Romanian sculptor’s photo exhibition opened in Baku

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On the occasion of the Weeks of Francophonie (Semaines de la Francophonie) in Azerbaijan, the opening of the photography exhibition of the works of famous Romanian sculptor Constantin Brâncusi was held in Baku on April 3.

The event was organized by the Embassy of Romania in Baku, in cooperation with Institut Français Azerbaïdjan.

The exhibition will be on display for one week at the Institut Français D’azerbaïdjan (Fuzuli street 67) between April 3-9.

This is the first time that the works of Constantin Brancusi are shown in a photo exhibition in Azerbaijan.

The second of four children, Constantin Brâncuși was born in 1876, the small farming village of Hobitza (Southern Romania). He left home at the age of eleven and went to the nearby city of Craiova (Southern Romania), where he worked and paid his own way through the School of Arts and Crafts, which he graduated with honours in 1898. After high-school graduation, Brâncuși studied modelling and life sculpture at the National School of Fine Arts in Bucharest (1898-1902). In 1904, he moved from Romania to Paris, famously travelling most of the way on foot. This story became part of the legend surrounding Brâncuși as a peasant with an exotic heritage. The mythology was actively promoted by the artist himself, who took to wearing Romanian peasant clothing, even on formal occasions, and carved all of his own furniture. From 1905 to 1907, Brâncuși trained in sculpture and modelling at the École des Beaux-Arts, in the sculpture studio of Antonin Mercie. In 1907, Brâncuși began working as a studio assistant to Auguste Rodin, but left after only a month, explaining: “Nothing grows under the shadow of big trees.” Yet, his month-long tenure in Rodin’s workshop was critical in shaping Brâncuși’s aesthetic, taking Rodin’s work as a point of departure from which to develop his own drastically different artistic practice.Thus, Brâncuși worked directly with his materials, pioneering the technique of direct carving, rather than working with intermediaries such as plaster or clay models.

Explaining that “the artist should know how to dig out the being that is within matter,” Brâncuși sought to create sculptures that conveyed the true essence of his subjects, be they animals, people or objects, by concentrating on highly simplified forms, free from ornamentation. While many regarded his art as abstract, the artist disagreed; he insisted on the representational nature of his works, asserting that they disclosed a fundamental reality, often concealed to the untrained eye.

The materials which Brâncuși used – primarily marble, stone, bronze, wood and metal – guided the specific forms he produced. He paid close attention to his mediums, spending days to meticulously polish the pieces in order to achieve a gleam that suggested infinite continuity into the surrounding space – “as though they proceeded out from the mass into some perfect and complete existence.”

Brâncuși’s work made its American debut in 1913, when five of his sculptures appeared in the Armory Show in New York. This landmark exhibition brought together new and avant-garde European and American art, much of which was highly controversial. While many critics were puzzled by Brâncuși’s work, artists flocked to him, and many began collecting his work. Although Brâncuși lived in Paris for most of his life, making only a few trips to New York, he acknowledged the importance of American collectors and critics to his career, saying “Without the Americans, I could never have produced all that, nor even perhaps have existed.”

Central figure of the 20th century sculpture and a pioneer of abstract form, Constantin Brâncuși is rightly considered as the father of modern sculpture.His creations have had a profound impact on the modern concept of shape in sculpture, painting and drawing. His works stand out for the elegance of shapes and for the sensitive use of materials, combining the simplicity of Romanian folk art with the refinement of the Parisian artistic avant-garde milieu. Brâncuși created works characterized by their verticality, horizontality, weight and density of the materials, as well as by the observance of the right balance of light and space.

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