”

Alberto D’ASSUMPCAO, Portugal

”Dear Constantin,

As you can see, I’m busy for teaching and several design projects (including VR & multimedia design), and this is my last semester to finish and present my thesis. But I’m always thinking of our collaboration, which will be very significant to me. It would be a new media project combining digital language and painting components. Ideally, I hope to converge digital animation, sound, interaction, or even live presentation, together to create an immersive experience in both real gallery & virtual space. “ARCHETYPAL EXPRESSIONISM” is a wonderful concept we may work with. Maybe using VR to interpret some of your poems as well?

VR projects usually cost a lot for the devices and software, we’d better have a detailed proposal for funding first. Your info for residency sounds very helpful too. Let’s plan it carefully. Thanks for your patience!

All my best,”

Digital Media, Visual Design Department
College of Visual & Performing Arts
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

”It looks like our move is going smoothly. I should be up and running and ready to contribute more to your group in the next two weeks. I’m also in the process of scouting out gallery space here in Ireland.I would love to open a gallery where artist’s could show Archetypal artwork … it is an experience I think the general public and the world needs. Hopefully I will be able to do it this year.

I have a question for you … I found your blog online and would love to subscribe to it. Do you have a subscription button on your site? I tried to use the link at the very bottom of the page but it didn’t seem to be working.

Best to you … I look forward to speaking with you soon and contributing to the group.


Susanne ILES,Ireland

     In February 2015, I launched an art site with the best worldwide representatives of Archetypal Expressionism, in my opinion:

     For many years I thought that my focus on the archetypal art, which in the twentieth century was represented by such major visual artists like Constantin Brancusi, Paul Klee or Ion Tuculescu, could be considered a marginal experience. But at the end of 2014, I was very surprised to find out about the new project from MoMA, New York City, FOREVER NOW, curated by Laura Hoptman:


     Her project statement about the works of the 17 invited artists comes very close to my archetypal expressionism manifesto/statement, written almost 15 years before this exhibition  and featured across numerous media outlets: “…whose work is atemporal, in a similar way: it is based on archetypal, symbolic forms that are by definition undatable, existing outside any specific time period .“This is indeed the essence of my art concept, too, written in different words.
     A huge impact of the archetypal expressionism concept was noticed among many visual artists belonging to the native nations from America, Australia or New Zealand., like Maori artist Tepora Watene, who wrote:
‘’ When I created the collection of art for my Solo Exhibition titled ‘Forsaken’ I had not heard of Constantin Severin’s terminology; ‘archetypal expressionism’. At the time, my mission was to create art-works to portray an ancient people; their history, ‘sacred legend carriers’ and ‘sacred symbols/hieroglyphs’. More importantly it was a deep internal spiritual journey to discover my origins and ultimately my mission as an artist.
When first reading Constantin Severin’s definition of ‘archetypal expressionism’ I felt as though he was describing the process I used to create my ‘Forsaken Collection’. I was and still am elated, because finally I am connected to another person, furthermore another artist, who not only truly understands my art-form but can articulate it into words. Here in New Zealand, a lot of Maori Culture & Art is based upon that which has become known from last 200 or so years. It is wonderful to see contemporary indigenous/Maori art evolve from the carvings and weaving of the 1800’s and early 1900’s . However, in saying this, my quest is to connect with my ancient, historic origins; to do this I have spent 100’s of hours researching and seeking inner spiritual contact with my Tupuna (Ancestors).
Additionally I’ve spent 100’s of hours playing with shapes, symbols, paint, mixed media and various supports. I’ve only scratched the surface; there is a multitude of images within me waiting to be rendered, manifested into the physical realm. It is a juggle prioritising time between producing them or art for commissions, exhibitions and awards.
The constant internal struggle to earn a living versus living my art; my ultimate goal is to earn a living from living my art, ‘archetypal expressionism’. Kia ora Constantin, Arohanui tane.’’

Now you may read some of the texts written in the past by international art experts about my art, from which I quote more extensive passages below:

“Elements of expressionism and classical realism combine in the works of Constantin Severin. His rich-colored geometric compositions are combined with perfectly recognizable genre scenes that quote masters of realistic painting – Jan Vermeer, Diego Velazquez and others. On the one hand, the artist sets the idea of artistic evolution in his works. On the other hand, he demonstrates that Realism is just one of the many ways to accept and display the world.” (Olga BORTE, art critic and journalist, Moscow)

“We are proud to have included in the Lavacow Christmas Auction a work by Constantin Severin, whom we appreciate for the delicate mixture between different artistic styles, creating a harmonious all that succeeds to communicate, through a single artwork, the essence of the history of art.”(Cristina OLTEANU, CEO at LAVACOW Auction House, Bucharest)

“Symbols, lines, surfaces, spaces. All the humanity is made of mysterious symbols. And Constantin Severin uses them to write a new language of art. A language made of concepts, feelings, colours and emotions. Constantin travels in the past, in the ancient times and dimensions, to return in our present and tell about the possible futures. About the next lines of expression, to describe the present, drawing the future with past symbols. His own symbols.”(Luca CURCI, visual artist and architect, founder of “It’s Liquid” art magazine, Bari)

“We are looking forward to having Constantin Severin (the founder and promoter of the archetypal expressionism) and his group exhibiting at the Rotterdam International Art Fair. The works of Constantin is of a very interesting concept for our show. We are always looking for fresh new concepts and like to introduce these to our audience. We think that the archetypal expressionism – which lies between the two major paradigms of contemporary art, the figurative and the abstract – will do very well at the Art Fair, and we are looking forward to seeing the works in real-life.” (Joelle DINNAGE, Director at Global Art Agency Ltd)

“In literary and visual expression, but perhaps most notably in his clear-sighted theory of our present condition, Constantin Severin is breaking new ground. The concept of “Post-Literature” (which he has articulated in an article accessible at http://www.inst.at/trans/14Nr/severin14.htm) reveals him as one of the most original of contemporary thinkers concerning the nature of creative activity and the self-transformation that it is currently undergoing. One would be missing something important not to know of what Severin (situated of all places in Suceava, Romania) is up to. Take a look at the article, then search the web for his reductively symbolic paintings, which are on the verge of forging a new post-modern vocabulary from modernist precedent and nativist tradition. As western Europe declines, esthetically, morally, politically, something apparently is happening in Eastern Europe, and Severin is a part of it.” (Madison MORRISON, American writer)

     The archetypal art, if it will be accepted by the global art community, could become an aesthetic bridge between Western and Oriental worlds, based on our common ancient roots and values.

Constantin SEVERIN

Photo: ”Text and Time 1”, oil on canvas, 60×80 cm, 2004.

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Romanul „Bibliotecarul Infernului” la Gaudeamus 2019

Azi, luni 18 noiembrie 2019, a ieșit de sub tipar cel de-al doilea roman al meu, „Bibliotecarul Infernului”, publicat de editura Cartea Românească Educațional. Editorul cărții este prof. univ. Vasile Burlui iar redactor de carte scriitorul Paul Gorban. Coperta este semnată de graficianul Ionuț Broștianu.

Cartea va fi lansată la târgul de carte Gaudeamus din București în ziua de sâmbătă 23 noiembrie 2019, ora 14, la standul nr. 26 al editurii Cartea Românească Educațional, în prezența autorului și a invitaților săi.

Invitați: scriitorul Daniel Corbu; doamna Olimpia Coroamă, președintele Asociației Memorie și Speranță și redactor șef al revistei trilingve 3R (română, italiană, franceză) dedicată memoriei faimoasei dinastii culturale Cazaban.


     „Bibliotecarul Infernului” este confesiunea personajului principal, Giovanni Esposito (născut la Napoli, în anul 1685), făcută prietenului său din România, Constantin Ionescu, scriitor și pictor. Pe ambii îi leagă o atracție neobișnuită și iubirea pentru insula Ada Kaleh,  micul Levant al României,care a avut un sfârșit tragic în anii ’70 ai secolului trecut, fiind scufundată în urma construirii hidrocentralei Porțile de Fier.

     Giovanni Esposito, ajuns bibliotecar în Napoli, vecin și prieten din copilărie cu compozitorul Domenico Scarlatti, este fascinat din adolescență de micuța insulă de pe Dunăre. În urma unui dialog cu Prințul Eugen de Savoia despre pictorul Caravaggio, acesta este impresionat de erudiția sa și îl invită să lucreze la Biblioteca Imperială din Viena. După numai un an petrecut în capitala imperiului austro-ungar, Împăratul Carol al VI-lea și Prințul Eugen de Savoia îi încredințează lui Giovanni misiunea secretă de a avea grijă de o bibliotecă subterană construită sub insula Ada Kaleh, în care au fost expediate cărți blestemate, incunabule și manuscrise medievale interzise de Inchiziție, dar și unele având paginile otrăvite,  o adevărată Bibliotecă a Diavolului. În tezaurul subteran de scrieri medievale, bibliotecarul Giovanni Esposito  descoperă și studiază, la vârsta de 45 de ani, tăblițele de smarald ale atlantului Thoth, pe care reușește să le traducă și să se impregneze de învățăturile sacre, care-l fac nemuritor.

     În roman sunt descrise numeroase personaje istorice pe care Giovanni Esposito le-a cunoscut în cei 250 de ani în care a trăit în Biblioteca Infernului până la scufundarea insulei, o inflorescență de întâmplări, dialoguri, lecturi, trăiri spirituale și povești de dragoste petrecute în special în locurile peregrinărilor sale, Napoli, Viena, Ada Kaleh, Belgrad, Orșova și Tekija.

     Romanul e impresionant. Suprapus în diferite straturi, borgesian. Și tonul e acaparator. (Nichita Danilov)

Scriitorul Paul Gorban despre romanul “Bibliotecarul Infernului”, dedicat insulei Ada Kaleh (text de prezentare pe coperta a IV-a):

Prozator profund, cu o imagistică bogată, cu o tehnică proaspătă care stârnește interesul lecturii, Constantin Severin aduce în fața lectorilor săi o poveste captivantă, în care ne putem regăsi fiecare. Obsesiile culturale, cele carnale, cele sociale, precum și cele mentale ale personajului principal ne fac să trăim cu intensitate fiecare pagină a acestei cărți, cu atât mai mult cu cât ai mereu senzația că din cititor poți deveni treptat un personaj al romanului. Bibliotecarul Infernului este una dintre cele mai tulburătoare cărți scrisă în ultimii ani în România, iar asta nu face decât să recunoaștem vocația autentică a lui Constantin Severin, prozator, poet și artist vizual pe care istoria literară nu îl mai poate ignora.

Paul Gorban

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„Sometimes the overproduction of knowledge leads to illiteracy”

Interview with the writer Dubravka Ugresic, winner of the Neustadt Prize (2016)

RD&CS:-What is a woman beyond her social definition?

DU: A beast?! Ha-ha…

RD&CS: – The word “woman.” What weight, what dimensions (length, breadth) does it have, psychologically, historically, socially, aesthetically, phenomenologically and hermeneutically, in your life? Take from that string of adverbs whatever ones suit you best.

DU: -I wasn’t aware of differences, or better to say I was, but on Me Tarzan, you Jane-level. As a girl, or teenage girl, I was sort of a “blind”. When one is young – and I was young in BG (before Google) time -things are pretty “misty”. Only later I was able to recognize that „my culture”, “my education”, “my mind” is male, generally and statistically, because 99% of my cultural background has been produced by men: books, visual art, music, films, architecture, taste, sense of beauty, philosophy, politics, and soon and so forth. I noticed that the only territory where the women were dominant has been children literature, although my favorite children books were written by men: Louis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.

Children writer Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić has written the best pieces of literature one can find in Croatian literature. I know that now, but I was not sure about it before. It took me a long time to realize that. I had other idols among my male fellow writers. As you know in every cultural milieu – call it state, country, national literature, regional literature, or just a cultural circle – there are struggles and battles, there are canonizations and re-canonizations, there are people in charge for “entry visas”, “cultural officers” who would give you the visa to enter a literary canon or stop you for this or that reason. Sometimes such struggles are visible, but mostly they stay invisible, even to those who are interested in cultural matters. However, some “senses and sensibilities” often enter into your mind and mindset from the back door. For instance, I got it from my “mother’s library”. My mother was a passionate reader. What she liked the most were books about women’s destinies, and especially those with women’s names in their titles, such as Madame Bovary, Camille, Clarissa, Ana Karenina, Armance, Lucy Crown, Tess of d’Urbervilles, and so on.

My mother was a passionate movie goer too and she would always take me with her, especially when I was a little girl. Later I would go by myself and watch the movies I would like to watch. My mother knew the lives and destinies of famous movie stars by heart. She used to tell me about their lives as she would retold me a fairy tale, or the content of the novel she read. She would always express her empathy. It was a call for me to sympathize with women’s lives, that they were, in my mother’s opinion, incomparably harder than men’s. The rest of “knowledge” came later, from other sources, from books, from life experience, with ageing, and so on and so forth.

RD&CS: – When you were a girl, what famous woman did you want to become and why?

DU: – When you are a little girl you have your little girl’s idols. Btw. “creative industries”understood that simple fact better than anybody else.When I was ten years old my idol was Minou Drouet. Today probably nobody knows who Minou Drouet was, but when I was a child she was the most famous girl in the world. She wrote books, she sang, she played guitar and piano. Every country wanted to have their own Minou Drouet. I remember the Yugoslav example, Sanja Zemljar. She also soon disappeared from the public focus, and  was the same age as Minou Drouet. The last child global star was Zlata Filipović, a girl from Sarajevo, who wrote “Zlata’s Diary”. She was a product of the book industry which wanted to have a global bestseller in Ana Frank’s style. I met Zlata Filipović in Dublin a couple of years ago: she is an intelligent and talented young woman, a documentary film maker. She obviously tries to stay away from the world’s fame she shortly experienced as a child.

When I am confronted with my sweet niece’s (my brother’s daughter) idols, “youtubers”, “influencers”, who are 15-een and are already the authors of the books with the titles “How I became famous”, or “My life so far” -I remember my fascination with Minou Drouet. I am trying not to be harsh with my niece and to escape being “educational”. I also try to remind myself that she lives her teenage years in a totally different time, where she is exposed to seductive products of “culture” designed for “kids”. She lives in the paradise of plenty, I lived my childhood in the absence of shiny cultural products. I consumed what was available: mostly the books and movies for adults. I was ten years old when I read Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”, simply because the local untrained librarian, a volunteer, thought that the story about the guy who becomes a bugmust could be a thrill for a girl of my age. Paradoxically, we get some knowledges because of an absence of knowledge. Sometimes the overproduction of knowledge leads to illiteracy. I think that today we are witnessing this strange process, the paradox of illiteracy.

RD&CS: – In the entire history of humanity, from ancient times to the present day, what injustice against women have you found the most disturbing?

DU: The most disturbing, in my opinion, is the European witch-hunt or witch-purge. How many women were executed nobody really knows. Popular sources like Wikipedia bring the number of approximately 40.000 – 100.000 executed “witches”. The number of brutally tortured women nobody knows. This colossal mass murder is nevertheless the most unexplored territory of European history. As far as I know, Catholic church never apologised for this crime. No organization, forum, a group of citizens ever tried to bring Vatican to trial for the brutal purge of women, for public murders and public torture.

Another most disturbing injustice done to women is a global network of prostitution, sex-slavery and sex-trafficking which has a long history and was never broken. Every year one million women all over the world are recruited to prostitution, they say. For instance, every year some 12.000 women from Nepal “migrate” to India to work in prostitution industry, but the case which really made me sick is the report about little girls. Little girls, age 5 to 10, from Nepalese villages are sold by their parents to “dealers” for silly prices. The girls are then resold to Indian brothels as “healers”, because there is a belief among Indian men that the intercourse with a virgin may heal AIDS or syphillis. After their first sexual encounter, such girls are thrown away from brothels and nobody cares about them.

These days, in Trabazon, Turkey, there is the biggest market for female flesh, particularly East European one. Women from Russia, Moldavia, Ukraine are sold on Trabazon market like cattle, they say. Btw. in Russian slang telka (heifer) is a discriminatory word for a young woman.

RD&CS: – Do you experience your writings and your creations in complete freedom?

DU: Yes and no, it depends from which side you look at the “artistic freedom”. I write freely, I write whatever I think it is worth to write about. My body and my age sabotages me, meaning that I would never be able to write about my experience of life in Sahara, for instance, although I would like to. A view might get a bit distorted when you start crossing the borders, when you really do not belong, neither you want to, to any national literature; when you truly believe that the writers should be the citizens of the Republic of Letters; when you believe that translators, publishers, critics, librarians, agents, editors, readers, your fellow writers are your “natural”allies. Writer’s life is full of unexpected events, paradoxes, misunderstandings, surprises, disappointments, discoveries, failures, like any other’s life. Is anybody’s life completely free?

RD&CS: – How are you seen by the general heterogeneous public? As an artist like any other, or a woman artist? As a breach in the world of masculine art? Or something else?

DU: This is the most interesting part of a writer’s public life. How I am seen tells much more about the people who read me than it does about me, myself. In Croatia, for instance, I am still excluded from school curriculum. Believe it or not, there are quite a lot of illiterate and also literate people who would protest against writers, theatre directors, film directors, artists because the image of contemporary Croatia represented in their works does not match the opinions of hyper-patriotic protesters. However, I can’t complain because everywhere else I am seen as a writer. The best readers and great funs rarely show their face. Sometimes you bump on them when you travel, and these are the most rewarding moments of my “professional” life. In last couple of years I had a great privilege to visit United States several times. Last Autumn I visited several places in US, because two of my books appeared in US, a new novel “Fox”, and a reissue of the old book of essays “American Fictionary”. Meeting some of my American readers was one of the best experiences of my writer’s life.

I have a deep respect for my readers, wherever they might be. First of all, I have a name which is difficult to pronounce and memorise, consequently only the readers who really like my writing will know me. They would not mistake me for a woman-writer from Croatia, Romania, Russia, Poland or Slovakia, as many false fans would do. I deeply respect my true reader, and this is not self-flattering promo, but the way I understand literary communication. Italo Calvino, in one of his essays, said that literature is not a school, in other words that literature must rely on readership that is more educated and sophisticated than the writer her/himself. He also said that it doesn’t really matter whether such reader exists. What matters is that an author writes for a reader who knows more than an author her/himself. I am trying to follow Calvino’s attitude. It’s a call to raise the literary standards. That is what makes us writers.

RD&CS: – How is an “ambitious, talented, strong-willed, courageous” woman currently presented in Croatia?

DU: Still as a witch! Or a bitch!

RD&CS: – Over the last two centuries, from one ethnic group to another, according to you, has the male perspective always remained the same?

DU: No. It changed and it is changing constantly, mostly in favor of women’s writting. Not everywhere, of course.

RD&CS: – Often, when women complain about the lack of recognition, rights, prospects, importance and visibility that contemporary society accords them, whether in the area of family, politics, economics, science or art, voices of “more or less emancipated” men or women, reply loud and clear: There is no difference (more or less) between men and women, and there never has been. What is your own experience, your truth? And that of people close to you (friends, family, etc.).

DU: If we rely on theory of cultural memes, then women inherited a long and humiliating history of exclusion (from education, from literacy, from power, from art, from politics, and so forth). I met many men (and women too!) who do not read women-writers. Seeing a text written by a woman writer, many men get sudden attack of dyslexia. They are simply not able to read it. Solidarity among women-writers can change such constellations a lot. I find American readers the most gender-emancipated, for instance. The contemporary reception and acceptance of women writers has been established by many factors: by American academia, by Women studies, Gender studies, by organizations which “control” the gender equality in representation of books written by women authors in US media (VIDA, for instance), by new publishers, editors, critics, literary historians who are open to follow the principles of equality, by PEN activities, etc. True, things are not perfect, but people try to make them better.

Women should admit that they are not always the best allies in that battle. Women who carry the memes of harsh historical exclusion sometimes behave like people suffering from PTS. One can find a lack of solidarity among women writers, critics and academics. Women sometimes tend to sabotage themselves and each other. Before accusing men-writers for indifference toward their female colleagues, for the lack of respect and visibility, for discriminatory policy of some publishers and editors, women must open an honest talk about themselves, I guess.

Before accusing men-writers for indifference toward their female colleagues, for

the lack of respect and visibility, for discriminatory policy of some publisher and

editors, women must open an honest talk about themselves, I guess

Before accusing men-writers for indifference toward their female colleagues, for

the lack of respect and visibility, for discriminatory policy of some publisher and

editors, women must open an honest talk about themselves, I guess

RD&CS: – To what extent is the difference between the sexes perceptible in your cultural journey? And what have you experienced as influences from pre-established cultural roles (in the course of your education, your evolution and your personal affirmation)?

DU: I was born in a society where sex equality was an important part of its ideological package. Women in Yugoslavia were active participants of partisan resistance movement during the WW2. After the war they were invited to build new socialist society (which meant also the new relationship between the sexes). They were enabled to emancipate themselves, to study, to “urbanise” themselves, to get out from the slavery (Kitchen, Kids and Church). Things were not perfect in reality, but men and women got re-educated. Ideological emancipatory machine was extremely important for women and it brought a new and powerful working class: educated women. I studied comparative literature because I wanted to, I did everything I wanted to, my parents supported me. I was still a student, 21 years old, when I published my first book, and the apparently book got a major prize for children books in Croatia. It was a tremendous push to my self-esteem. As I said, things in reality were not perfect, but official ideology gave women the wings. The real trouble came with the fall of Yugoslavia, with nationalism and with greedy and unstoppable church, in other words with the “democratization” of new little states that hatched from former Yugoslavia.

RD&CS: – In the ontological status of the work of art or scientific discovery and of their reception by the receiving public, are there signs specific to female art, or in the science proposed by women, if we really accept the existence of a female art or scientific work that is eminently female? So many theories for and against, close to or notwithstanding circulate in the world. What would be your opinion on this delicate or absurd subject?!

DU: I can’t talk about the sphere I don’t know much. I don’t have any references, figures and real knowledge. I know about the language researches, e.g. are there any differences of using the language between men and women. Apparently there are, though it seems they are minor. Besides they probably changed in the meantime.

RD&CS: – Have you felt throughout the course of your life, from one movement/place to another, a lack of appreciation of the woman and of the female of the Being in search of personality?

DU: Societies, men, women, personal experiences are all different. Experiences of men and women of different classes and races are all different. We should not generalise: not all the Croats are the same, not all Croatian women are the same, not all the Muslims are the same, neither all Muslim women are the same. We got a toy to play (not my favourite, I must admit) and that is The Holly Identity. And we will play with it until we get bored.

RD&CS: – Why are people still ashamed/afraid/frosty when it comes time to talking frankly about the role of women in the lives of men?

DU: That important issue is more and more present in contemporary film, art, literature, in academic researches, in literary genres, such as memoirs, biographies and novels.

RD&CS: – Please name 10 exceptional examples of women who have obliged humanity to talk at length about them! From the margins in the international scene, women authors, artists, politicians, scholars, musicians, photographers, revolutionaries, provocatrices, women who have left a real mark on their time, and on ours, with a wave of a magic wand of destiny.

DU: I won’t, because mentioning one automatically means leaving out the other. One can find an attempt to repair “historical damage”on the book market, for instance the books for teenage girls with biographies of the most famous and inspiring 100 women in the world. It’s useful as the self-esteem booster, but it might do more damage than good: apparently these most famous and inspiring 100 women share the territory of US and UK. There are hardly any inspiring women coming from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, South America…

RD&CS: – What would you like to un-do about you and for you as the Woman that you are?

DU: I would probably like to have long, silky hair. And lot of it! Ha-ha!

RD&CS: – Can we accept that starting at a certain age one no longer wants to be considered a woman but rather the gift/power of a mysterious being (the Heideggerian being perhaps?!)?

DU: I bought a broom long time ago when I realized which “mysterious being” is usually associated with the woman of a certain age.

RD&CS:- And we try for more. Do you have moments when you feel more a man than a woman?

DU: I think that we have to be able to shift the gender mentally, for a while, for educational purposes. However, there are many different women and many different men. Maybe we should do more gender experiments, to be able to collect more reliable results. Biologist might tell us something about it, I guess. For now, I can move into a mentality of a man who has more or less the same education, who shares the same cultural references, who is more or less my age, and who has similar life experience. My options of trying to feel like a man, but most of the women too, are heavily reduced. I certainly can’t know how to feel like a male member of some tribe living in Amazon jungle. Or a female member.

RD&CS: – Louis Aragon wrote: Woman is the future of man. Is it just to make something beautiful in poetry and in song? And vice versa?

DU: We can play with it endlessly…

RD&CS: – Isn’t a woman a man like any other! say the biologists, geneticists, clinicians, and even grammarians. There’s no doubt in their minds… And to calm the turbulence, we should all watch the film: Man is a Woman, a French film directed by Jean-Jacques Zilbermann, in 1998, in Paris.

Let’s keep open-minded and positive, since it’s better to believe that the old fogeys who wanted to preserve their rules, traditions and prerogatives are very much from the time of caning and mourning, and we don’t owe them anything! Since they have died out we are no longer the same! At least, here, in our space of life. Farther and even farther, and more complicated or always the same. A question or a pacifist/warrior/constructive thought to move across time and barbaric convulsions?

DU: Yes, in “our space” things are better. In some other spaces things are unthinkable worse. Recently a 19-year old girl, a student from Bangladesh, has been burned because she reported she’d been sexually harassed by the teacher or dean of the university. And she died, because she “lied”.  All in all, I really do not know how to answer your question except that all the options are open. The climate catastrophe is the worst among the options that are in front of us, though it might have one positive side effect, and that is that all gender issues we talked about will be irrelevant. But before that happen misogyny (misandry too, if we can find it) should be defined and widely popularized as a serious behavioural disorder. People should be taught how to recognize the symptoms, how to ask for a help, and how to stop it or/and how to control it. Act of misogyny should be treated by the law as any other act of intolerance: as racism, as sexual harassment, as violence, as sadism… Here is an interesting comparison. In most of the European countries the act of desecration of a national flag is treated by law almost the same as a rape. In Croatia one can gets the same three years of prison for burning the national flag and for raping the woman. Desecration of a flag is treated as much more serious criminal act than rape. Women are raped every day,  flags are rarely burned. How do I know? Because all the media in the world will immediately report about the case of desecration of a flag. Raped woman is not the news.

Interview by Rodica Draghincescu and Constantin Severin, April 2019

Over the past three decades, Dubravka Ugresic has established herself as one of Europe’s most distinctive novelists and essayists. From her early postmodernist excursions, to her elegiac reckonings in fiction and the essay with the disintegration of her Yugoslav homeland and the fall of the Berlin Wall, through to her more recent writings on popular and literary culture, Ugresic’s work is marked by a rare combination of irony, polemic, and compassion.

Following degrees in Comparative and Russian Literature, Ugresic worked for many years at the University of Zagreb’s Institute for Theory of Literature, successfully pursuing parallel careers as both a writer and as a scholar. In 1991, when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, Ugresic took a firm anti-war stance, critically dissecting retrograde Croatian and Serbian nationalism, the stupidity and criminality of war, and in the process became a target for nationalist journalists, politicians and fellow writers. Subjected to prolonged public ostracism and persistent media harassment, she left Croatia in 1993.

In an exile that has in time become emigration, her books have been translated into over twenty languages. She has taught at a number of American and European universities, including Harvard, UCLA, Columbia and the Free University of Berlin. She is the winner of several major literary prizes (Austrian State Prize for European Literature 1998; finalist of Man Booker International Prize 2009; Jean Améry Essay Prize, awarded for her essayistic work as a whole, 2012; Vilenica Prize 2016; while Karaoke Culture was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism 2011. She is the winner of the 2016 Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

Ugresic lives in Amsterdam.

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”Gutenbergi, marconi sau teleaști au aruncat muzica contemporană românească la periferia informației și a evenimentului”

     Interviu cu compozitorul Liviu Dănceanu

     Mult mai cunoscut în străinătate decât în România, Liviu Dănceanu (n. 19 iulie 1954, Roman; d.26 octombrie 2017, București) a fost singurul mare compozitor român pe care am avut șansa de a-l cunoaște și chiar de a colabora, invitându-l să publice la ”Monitorul de Suceava” și la revista „Noul Continent” a Universității „Ștefan cel Mare” din Suceava. A fost un absolvent de excepție al secției de compoziție a Conservatorului din București, clasa maestrului Ștefan Niculescu (1980), un bărbat frumos și carismatic, un luptător erudit pe scena culturii, cu o viziune enciclopedică asupra fenomenului muzical. A urmat studii postuniversitare în cadrul aceleiași instituții și cursuri de perfecționare la Kazimiersz-Dolni, Londra, Paris, Tallin, Praga, Varșovia.

     A fost fondatorul și conducătorul Atelierului de muzică contemporană „Archaeus”, cu care a participat la importante reuniuni muzicale internaționale în Torino, Huddersfield, Valencia, Alicante, Alcoi, Milano, Bergamo, Ormea, Triora, Cagliari, Roma, Paris, Lyon, Bourges, Dijon, Wuppertal, Munchen, Bonn, Koln, Trieste, New York, Washington, Carbondale, Cleveland, Urbana, Milwakee, Sofia, Belgrad, Salzburg, Viena, Tirana, Viitassari, Budapesta, Padova, Chișinău ș.a. Director artistic al festivalurilor”Săptămâna muzicii noi”, București (1992-1996) și „Zilele Muzicii Contemporane”, Bacău, președinte al SIMC-Secțiunea națională română (1991-1994), Liviu Dănceanu a fost un ferment pentru mișcarea muzicală românească și a susținut conferințe despre muzica românească și despre propria creație la Torino, Munchen, Imperia, Carbondale, Moscova, Lyon ș.a. Din 1990 a fost profesor de compoziție și istoria muzicii universale la Conservatorul din București și a fost laureat al mai multor premii de compoziție: „Studium de Toulouse”(1986), Premiul Academiei (1989), Premiul Uniunii Compozitorilor (1988, 1990, 1994), Premiul ACIN-pentru muzică de film (1988), ”Antidogma Musica”(Torino, 1994), precum și câștigător al unor premii de interpretare muzicală: ATM (1987), Premiul Criticii Muzicale (1996), Premiul UCMR (1990), Premiul Actualității Muzicale (1996),  Premiul Soros (1997).

     Până în anul acestui interviu, 1999, Liviu Dănceanu compusese peste 70 de opusuri, o parte dintre ele fiind comenzi ale unor soliști, orchestre și festivaluri importante din Europa și America: ”Antidogma Musica”, „ENSEMS”, ”Musica Nova”, Radio France, Ministerul Culturii din Franța, New York University, De Paul University-Chicago, Filarmonica din Cleveland, ”Trieste Prima”, Filarmonica ”Mihail Jora”, Bacău ș.a. A publicat studii, eseuri, recenzii, articole în numeroase reviste din țară și din străinătate. Alături de scrierile lui C. G. Jung și de lucrările lui Brâncuși, Klee și Țuculescu, interviul de mai jos a fost unul dintre fermenții care m-au condus la căutarea surselor profunde în artă, a arhetipurilor culturale și la conceperea și lansarea noului curent/concept din arta contemporană, expresionismul arhetipal, în anii 2000-2001.

  • Ce note specifice are muzica românească actuală?
  • Poate că în niciun alt teritoriu național convertirea compozitorului la piruete ori
  • detente teoretice nu este mai prezumtivă și previzibilă ca la noi. Verbul teoretizării și substantivul operei se conjugă astfel cât se poate de firesc. O demonstrează din plin muzicienii români care, nu de puține ori, pășesc pe teritoriul compoziției după ce în prealabil l-au supravegheat și l-au ameliorat din perspectivă muzicologică. Ștefan Niculescu, Aurel Stroe, Anatol Vieru, Wilhelm Berger, Octavian Nemescu, Nicolae Brânduș, Adrian Iorgulescu sunt semnatarii unor opusuri ce sechestrează în ele însele un consistent și de multe ori inedit demers teoretic, infirmând-fie și la modul indirect-credința lui Spengler conform căreia implantarea în teoretic duce în mod inevitabil la decadență, la abstractizarea speculativă a valorilor și, implicit, la de-concretizarea lor. În muzica românească această survolare a praxisului componistic de la altitudinea exercițiilor teoretizante poate fi cotată ca o trăsătură dominantă a ultimelor patru decenii.

„Ponderea aisbergului muzicii românești în oceanul muzicii actuale este una fără precedent”

  • Care este locul muzicii contemporane românești în concertul valorilor universale?
  • Muzica românească contemporană este deopotrivă emersă și submersă, având-prin urmare-un nivel la vedere și altul ascuns ori mai degrabă abscons, căci unele sunt unitățile de măsură cu care compatrioții noștri „ne răsfață” și cu totul altele criteriile prin care străinătatea ne evaluează. E ca în aserțiunea cu aisbergul: partea mai mică, mai neînsemnată e văzută din interior, iar partea mai mare, incomparabil mai substanțială este doar la îndemâna celor din exterior. Aisbergul rămâne totuși aisberg, indiferent din ce unghi îl privești, iar ponderea aisbergului muzicii românești în oceanul muzicii actuale este una fără precedent, componistica noastră cunoscând astăzi o incandescență emergentă, un desant ce poate fi fecund pentru cultura română în ansamblul ei.
  • Care este condiția compozitorului român de astăzi?
  • Compozitorul român de astăzi este în cele mai frecvente cazuri un solitar (excepție făcând, evident, autorii de muzică de divertisment). El are nostalgia reîntregirii familiei public-compozitor, ori visează la câte vreun Mecena care să-i țină loc de umbrelă sau să-i actualizeze energiile virtuale. Pesemne însă că muzica a absentat de la Adunarea generală a artelor, când sub generoasa asistență a lui Octavian Augustus s-a plănuit practica mecenatului. Și chiar dacă în istoria muzicii au existat totuși câțiva Mecena (Papa Marcellus, ducele de Gonzaga ori contele Esterhazy), la noi ei au fost mai curând filantropi (în cel mai fericit caz), au devenit mizantropi, pentru ca astăzi să capete deprinderile unor gangsteri autentici, numiți după împrejurări impresari sau agenți, făcând din condiția compozitorului una vecină cu iobăgia. Aceasta în cazul în care compozitorul nu preferă haiducia și implicit solitudinea.

”Această muzică va marca într-un fel o reîntoarcere la cântecul pur”

  • Ce tendințe noi pot fi surprinse în muzica actuală?
  • Mai întâi că muzica nouă este răs-strănepoata muzicii culte ivite cam cu un mileniu în urmă pe cărările bătrânei noastre Europa. Muzica contemporană a fost, pe rând, nepoată, fiică și va fi fiind probabil mamă, bunică, ș.a. Prin urmare, ea este con-sangvină cu oricare altă muzică așa-zis cultă, fiind părtașă la jocul de construcție al muzicii în general. Muzica nouă mărturisește indubitabil prezentul, iar trăirea în prezent, aflarea și recuperarea valorilor acestuia constituie testimoniul funciar al tinereții noastre. Prezentul însă e bântuit de pulverizarea limbajelor artistice și nu numai. Așa se face că și în muzică totul a devenit posibil, atât în ceea ce privește organizările spațiale, extramuzicale (vocabularul, adică), cât și în domeniul sintaxei ori al alcătuirilor formale. Aceasta este noutatea față de epocile anterioare: tot mai anevoie se consolidează tendințe, tehnici de compoziție sau mai știu eu ce comuniuni, fie ele chiar și numai de interese. Ca „sound” însă, categoric, în muzica nouă, legea este făcută din ce în ce mai autoritar de către sursa electronică, sursă ce în viitor își va dezvolta, aidoma oricărei alte surse sonore, principii de construcție imanente.
  • Este adevărat că rolul melodiei s-a diminuat în ultimele decenii?
  • Propensiunea pentru melodie nu s-a atrofiat, ci, mai curând, s-a diluat prin risipirea conceptului de monodie la nivelul tuturor parametrilor sonori. Au apărut astfel melodiile de timbre (Klangfarbenmelodie), melodiile de durate, de moduri de atac, de intensități, etc. Va sosi însă ceasul răzbaterii eclatante și definitive (pentru viitoarele câteva decenii) a unei muzici care nu va mai ține prea mult socoteală de originile sale matematice. Muzica va redeveni treptat simțire, artă a exprimării ori vehicul întru redempție și va fi mai puțin o ipostază sonoră a legilor universului, cu toată spectaculozitatea și perfecțiunea lor. Această muzică va marca într-un fel o reîntoarcere la cântecul pur, în termeni sintactici: la melodie, a cărei simplitate și strălucire va triumfa chiar și atunci când moștenirea tehnologică a ultimei jumătăți de veac va asedia, firesc, ineluctabil, actul componistic.
  • Ce combinații de instrumente preferați pentru orchestrarea pieselor?
  • Consider că resursele tehnice și coloristice ale instrumentelor consacrate nu au fost nicidecum epuizate, așa cum sunt convins că încă nu s-au inventat multe din instrumentele pe care practica muzicală le așteaptă. De aceea sunt sedus deopotrivă de combinațiile instrumentale tradiționale, cât și de cele insolite ori de cele pe care le visez pentru a le înfăptui ori le înfăptuiesc pentru a visa.
  • Ce impact are biografia compozitorului asupra operei sale?
  • Biografia compozitorului contează în economia propriei opere în măsura în care această biografie poate fi povestită sonor. Or, cum muzica nu poate fi tradusă nici măcar parțial în cuvinte, impactul dintre o anume biografie și operă în cazul compozitoruluieste neglijabil și în niciun caz demonstrabil. Sigur că anumite protuberanțe biografice pot fi deconspirate în componistică sub aspectul etosului unui opus sau altul, dar ceea ce rămâne, dincolo de dezvăluirea unor trăiri-să le spunem analoge-este preponderent coincidență ori speculație.

”Nu creațiile folclorice sau etnografice pot reînnoi și îmbogăți arta contemporană, ci descoperirea surselor lor”

  • Ce alte domenii ale culturii pot constitui un catalizator pentru creația unui compozitor?
  • Catalizatorul-cum îl numiți dvs.-se traduce în muzică prin natura surselor, care este de două categorii: propriu-zis muzicală și extramuzicală. Dacă sursele propriu-zis muzicale sunt pentru orice compozitor fatale, implacabile, cele extra-muzicale pot fi supuse elecției-o întreprindere de mare responsabilitate, întrucât aceste  din urmă surse se identifică în totalitatea lor cu întreg domeniul realului, al irealului și imaginarului. Personal, îmi place să adulmec, să-mi asum și să consum astfel de surse pe care le consider niște prăzi disponibile. La acest nivel, libertatea mea tinde către absolut. Mi-ar mai plăcea să pot avea acces la surse profunde, cum ar fi bunăoară arhetipurile culturale, despre care Eliade spunea că le-ar fi aflat și Brâncuși, pentru că nu creațiile folclorice sau etnografice pot reînnoi și îmbogăți arta contemporană, ci descoperirea surselor lor.
  • De ce este atât de puțin cunoscută muzica simfonică românească, mai ales în țară?
  • Compozitorii români sunt vrând-nevrând pensionarii unei rezervații de muzică contemporană. Cum de s-a ajuns aici? Cred că este mâna destinului, a cărui lucrare se traduce prin traiectul irefutabil și ireversibil al fenomenului muzical, ajuns, se pare, în ultima fază a evoluției sale, faza atomizării. Și mai cred că este și mâna „necuratului”, care prin emisarii săi, fie ei gutenbergi, marconi sau teleaști au aruncat muzica contemporană românească la periferia informației și a evenimentului, instituind o stare de asediu a tăcerii, un embargou capabil să anihileze orice tentativă de evadare a noii muzici din enclava în care este sortită să locuiască de oarece vreme. Și cum o mână spală pe alta, vom rămâne probabil cu singurătatea noastră, nimic mai periculos, numai și pentru faptul că-așa cum remarca Paul Valéry  -„singurătatea e întotdeauna cea mai proastă companie”.
  • Ce semnificație are Bucovina pentru dvs.?
  • M-am născut în vecinătatea Bucovinei, la Roman. Am hoinărit de nenumărate ori pe cărările ei miraculoase, astfel încât mintea-mi se află într-o perfectă împăcare cu spiritul Bucovinei, în timp ce inima-mi se identifică suveran cu sufletul ei. Și m-am întrebat adesea: din Buco-vina cui este ea încă neîntregită? Cu siguranță, și din vina noastră.

(”Monitorul de Suceava”, Anul V, Nr. 105, vineri 7 mai 1999)

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The Librarian of Hell

„The Librarian of Hell” (excerpts, a novel by Constantin Severin)

I was still a student when my teacher Giambattista Vico recommended me to be hired as a librarian at the Royal Library in Naples. I was appointed after a long and intense dialogue with the respected members of the local public authority, Sacro Regio Consiglio. I will never forget the day of July 19, 1708, a shining summer day, resembling a piano keyboard. The city was in a boiling mood due to Händel, who have been invited to play a sacred serenade at harpsichord for the wedding party of Duke Tolomeo Saverio Gallio and Beatrice di Montemiletto, Princess of Acaja. Our daily life was so close to music in the bel canto epoch, that even babies were not baptized in the absence of a sacred song, played on organ or harpsichord.
The Royal Library was on the left side of the imposing Palazzo Reale, the palace of Capodimonte viceroys, where I used to study since I was a teenager. I loved its tremendous walnut shelfs, stuffed with old books, incunabula and manuscripts, with beautiful floral ornaments, the tall and elegant chairs clothed with blue French velvet, the small santal tea table where the delicate hand of a woman looked like a Japanese rose, the velvet lilac colored large Empire sofas, the golden draperies bound with white satin ribbons and especially the beautiful still lifes with glass vases of flowers, inscriptions like AMOR IN UMBRAM, candles and sand timers of the local painter Francesco Solimena, whose patron was the Cardinal Vincenzo Orsini (who later became Pope Benedict the XIIIth).
From daybreak to late in the evening, I was almost buried alive in letters and signs of countless cultures. I was breathing and tasting them smoothly, trying to deform and recompose them in other shapes, setting them in order like in a dreams book, and making complicated statistics on the frequency of vowels and consonants in some famous authors’ writings or in the common language of my readers, all prestigious intellectuals of the city. One day, in the storm of these passionate researches, situated at the border between language and reality, which pierced my heart and eyes with the hypnotic promise of some possible revelations, I had the bizarre idea that it could be found a magic link between our character and the frequency of certain vowels we use. I became persuaded by the fact that the vowels shape our character and irrigate all the capillary vessels of our emotional life…I discovered that calm and silent people use instinctively a lot of words which contain the A vowel, those trustful who inspire confidence are emitting more words with the E vowel, the joyful people, with an infectious laughter use a language imbued by the I vowel, the serious intellectuals with a rich inner life, haunted by perfection are unconsciously attracted by the words which contain especially the O vowel, and the solemn people, very concerned for their interior profoundness usually prefer the words dominated by the U vowel. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that magic incantations of the members of some isolated American or Pacific islands tribes contain a great number of vowels, like the old mantras belonging to the Sanskrit world, some of them used even today by the initiated masters. I may offer you now a single example, a famous Sanskrit mantra, OM NAMO NARAYANAYA, which may induce the unconditional love, is made of 10 vowels and only 5 consonants and from those 10 vowels the one which help you enter into a state of interior peace, calm and silence, the A vowel, is 6 times present.
I believe that any text has both an informational and emotional background, but probably the most important to the universe’s order is its invisible, esoteric charge, and this depends on the affective mood of the author, the same thing being applicable to the artworks. Almost identical texts are noxious if they are written by people dominated by negative feelings, and they are benefic if the authors are breathing love through their most intimate being.
My fellow librarian, Giuliano Roselli, who was in charge for this honorable job (the librarians became very frequently viceroy’s advisers) since the last 7 years, was the brother of the well-known publisher Giuseppe Roselli, and a much respected scholar, an expert in the maze of the old alchemical texts. At times, when I have the strong belief that my life goes on a wrong, too selfish path, it comes to my mind the short and sharp sentence that Giuseppe used to state firmly during our debates, trying to arrange the opened collar of his yellow or blue laced shirt: “It’s immoral to be free, liberty is an ontological fraud”. “Liberty is the fundamental catalyst of our inner life’’, I tried to retort one day. “Maybe it’s fitted for your imagination, but not for social action’’, he replied. All his existence was fully dedicated to the others, up to the point that he could be capable of neglecting his own desires and pleasures. Probably it’s true that your most intimate words, your core beliefs, proliferate and create the main traces of your destiny, appearing to inexorably attract the reality. Step by step, the soft-hearted Giuliano, with his wonderful blue eyes full of light and visionary dreams, was turned into a human being in mental chains and his wife, Larisa, became the greatest challenge on this illusive path of transforming other’s destinies. She was a former Russian prostitute, born in Sankt Petersburg, where my fellow has been invited twice to support the Imperial librarians to organize the huge collections. They met one evening in a roadside inn, in a room with some little tables with chairs and no other clients. The only stranger was a bee trying to enter Giuliano’s glass of red wine. Larisa was gazing at him openmouthed with an odd look on her face, and Giuliano’s his skin turned to goosebumps. “For a moment the physical universe came to a halt’’, he wrote in a diary I found one day on his desk. He fell in love with a sudden, wild abandonment and after two weeks they left together for Naples. His dedication to the mission of modifying Larisa’s behavior is still proverbial in Naples, now you may read in the same published diary such sentences: “Your life is a vivid manuscript full of errors, which could still be rectified’’. During the first five years of marriage, it seems that his task was successful, but after the born of the third child, a girl, Larisa became a sweet threatening for all his friends, including me. She was one of the most voluptuous women I ever met, even now my memory is filled with the images of her fine skin texture, the firm and round breasts, the dark eyes and the sound of her hypnotic voice, the best physical mark of her infinite sensuality. It was almost impossible to resist her gracefulness and charms, though she was ten years older than me. The library used to be in fire when the blonde nymph was stepping inside.
While captivated by my public function at the Royal Library in Naples, later I realized it was also an amazing opportunity to be guided on the path to my future destinations, Vienna and Ada Kaleh. And I experienced a strange feeling of both recognition, unknown and precognition, when I first found a reference about Ada Kaleh island, in a Latin manuscript dated from the XIIth century and signed by the Arab geographer and cartographer, Muhammad al-Idrisi, who was for many years an adviser at the Palermo Court of King Roger II of Sicily. Though the name of the island was Saan in that period, when I studied the map “Tabula Rogeriana” (one of the most advanced ancient maps of Eurasia, made by the same Al-Idrisi), I became aware it was the same with Ada Kaleh.

After some months, during a dialogue in the library with the well-known publisher Antonio Bulifan, I found out that he visited Ada Kaleh in 1693. I had the idea to invite him one evening at Taverna Del Cerriglio, the favourite place of Caravaggio one hundred years before, in the middle of Borgo Orefici (Goldsmiths Burg) area, where you may find even today the best jewelers in the city. Suddenly I was very eager to know more details about this small island on the Danube, situated between the Sorbian and Wallachian borders and disputed by two major powers of the time, Austria and Turkey.

I’m drinking a glass of Capri red wine with my friend Agostino Fiori, a student at the Faculty of Law, and the atmosphere in the tavern is already hot, there are a lot of people speaking loudly in Italian, Spanish, French or German, some young women among them, three musicians are playing mandolin, caccavella (this Neapolitan instrument consists of a membrane stretched across a resonating chamber, like a drum) and tammorra (our name for tambourine), almost all the bulky wooden tables and chairs are full. I notice some oak ladders suspended by the ceiling above us, with ropes loaded with garlands of onion and garlic, now my sight is stolen by some gracious old mandolins and guitars displayed into the niches of the white walls, the wizards of sound are singing a “canzone napoletana”, I admire the beautiful archways of Romanic type and Antonio Bulifan is already with us, he came through the same narrow passage close to the crowded street. Even now, after some centuries, when I remember Antonio, the first thing which pokes my memory is his velvet voice. When you are born in Naples, sound and music are the genuine food for your soul.

– Our fiesta may start now, says Agostino Fiori. He is one of the few blond guys in the city, his mother was born in Ukraine. A very passionate reader of poetry and philosophy, my friend is now in love with Larisa Roselli and he doesn’t allow me to say one little word against her.
– How did you come to the idea of visiting Ada Kaleh? My abrupt question brought a large smile on Antonio’s face.
– It was not my idea, in that period I met an interesting poet from Pisa, Maria Selvaggia Borghini, and I decided in 1693 to publish one of her books. She is a profound, beautiful woman and an ardent catholic, her beauty has something solemn, of an old Roman effigy, with a perfect profile and an adorable long and curly brown hair. I was also captivated by the perfume of her voice, and I felt that around her even my voice became more tuneful and bright, with a solar grain in it. I fell in love with her, but she tried subtlety to keep me away from a possible love affair. But my salvation was the word Ada Kaleh, pronounced by her during one of our long and vivid discussions, since that moment I used it as an anchor to fulfill my goal. When she began to tell me the story of Ada Kaleh, I made her the promise of a journey to the small island. It was a wonderful day of May when we left Naples by diligence and after one week we found a boat on the Sorbian border to take us to our small Paradise, the place of my lifelong dream. And I found there, in that Oriental and patriarchal settlement, in the house of a Sephardic Jewish family, the pure love as a gift of light and sound.

An old Turkish tea samovar was the central piece in our room and it seemed to us a tuning fork for both the range of light and sound. Our feverish fingers began to cross and vibrate together for the first time on its shiny silver cover. One of our daily rituals was to discharge the multiple hidden streams of our skin by touching the large urn-shaped container with a copper pipe running vertically through the middle. Probably you know, the skin of the lover is strained like the strings of a mandolin. The silver Cupidon reflected almost every embrace from our small bed with red clothes in the yellow trembling light of the Spanish chandelier. At times, in the morning, I could admire in the mirror of the samovar the shadow of a dove on my left shoulder, our white companion waiting for some fresh-baked bread, in the gothic window.

But the climax of our singular experience with this amazing samovar, having the inscription of K.P. Adapazari 1658 on the green garnet base, was the moment when we filled the pipe with solid fuel, such as pine cones, charcoals and wood chips and set them on fire, in order to boil the water inside it. Then the samovar was singing. We heard different sounds, from the lowest to the highest scale, and we tried to unravel possible meanings for our destiny. The sweet tonality of my mother’s voice. The rustle of the pages of an old book. The overtones of a baby cry. The crunch of an old door. The steps of a robber. The zephyr of my childhood landscape. The noise of a crane nozzle. The bubble of a mountain spring. I will never understand why love transformed me in a humble amanuensis of sounds in this exotic island. I can assure you, this was the first and the last time in my life when I entered such a game, when I tried with my beloved Maria to understand the soul of a samovar and its reflection in our souls, to be most enfolded by the sound.
Ada Kaleh is currently in my memories a sonorous sway and a map of transfigured voices, as if all the other senses melted in the Empire of Hearing: Danube’s rumble overlapping the fluttering of the numberless swallows, the lute songs played by some old Turkish men, the whispers of the samovar, the stammering of the prayers, the hum of merchants specialized in Oriental sweets or the children’s chatters. Our presence in that magic place looked like a sonorous wedding of two magnetic voices in love, fascinated by the perfection of sounds.

(Wrote in English at the International Writing Program, University of Iowa, USA, October-November 2015, a fiction course by Christopher Merril and Angela Flournoy)

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Severin’s Choice: Sonni Pacheco

Mother and Vancouver native, Sonni Pacheco has at only twenty-nine, unearthed a brilliant and recognizable talent that is already gaining fast traction in the art community. Although only sculpting since the birth of her daughter in 2013, her innate and remarkable ability to represent her own visceral suffering and abuse go beyond traditionally trained artists.

With no formal art training or background, Pacheco truly succeeds in showcasing her extreme sensitivity, using the harrowing stories of womanhood to capture a uniquely powerful portrayal of a seemingly powerless time in her life, entrusting audiences with her most vulnerable self.

The self-uncertainty and inner turmoil that most Los Angeles transplants procure is precisely what artist Sonni Pacheco emanates through her sculptures. The raw and vulnerable nature of her pieces externalize her ability to be honest in a setting where vanity and status cloud authenticity, obscuring what it means to be human, and more especially, what it means to be a woman.

Reacquiring her sense of self worth, sexuality, and dominance, using the female form is representative of a woman’s ability to survive malleability. The notion that women can aid torment, afflict powerlessness onto themselves through the abuse and manipulation of affluent men, yet also remain resilient, allowing their minds and bodies to bend but not break.

Through the physicality of clay, Pacheco intimately transfers her anxieties and inadequacies onto her subjects, relishing in the strength, beauty, and power the female form embodies. The safety sculpting gave Pacheco during a traumatic recovery from a depleting and abusive relationship, allowed her to embrace the fragility, depression, fear, and anger, and appropriate pain as a catalyst. This release can be seen in her technical precision and innate ability to create rebirth and power through the use of uncomfortable and suggestive positions, taking back female dominance. 

Pacheco’s use of skulls allows her to reconnect to the primitive nature of humanity, specifically the relationship between men and women. The displaced power dynamics encountered today are avidly evocative, allowing Pacheco a platform to showcase the rise from emotional captivity. Pacheco redirects the internal emptiness abuse induces, and focuses on creating primal statements by connecting life and body, with disparity and death.

Sonni Pacheco’s art at Saatchi Art:


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Bibliotecarul Infernului

Prinţul Eugen de Savoia, pictură de Jacob van Schuppen

Bibliotecarul Infernului (fragment)


                                                                                               de Constantin Severin

                              Motto: ’’Dublă e naşterea celor ce mor, şi  dublă pieirea…’’ (Empedocles din Agrigent)

Aristotel era convins că marile fapte şi idei nu sunt inspirate de minţi mari, ci de inimi mari. Mesagerul destinului meu, Prinţul Eugen de Savoia, avea în mod cert o minte mare susţinută şi de o inimă pe măsură, încă din perioada în care mă aflam la Viena fiind considerat nu numai cel mai mare conducător militar al vremii, celebrat ca salvator al Vestului, ci şi cel mai important şi luminat diplomat, precum şi un Mecena al artelor de anvergura unui mare monarh, într-un cuvânt era eroul celor mai glorioase pagini din istoria Austriei. Pentru austriacul din popor, în ponderea acestor aprecieri contau mai puţin răsunătoarele sale succese diplomatice în Europa de Vest, cu mult mai importante fiind victoriile sale asupra turcilor în Ungaria, prin cucerirea Budapestei, în 1697, după bătălia de lângă Mohács, precum şi în Balcani, unde turcii au suferit o usturătoare înfrângere la Zenta, în Serbia, succese finalizate cu pacea de la Karlowitz, din 1699, când habsburgii şi-au împlinit vechiul vis de a controla Ungaria şi Transilvania. Bătălia de la Zenta din 1697 a rămas cel mai mare succes din analele istoriei habsburgilor, armata Prinţului Eugen pierzând numai 300 de militari, în timp ce de partea cealaltă au fost ucişi 30.000 de oşteni turci, inclusiv conducătorul lor, Marele Vizir Mustafa Paşa.

     În anul în care am fost bibliotecar în Viena, ziarul ’’Wiener Zeitung’’ a publicat un serial de mare succes despre meandrele destinului protectorului meu, îmi amintesc că Michael Pfeiffer s-a deplasat la Paris pentru a sta de vorbă cu câteva rude şi foşti prieteni ai Prinţului Eugen, încercând să lămurească şi câteva aspecte biografice mai puţin cunoscute, despre care marele diplomat şi comandant nu dorea să vorbească. Provenea dintr-o familie de aristocraţi franco-italieni şi s-a născut la Paris, mama sa Olympia Mancini deţinând o poziţie cheie, de superintendent la Curtea Regelui Soare, Ludovic al XIV-lea, care îi făcuse curte în perioada în care ea era o frumoasă adolescentă, visând chiar să devină soţia sa. Tatăl său, Prinţul Eugen Maurice de Savoia, era pasionat de viaţa militară şi de vânătoare, plecând frecvent de acasă. Am aflat cu toţii că ilustrul personaj care apărea aproape zilnic pe prima pagină a ziarului făcea parte dintr-o familie foarte influentă în elitele franceze, de pildă unchiul mamei sale, Cardinalul Mazarin de la Curtea Coroanei Franceze, a fost prim-ministru atât sub Ludovic al XIII-lea, cât şi sub Ludovic al XIV-lea. Franţa era principala putere a Europei, atât din punct de vedere militar cât şi cultural, având sub Ludovic al XIV-lea peste 20 de milioane de locuitori, o populaţie de trei ori mai mare ca Spania şi de patru ori mai numeroasă ca Anglia, precum şi o armată imensă, de peste 450.000 de soldaţi, scriitorii şi artiştii francezi erau cunoscuţi şi apreciaţi în toată lumea (doar muzica era dominată în continuare tot de italieni, Napoli fiind perceput pretutindeni ca Oraşul Muzicii), iar ’’Gazette de France’’ titra pe prima pagină cu litere de-o şchioapă că limba engleză nu are niciun viitor…Olympia Mancini era pasionată de ocultism şi astrologie, fiind prietenă apropiată cu Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin, supranumită  La Voisin, o expertă în otrăvuri, care a fost arestată în 1679 şi arsă pe rug în februarie 1680, fiind implicată într-un imens scandal, L’affaire des poisons (Afacerea otrăvurilor), în urma procesului existând probe că aceasta ar fi furnizat otrăvuri unor nobili de la Curte care şi-au lichidat rivalii şi ar fi făcut poţiuni magice şi vrăji pentru mai multe doamne din înalta societate, inclusiv pentru amanta Regelui Soare, Madame de Montespan, una dintre cele mai frumoase femei ale timpului, cu care temutul monarh a avut şapte copii. Madame de Montespan ar fi făcut diverse ritualuri şi descântece sub îndrumarea controversatei La Voisin şi i-ar fi administrat Regelui Ludovic al XIV-lea afrodisiace şi poţiuni magice pentru dragoste şi îndepărtarea rivalelor ei. Procesul care a zguduit câţiva ani Curtea Coroanei Franceze şi care a afectat până şi cercul intim al faimosului rege al Franţei s-a finalizat nu numai prin arderea pe rug a principalei vinovate, ci şi cu execuţia a încă 36 de persoane acuzate de crimă prin otrăvire, dar şi cu retragerea iubitei şi focoasei amante, Madame de Montespan, la mănăstirea Filles de Saint-Joseph din Paris, în 1691. În perioada adolescenţei, deşi părea un tânăr efeminat, fiind alintat de prieteni Madame L’Ancienne, destul de scund, cu nasul proeminent, dinţii laţi şi părul neglijent, Prinţul Eugen (pe care Regele Ludovic al XIV-lea îl numea adesea Micul Abate, îndemnându-l insistent să urmeze o carieră în lumea bisericii) era tot mai acaparat de universul armelor, devenise un bun călăreţ, citea cu nesaţ viaţa lui Alexandru cel Mare şi biografiile altor eroi ai armelor din trecut, aprofunda matematica pentru a deveni un bun strateg militar şi făcea zilnic exerciţii fizice. Supărat că a fost respins de două ori de către rege pentru a urma o carieră militară în armata franceză, el îşi oferă în 1683 serviciile Împăratului Sfântului Imperiu Roman, Leopold I, cu care se înrudea prin anumiţi membri ai Casei de Savoia, şi căruia îi scria în limba italiană, fiindcă acesta dezavua franceza, deşi o ştia foarte bine: ’’Mărturisesc că am luat această decizie încercând să urmez exemplul înaintaşilor mei de a-mi servi patria şi Curtea Bourbon din toată inima, şi numai după ce am încercat în zadar, de mai multe ori, să mă înrolez în armata Coroanei Franceze’’. Ascensiunea sa în armata habsburgică a fost fulminantă, la vârsta de 20 de ani a ajuns colonel de dragoni, apoi general la 22 de ani, general-locotenent la 24 de ani, general de cavalerie la numai 26 de ani şi în final onorat cu titlul suprem de mareşal, cu puţin timp înainte de a împlini vârsta de 30 de ani. A jurat că nu se va mai întoarce niciodată în Franţa decât cu sabia în mână şi s-a ţinut de cuvânt: timp de 50 de ani a devenit cel mai important oponent al ţării natale şi al Regelui Ludovic al XIV-lea, a cărui armată a învins-o de mai multe ori, uneori în mod umilitor, în Italia sau în Prusia. În acea vreme, Italia era un fel de sat fără câini, aflându-se sub conducerea celui mai bizar rege din istoria Casei de Habsburg, Carol al II-lea al Spaniei, care era epileptic, sifilitic, cu chipul desfigurat, retardat, bolnav la trup şi la minte, convins el însuşi că era creaţia Diavolului, fiind denumit de unii aristocraţi contemporani El Hechizado (Cel Vrăjit).

    În  anul 1716 turcii au declanşat un nou război împotriva Sfântului Imperiu Roman, condus de Împăratul Carol al VI-lea, sperând să-şi recucerească teritoriile pierdute, dar în august 1717 armata alcătuită din 70.000 de soldaţi, condusă de Prinţul Eugen de Savoia, a repurtat o nouă victorie istorică la Belgrad, învingând-o pe cea otomană, care număra peste 150.000 de oşteni. Aşa au ajuns Belgradul, Banatul, Oltenia şi insula Ada Kaleh (situată pe Dunăre într-o poziţie strategică, însuşi Împăratul Traian trecând prima oară în Dacia cu legiunile sale cu ajutorul unor pontoane având ca punct de sprijin tocmai insula care avea să fie denumită Carolina după 1717, în onoarea Împăratului Carol al VI-lea), provincii ale imperiului habsburgic. Deşi era un intelectual cultivat,  iubitor de artă şi filozofie, marea pasiune a protectorului meu era arta războiului, pe care o stăpânea ca nimeni altul, în special prin sacrificiul şi exemplul personal, fiind permanent prezent în toiul încleştărilor, prin imaginaţie, perseverenţă şi mâna de fier, dar şi prin tactica fără cusur, comparabilă în fiecare situaţie cu rezolvarea unei probleme complexe de matematică. Pe întinsa câmpie Marchfeld, din sud-estul Vienei, acest zeu al războiului (un Marte fără Venus, cum îl numeau unii, fiindcă femeia nu a fost niciodată o pasiune pentru el, fiind burlac toată viaţa) a creat un domeniu aristocratic emblematic, cu două impunătoare palate, Belvedere de Sus şi Belvedere de Jos, proiectate de celebrul arhitect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt,  înconjurate de grădini cu terase în stil franţuzesc şi de o fermă bine administrată, Meierhof, toate acestea fiind în armonie cu pădurile de fagi, mesteceni şi stejari, colinele răzleţe şi iazurile pline de peşte.

     Într-o duminică de la începutul lunii septembrie a anului 1720, Prinţul Eugen mi-a dăruit o zi de neuitat, prin invitaţia făcută de a-l vizita în noul şi fastuosul palat Belvedere de Sus. Cu o noapte înainte trăisem un vis neobişnuit de intens, parcă eram o rândunică aflată într-o planare uşoară deasupra domeniului de la Belvedere de Sus, auzeam vibraţiile aripilor şi cozii, freamătul curenţilor de aer şi clipocitul peştilor ţâşnind la suprafaţa iazului şi, în timp ce mă deplasam în picaj, simţeam cum ochii dilataţi îmi deveneau două tuneluri încăpătoare, care aspirau toată realitatea din jur, clădiri înalte cu acoperişuri verzi, străjuite la intrare de patru coloane masive, frontoane cu basoreliefuri din marmură, sculpturi cu sfincşi, Fecioara Maria, îngeraşi, lei şi gorgone, arbori ornamentali, stejari, fagi, tei şi mesteceni cu frunzele îngălbenite, trandafiri şi crizanteme viu colorate, câini alergând de la o uşă la alta, în aşteptarea oaselor aruncate de servitori, fetiţe în rochiţe cu volănaşe şi băieţei cu săbii de lemn în mână, trăsuri elegante colorate în roşu şi negru, trase de câte doi sau patru cai lipiţani, păuni cu uriaşe cozi multicolore, raţe sălbatice, pisici cuibărite la umbra zidurilor albe şi şoareci cu bobiţe de grâu între dinţişori, ieşind în lumina orbitoare a soarelui. M-a primit cu o undă de simpatie pe chipul său auster şi ferm, apoi m-a condus să admirăm împreună câteva picturi de Rembrandt, Titian, Bernardo Bellotto, Guido Reni, Anthony van Dyck şi Antoine Watteau, sculpturi în marmură (la loc de cinste i-am recunoscut pe Sfinţii Apostoli Petru şi Ioan), o parte din fresca abia începută reprezentând Învierea lui Iisus Hristos, la care lucra pictorul Francesco Solimena din Napoli, apoi am fost invitat într-un camerino cu mobilă din lemn de nuc stil Ludovic al XIV-lea, cărţi legate în coperte din piele de viţel, cu muchiile aurite, câteva vase de porţelan şi un portret al gazdei mele în haine militare, cu platoşă şi sabia la şold, cu coiful aşezat alături şi cu un sul de hârtie în mâna stângă, probabil planul tactic al unei acţiuni de luptă, realizat de pictorul Jacob van Schuppen. Servim amândoi câte o ceaşcă de ciocolată caldă, însoţită de câteva prăjituri cu frişcă şi, după ce servitorul a iese din birou, Prinţul Eugen mă fixează cu ochii săi negri şi vii, apoi deschide gura cu buza de jos răsfrântă, rostind cu o voce gravă:

     – Împreună cu luminatul nostru împărat am hotărât să-ţi încredinţăm o misiune secretă de maximă importanţă pentru destinul cultural al Europei, care îţi va dubla venitul anual. Dar înainte de a şti despre ce este vorba, aş dori să ne scuzi că nu te-am informat de la început că Biblioteca Imperială, care ţi-a fost dată în grijă la începutul acestui an, mai deţine peste 5.000 de cărţi, incunabule şi manuscrise rare, aflate într-un depozit la subsol, lucru pe care îl ştiam doar noi doi până acum şi un sfetnic care păstrează cheile şi le îngrijeşte pe ascuns, atunci când este nevoie de vreo intervenţie.

     – Nu cumva este vorba despre cărţile interzise de Inchiziţie, trecute în Index Librorum Prohibitorum ?

     – Sigur, bănuiam că ţi-ai dat seama imediat, dar la acestea se mai adaugă şi alte cărţi blestemate, despre care Inchiziţia nu a obţinut încă informaţii, mai sunt şi unele cu filele de pergament otrăvite, precum şi laboratorul alchimic al fostului împărat Rudolf al II-lea. Sunt sigur că îţi este cunoscut faptul că Vaticanul, condus acum de Papa Clement al XI-lea, nu a văzut niciodată cu ochi buni alchimiştii şi magicienii. Nu-ţi este străină nici vestea că împăratul doreşte mult să construiască o nouă bibliotecă în incinta domeniului Hofburg, o altă aripă a Palatului Imperial, fiind sfătuit de sfetnicul despre care ţi-am vorbit, un erudit pasionat de astrologie şi de numerologie, să nu ducă această bibliotecă secretă cu încărcătură malefică în inima reşedinţei sale, deoarece ar putea avea o influenţă nefastă asupra destinului său şi al Coroanei Imperiale. Ne-am tot gândit care ar fi soluţia potrivită ca să rezolvăm această problemă, aceea de a îndepărta acest tezaur de scrieri şi tipărituri străvechi fără a-l distruge şi, în urmă cu doi  ani, mi-a venit o idee salvatoare, după o vizită pe care am făcut-o pe insula Ada Kaleh, cu scopul de a intensifica pregătirile pentru întărirea fortificaţiilor şi a micuţei garnizoane de acolo, ea fiind un punct strategic important pentru a deveni stăpânii Dunării, aşa cum pe bună dreptate ne tot spunea generalul Friedrich Ambros conte Veterani, la sfârşitul secolului trecut. Comandantul garnizoanei, locotenentul Kurt Weissmann, mi-a spus atunci că au fost descoperite în inima subterană a insulei două tuneluri care duc spre cele două maluri ale Dunării, în Serbia şi în Valahia. Am ţinut neapărat să le văd şi pot să-ţi spun că sunt în stare bună, foarte spaţioase şi vechi, probabil din perioada Imperiului Roman. Când am revenit la Viena i-am propus împăratului să le întărim pereţii cu cărămizi rezistente şi să adăugăm câteva încăperi sub clădirea pulberăriei, apoi să amenajăm acolo o bibliotecă secretă unde vom transporta toate cărţile şi obiectele din subsolul Bibliotecii Imperiale. În luna martie anul viitor lucrările vor fi gata, inginerii noştri au realizat deja nişte ingenioase sisteme de aerisire, bine încastrate şi camuflate în zidurile fortăreţei, iar bibliotecarul desemnat să aibă grijă de această colecţie va dispune de un birou, un dormitor şi o baie cu apă rece şi apă caldă care va veni prin două conducte direct de la sediul garnizoanei.

     – Acum înţeleg despre ce misiune este vorba, probabil v-aţi gândit ca eu să fiu bibliotecarul din măruntaiele insulei Ada Kaleh. Nu ştiu ce să spun, acum sunt destul de tulburat despre întorsătura neobişuită pe care ar putea să o ia viaţa mea, sper însă Excelenţa Voastră că îmi veţi lăsa  posibilitatea de a alege, altfel mi s-a părea totul un fel de condamnare la temniţă grea, fără niciun fel de motive şi fără proces. O viaţă de recluziune totală, fără prieteni şi fără poveşti de dragoste, nu prea este din păcate pe gustul meu…

     – Nu te speria, nu va fi cum îţi imaginezi acum, când te-am luat desigur prin surprindere, îţi vom oferi venituri mai consistente tocmai pentru avea o libertate de mişcare mai mare, în biblioteca ta vor avea acces doar cărturari de încredere trimişi de noi, din când în când, de două-trei ori pe an, iar tu vei putea trece când doreşti, fie în Serbia, fie în Valahia şi tot de două-trei ori pe an eşti aşteptat şi la Viena, la Palatul Imperial. În aceste peregrinări poţi să cunoşti în mod evident şi femei, îţi vei face prieteni noi şi vei putea să ai şi câte o poveste de dragoste cu vreo turcoaică de pe insulă, dar să fii cu mare grijă, nu-ţi recomandăm să ieşi la suprafaţă decât seara târziu (când locuitorii se retrag în case, temându-se de tot felul de strigoi şi de alte apariţii, aşa cum am aflat), iar ziua vei urca doar atunci când vei fi anunţat de omul tău de legătură, locotenentul Kurt Weissmann, singurul care va cunoaşte secretul bibliotecii subterane. Ca să nu baţi la ochi şi să nu se afle ce se ascunde în subteran, vei ieşi la lumina zilei mai rar şi numai atunci când vor sosi corăbii cu călători, ca să te amesteci cu ei. 

     A doua zi de la întâlnirea din palatul Belvedere de Sus cu Prinţul Eugen, prealuminatul monarh Carol al VI-lea m-a invitat la Palatul Imperial şi m-a felicitat cu căldură că am acceptat misiunea secretă din Ada Kaleh, dăruindu-mi cu bucurie un frumos ceas de buzunar din aur, meşteşugit cu artă de Peter Henlein din Nürnberg, în 1538. Îl păstrez şi acum, pe capac este gravată o încântătoare imagine cu Adam şi Eva în Grădina Raiului. Peste o săptămână, Zeul Războiului mă alinta deja cu un nume destul de bine ales, Bibliotecarul Infernului, care nu era deloc departe de realitate, având în vedere încărcătura malefică a cărţilor pe care trebuia să le păstrez în cele mai bune condiţii.

(Fragment din romanul în lucru ’’Bibliotecarul Infernului’’)

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Text and Time 118 (The Archetypal World)

My most recent artwork, Text and Time 118 (The Archetypal World), oil on canvas, 50×70 cm, 2018, belonging to the series of the new awarded art concept/movement, the Archetypal Expressionism.

The art collectors interested by this artwork may contact the art dealer Saatchi Art:


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Meritul Bucovinei

In November 2018, I was awarded Meritul Bucovinei  for my whole activity as a visual artist, writer and journalist, the most important award offered by Suceava County.

Other former recipients of this award are the well known writers Norman Manea, Matei Visniec and Constantin Hrehor and the visual artists Dumitru Rusu and Gabrel Baban.
The president of Suceava County is Gheorghe Flutur (photo below), who offered this prestigious distinction to some important personalities from Bucovina.
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