“I wanted to raise everything beyond the ground. My roosters are singing and my birds are flying! To the immensity of the skies” - this is my bird as a child, I've always dreamed and wanted to fly among trees to the skies. For 45 years I've been carrying the nostalgia of this dream and I keep creating fabulous birds. I do not wish to depict a bird, but to express its very nature, it's spirit the flight. The energy I don't think I can ever do it..." Constantin Brancusi
2016 has been declared "Brancusi Year" to celebrate 140 years since the great Romanian sculptor was born, and his birthday 19 February was declared a national holiday by the government, as "moral reparation for the refusal and humiliation" he had had to endure from the communist authorities of the Romanian state, prior to 1989. The Romanian Cultural Institute, in partnership with the Constantin Brancusi Research Documentation and Promotion Centre, and with the local authorities of Targu Jiu (Brancusi's birthplace, which also houses the architectural ensemble created by the great artist) and other institutions and organisations in the field will organize, in the country and abroad, all 2016, a series of exhibitions and events meant to celebrate the great sculptor's work Brancusi was born on 19 Feb ruary 1876 in Hobita, a little village in Gorj, in a family of well-off peasants. As a child he spent long years working as an apprentice in tanning workshops, various inns and shops.
His artistic prowess manifested itself early, stun ning the people around him by building a violin using materials found in the shop. Later, Brancusi studied at the Art and Craft School of Craiova and then graduated from the School of Fine Arts of Bucharest in 1903. This is when he received his first order, to cre ate a bust of doctor general Carol Davila. Brancusi accepted, thinking he can make the money he needed to go to Paris, where he had dreamed of studying for a long time. He was paid an advance payment, with the rest of the money to be paid upon completion of the work. The commission did not appreciate the sculpture positively, though, and Brancusi, irritated by their incapacity to understand his vision, refused to make the changes they demanded and gave up the rest of the money, leaving for Paris on foot. Later, the bust of Carol Davila, by Brancusi, was placed in the yard of the Military Hospital, and it is the only public monument in Bu- charest made by the great artist. After a difficult journey, filled with deprivations, Brancusi was admit ted to the prestigious Ecole Na- tionale Supérieure des Beaux- Arts in 1905. Upon finishing his studies, he refused to work in the workshop of his idol Auguste Rodin, because, as he later confessed "Rien ne pousse l'ombre des grands arbres" (Nothing grows in the shade of big trees).
"I polished matter to find the continuous line. And when I saw I couldn't find it, I stopped; was like someone invisible had smacked my hands" Constantin Brancusi
In 1907, Brancusi had his own workshop in the Rue de Montpar and he entered the group of elite of Paris artists, enjoying the friendship and appreciation of artists such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Fernand Leger, Amedeo Modigli ani and Marcel Duchamp. Slowly, his great talent is polished, and his unique vision of life and art crystallises in increasingly pure shapes, essential, harmonious. In 1907 he creates the first version of the Kiss, the theme he will revisit many times un- til he finds the purest form of artistic expression in The Gate of the Kiss which is currently part of the Sculptural Ensem- ble in Targu-Jiu. Between 1907 and 1914 Brancusi inaugurated the cycles Maiastra, sleeping Muse and Miss Pogany. Brancusi took part in various exhibitions in Paris and Bucharest and his fame started to grow and explode entirely with the exhibition of New York, in 1914. The first comprehensive study of Brancusi's work was published in 1921, in the magazine Little Review of New York, written by the American poet and essayist Ezra Pound. A friend of Brancusi, he declared: "I found Brancusi to be a saint, he is the first one in my list of valuable people." This period, up to 1940, was particularly prolific for Brancusi this is when he created the works in the series Bird in Space and the cycle of the Ovoid, as well as his wood sculptures, not to mention the Muse, First Cry Chimera, Beginning of the World Miss Pogany, Maiastra, Bird in Space, The Prodigal Son and others.
In the period 1937-1938, Brancusi returned to the country and built the triptych Table of Silence, Gate of the Kiss and End- less Column/Endless Gratitude Column, which make the Architec tural complex of Targu-Jiu, created as a tribute to heroes fallen in the First World War in the fights on the banks of the Jiu River Brancusi died in Paris, on 16 March 1957. In his will Brancusi left his workshop in Paris, as well as an important number of works, to the Romanian State but the Romanian government refused the inheritance. It is said that the Romanian state communist at the time, sent a commission to Paris to assess the value of the inheritance.
The delegates, simple people, with poor education, considered that "any uneducated peasant could make sculptures like those of Brancusi so Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej, the communist leader at the time, expressed the resolution: "The works of Brancusi do not help build socialism in Romania and we refuse." Thus, the workshop of the great artist came into the possession of the French state, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris still exhibits, the works originally left to the Romanian state by will. Considered one of the greatest sculptors of the 20th centu- ry, Constantin Brancusi made a remarkable contribution to the renewal of the vision, expression and language of his art, refusing to create a mechanical imitation of reality or its figurative expression, but rather seeking to express the essence of things, their intangible, eternal dimension, through the purity, simplicity, elegance and vitality of their shapes. A strong personality, fascinating everyone who met him, Brancusi was described by Peggy Guggen heim as "half peasant, half god" Brancusi considered himself "a peasant" all his life, and his work stems from the myths and magical functions of Romanian folk art, but the achievement of essence, the comprehension and revealing of the sacred, place him forever among the gods.
Source: Welcome to Bucharest Romania anual publication
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