CRITICAL REVIEW


        George Apostu is the most representative sculptor of those sculptors who at the beginning of the seventh decade of the last century were already searching in popular creation - especially, wood and stone sculpture or ethnography pieces - for stylistic innovations, the road towards means of expression released of the stereotypes and conventions imposed by the academic realism, a narrow form of realism. He used in his art archaic motifs and forms taken from the material folk culture heritage, which bear both charm and mystery, inexhaustible in their ability to preserve their modernity, assimilating the spiritual experiences of each new generation to the framework of archetypal representations.
        Even when they were transferring elements from the rural universe in order to obtain the oversize effect, his sculptures were somehow characterised by inconsistency, evidencing, even only at a conceptual level, the meaning of discovering and revaluating archaic traditions. The artist has rapidly surpassed this stage, the appeal to the origins of folk art being obviously realised from an original point of view. This was an effect of his visual culture and of his temper which has the necessary force to individualise forms that seem to be ordinary, to subdue the imaginative material of the artwork to a personal stylistic system. Towards the end of his life, his works strive for the religious elements of the popular culture more and more, whereas for morphologies (structures) less. Due to this creative manner in which he is appealing to the artistic heritage values, Apostu proved he managed to internalised the nature/essence of Brancusi creation. One of his most important cycles of sculptures, The Father and His Sons, embodies an adaptation of "Tree of Life" motif, the dialogue between the human element and the vegetable one enabling the update of the myth of cosmic regeneration. Other cycles - The Laplander, Butterflies - expand formal suggestions of the artefacts of rural origins. Their structures naturally assimilate data from the living nature, the logic of the form spiral growth, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic symmetries. In the last years of his life he continued to explore and study the form related to the opaqueness and density of wood or stone, but in a special manner which makes the inner drama of the human being become sensitive when it feels divinity (Jesus crucified cycle). The sculptor surpasses the obvious paganism of his early works - in a dialogue with a Neolithic ecumenical background (referred to by Mircea Eliade and which inspired Brancusi also) - placing the theme of the son into the area of Christian symbols and significances. The social erosion and the drama of the biological decline exert influence on the formal level of his sculptures - until then very dynamic. As a consequence, his sculpture is characterised by expressionist accents.
 
Constantin Prut
 


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    BIOGRAPHY

    (Stănișești, Bacău, 1934 - Paris, 1986)

    Higher Education:
    1953 - 1959 - Institute of Fine Arts "Nicolae Grigorescu", with Ion Lucian Murnu and Constantin Baraschi, Bucharest.

    Member of Romanian Fine Arts Union
     


    PROJECTS

    Solo Exhibitions:

    1964 - Journalists’ Home Garden, Bucharest;
    1966 - Romanian Fine Arts Union’s Art Gallery, Cluj-Napoca;
    1967, 1973 - "Raymonde Cazenave" Gallery, Paris, France;
    1968 - Charlottenburg Castle, Copenhagen, Denmark;
    1969 - Vrö, Denmark;
    1970 - Fine Arts Palace, Brussels, Belgium;
             - "Vysokie Myasto Gallery", Prague, Czech Republic;
             - "Apollo" Gallery, Bucharest;
    1971 - "Taidehalli" Gallery, Helsinki, Finland;
             - "Apollo" Gallery, Bucharest;
    1973 - "Raymonde Cazenave" Gallery, Paris, France;
    1974 - "Apollo" Gallery, Bucharest;
    1976 - Museum of Visual Arts, Galați;
    1978 - "Sipca" Gallery, Sofia;
    1979 - Museum of Art, Bacău ;
    1982 - Pagani Foundation, Milano, Italy;
    1985 - "Anne et J.C. Lahumière" Gallery, L‛espace ACNAV, Paris, France;
    1986 - "Le Portail à roulletes" Gallery, Paris, France;
    1988 - Carcassone, France (posthumous retrospective);
    2000 - MIAMB, Bucharest;
    2001 - ¾ Floor Gallery, Bucharest’s National Theatre.

    Group Exhibitions:
    1957 - The Young’s World Wide Festival, Moscow, Russia;
    1962 - Dalles Hall, Bucharest;
    1963 - The Young Artists’ Exhibition, Paris, France; Galați;
    1965, 1970 - La Jeune Sculpture Biennale, Paris, France;
    1966 - Fine Artists’ Exhibition, London, U.K.;
             - National Exhibition, Bucharest;
    1967 - Internation Outdoor Exhibition, Middelheim Anvers, Belgium;
             - Exhibition organised for Brancusi Symposium, București;
    1968 - Pagani Foundation, Legnano-Castellanza, Italy;
             - The International Exhibition of Outdoor Sculpture, Legnano, Italy;
    1969 - International Biennale of Sao Paulo, Brazil;
             - Art Galleries Hall, Bucharest;
             - Eight Romanian Artists, Haga, Holland;
    1970, 1976, 1980 - Venice Biennale, Italy;
    1970 - Unique Bronzes, Madrid, Barcelona, Spain;
    1971 - Small Sculpture Biennale, Mücsarnok, Budapest, Hungary;
             - La Jeune Sculpture, Paris, France;
    1972 - Wood and Technology, Dalles Hall, Bucharest;
             - 20th Century Romanian Fine Arts Exhibition, Warsaw, Poland;
             - Pulchri Studio Gallery, Haga, Holland;
             - Romanian Decorative Art Exhibition, Budapest, Hungary;
             - International Aesthetics Congress,  Bucharest;
             - Painting and Sculpture Biennale, Athenaeum Hall and Dalles Hall, Bucharest;
    1973 - Decorative Arts Exhibition, Belgrad, Serbia;
    1974 - Erfurt Quadrennial, Germany;
             - Romanian Decorative Arts Exhibition, Moscow, Russia;
             - Romanian Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Ernst Museum, Budapest, Hungary;
             - Archaeology Museum, Warsaw, Poland;
             - The New Gallery, Bucharest;
             - the 9th  P.C.R. Congress, Craiova;
    1975 - Plastik und Blumen, Berlin, Germany;
             - Small Sculptural Forms Romanian Exhibition, Warsaw, Poland;
             - Galliéra Museum, Hommage de la sculpture roumaine contemporaine à Brancusi, Paris, France;
             - Venice Biennale, Italy;
    1976 - Socialism’s Highways Exhibition, Bucharest;
             - Art and Nature, The New Gallery, Bucharest;
    1977 - Small Sculpture Biennale, Padua, Italy;
             - Peasantry - the strong social and revolutionary force, "Simeza" Gallery, Bucharest;
             - 20th Century Romanian Sculpture, "Tretiakov" Gallery, Moscow, Russia;
    1979 - Painting and Sculpture Triennial, New Delhi, India;
             - The International Outdoor Sculpture Biennale, Skironio Museum, Athens, Greece;
             - Sculpture and Decorative Art Group Exhibition, Plovdiv, Bulgaria;
             - the 35th Anniversary of Liberation, Bucharest;
    1979, 1981, 1985 - Sculpture Biennale, Skironio Museum, Athens, Greece;
    1980 - 2050 years since the birth of Dacian State, Bucharest;
             - Contemporary Romanian Sculpture Exhibition, Moscow; Prague; Bratislava; Rostock;
    1981 - International Biennale, Skironio Museum, Athens, Greece;
             - Contemporary Romanian Art Exhibition, Montréal, Canada;
    1982 - Decorative Art in Socialist Countries Quadrennial, Erfurt, Germany;
    1983, 1984, 1985 - Salon des grands et jeunes artistes d’aujourd’hui, Salon de Mai, Paris, France;
    1983, 1985 - Salon de Mai, Paris, France;
    1985 - Femina, organized by UNESCO in Alice Penalba’s memory, Paris, France;
             - Les Mille et Une Nuits, The Cultural Centre, Boulogne, France;
             - Les Têtes de l’Art, Gérard Laubie Gallery, Paris, France;
             - Salon d’Art Sacré, Paris, France;
             - Cent sculpteurs face au public, The Cultural Centre of Boulogne, St. Cloud;
    1986 - Salon de Mai; Salon d‛Art Sacré; Salon réalités nouvelles, Paris;
             - Association pour le développement des arts à Colliure, Château royal de Collioure, France.

    Sculpture Symposiums:
    1967 - Grenoble, France;
    1970,1975 - Măgura, Buzău;
    1973 - Siklos, Hungary;
    1974 - Lindabrunn, Austria;
    1976 - Austria;
             - Krapina, Yugoslavia;
    1978 - Suwako, Japan;
    1979 - Galați;
             - Zarand, Arad;
    1981 - Brăila;
    1985 - Aix-en-Provence, France.

    Monumental Sculptures:


    1967 - Father and son, Mistral Park, Grenoble, France;
    1970 - Măgura, Buzău;
    1972 - Costinești, Constanța;
             - Voroneț, Suceava;
             - Balta Albă, Bucharest;
    1973 - Siklos, Hungary;
    1974 - Father and Sons; Lapone, Lindabrunn, Austria;
    1975 - Măgura, Buzău;
    1978 - Sun’s Mirror, Suwako, Japan;
    1979 - Suwako, Japan;
             - Sun’s fruit; Butterflies (broken), Costinești;
    1981 - Fire Birds, Brăila;
    1985 - Water Lines, Aix-en-Province;
             - Crosses; Father and sons, Limousin, France;
    2007 - Stone sculptures ensemble, Kiselef Park, Bucharest.
     
    Awards and Prizes:
    1964, 1971 - Romanian Fine Arts Union’s Prize for Sculpture;
    1966 - Romanian Academy "Ion Andreescu" Prize.
     


    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Jianou, Ionel, Gabrielle, Ionescu. Témoignages sur Apostu, Paris, 1987.

    Barbosa, Octavian, Dicționarul artiștilor români contemporani. Editura Meridiane, București, 1976.
    Fundația Culturală META, Un secol de sculptură românească. Dicționar A-D. Colecția SINTEZE, Editura META, 2001, pp. 30 - 34.
    Jianu, Les Artistes roumains en Occident. Antologie de Ionel Jianu, Gabriela Carp, Ana Maria Covrig, Lionel Stanteye, American-Romainan Academy  of Arts and Scinces, Paris, 1986.
    Vlasiu, Ioana (coord.), Dicționarul sculptorilor  din România. Secolele XIX-XX. vol. I, lit. A-G, Editura Academiei Române, București, 2011, pp. 38 - 40.