Portraits, parables, mythological, biblical or profane passages are revealed through a lapidary, concise design and through firm interventions on the surface of glass. Mihai Ţopescu adds cultural quotations to his compositions or he captures fragments of reality which he illustrates as symbolically charged scenes. Key-images are left to the viewer’s perspective to decipher them and the narrative is abolished, an artistic technique that reminds us of the movie The Tulse Luper Suitcases, directed by Peter Greenaway.
55 glass objects, under the title of Anatomy of Glass, are passed through the incandescence of the furnace as they undergo temperatures between 500°C and 800°C. Mihai Ţopescu engraves the sensitive surface with the precision and professionalism of a surgeon. Just like the doctor Nicolaes Tulp, from the painting The Anatomy Lesson - the work of the Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn - the artist explores glass, discovering and harnessing its unlimited potential.
Handling them sometimes rigorously and other times with the sensitivity of a goldsmith, Mihai Ţopescu gives eloquence to his works. The fine, quick lines, which are claimed by an Expressionist drawing, take minimalist shapes. The artist from Gorj chooses the ovoid, the symbol inherited from his predecessor, Brâncuşi. The art of fire becomes an interdisciplinary field in which sculpture, painting and graphics interrelate equally in the Anatomy of Glass and in the Captive series. Mihai Ţopescu highlights the glass’ softness and sensuality, displaying both the inner space, through the form of feminine silhouettes and the exterior one, though fine incisions. In order to diminish its ability to portray an icy expression, the artist brings into the compositional game materials such as wood or metal. The majestic and dynamic exuberance of glass is counterbalanced by static wooden monoliths, in Characters and Trees. The compressed materials, whether it is an assemblage between wood and metal or wood and glass, give birth to strong visual contrasts.
The Cocoons, Ana and Fish series are sculptural instalments that bring forth to viewer’s attention the theme of sacrifice. The female characters engraved in the wooden bodies remind us of the medieval legend of the Master Manole. The handling method of the material and the author’s choice to sequentially restore the process of building transform the pieces in real symbolically charged menhirs. In the Cocoons instalment, on the complexions cleaned of details, Mihai Ţopescu intervenes with a mass of nails, a metamorphosis of the Templar Knights. As the nails cover a larger area of the face, the sacrifice becomes greater and the more the portrait of the sacrificed completes itself. The sacrifice gains certain symbolic valences, from the sacrifice of the Holy Grail’s protectors, to the profane sacrifice of the artist for his art, the author also bringing forth the sacrifice of Christ, through the ihtis symbol from the Fish series.
The oscillation between the narrative and the discursive form, mystical and mythical, sacred and profane, ethereal and monolithic, all of these characteristics bundle up Mihai Ţopescu’s art into interrogative metaphors.
Raluca Băloiu (2014)
(Țicleni, Gorj, 1956)
1977 - 1981 - Institute of Fine Arts "Ion Andreescu", Cluj-Napoca, Romania;
1985 - Kunst Baden Akademie, Vienna, Austria.
since 1985 - Member of Romanian Fine Arts Union (Targu-Jiu Branch)
1985 - Spaces and Light, The Art Galleries of Targu-Jiu, Romania;
1986 - Glass, Art Ind. Gallery, Bucharest, Romania;
1989 - Sculpture, Galerie 1, Hamburg, Germany;
- Glass, Turn Gallery, Cottbus, Germany;
1990 - Glass, Gorj County Museum, Targu-Jiu, Romania;
2002 - V.I.P.s, Craiova Art Museum, Romania;
- Sculpture, Romart Gallery, Holland;
- Sculpture, Sudhaina D’Chimay Cultural Center, Belgium;
2006 - Sculpture, Art Museum, Craiova, Romania;
2007 - Sculpture in glass, Hamm, Germany;
- Sculpture in glass, Bochum, Germany;
2010 - Anatomy of Glass, Craiova Art Museum, Romania;
- Sculpture, Cotos Space, Saint-Tropez, France;
- Oeuvres de Mihai Topescu et Georges Cotos, Cotos Space, Saint-Tropez, France;
- Rétrospective Exhibition (glass), Cotroceni National Museum, Bucharest, Romania;
2012 - Notes from the Earth, Palace of Parliament, Bucharest, Romania;
- Sculpture, Gallery "Mary-Ann", Mâcon, France;
- Shakespearean Characters in Glass, Craiova, Romania;
2013 - Skulptur, The Hexagone Gallery, Aachen, Germany;
- Sacrifice, Small Gallery, Romanian Cultural Center, Venice, Italy;
- Sculpture, Demeure Sellier Museum, Cogolin, France;
- Sacrifice, The "Brancovian Palace" Cultural Center, Mogosoaia, Romania;
2014 - "Christiane Peugeot" Cultural Center, Paris, France.
1981 - 2012 - Art Salon, Targu-Jiu, Romania;
1982 - The National Graphic Exhibition, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania;
1982, 1986 - Design Quadriennale, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania;
1983 - 1984 - Decorative Arts Quadriennale, "Dalles" Hall, Bucharest, Romania;
1986 - Decorative Arts Triennale, Arts Galleries, Targu-Jiu, Romania;
1987 - Young Glass ’87, international competition, Glassmuseum, Ebeltoft, Denmark;
1988 - Decorative Glass Exhibition, The National Art Museum, Bucharest, Romania;
- Mezinarodni Skalarske Symposium, Novy-Bor, Czech Republic;
- International Exhibition of Glass Craft, Kanazawa, Japan;
1988, 1993, 2011 - Spaces & Light, "Orizont" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania;
1990 - Glasnosts from Eastern Europe, "Transparence" Gallery, Bruxelles, Belgium;
1991 - International Glass Contest, Kanazawa, Japan;
1994 - International Glaskunst, Kunsthaus am Museum Carola Von Ham, Köln, Germany;
1998, 2001, 2007, 2009, 2011- Small Sculpture National Biennial, Arad, Romania;
1998, 2001, 2010 - International Exhibition of Glass Craft, Kanazawa, Japan;
2000, 2002, 2003 - Romanian Glass Artists, "Orizont" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania;
2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 - Glasrijk, Tubbergen, Holland;
2003 - 2006 - "Constantin Brancusi" National Sculpture Salon, Targu-Jiu, Romania;
2004 - "Arts of Fire" Biennial, "Apollo" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania;
2005 - Glass Art, "Simeza" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania;
2006 - Coburg Glass Prize for Contemporary Glass in Europe, Coburg, Germany;
2007, 2008, 2011 - Decorative Arts National Salon, Cotroceni National Museum, Bucharest, Romania;
2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 - Arad Art Biennial, Romania;
2008 - Glasstec, Düsseldorf, Germany;
2009, 2010, 2011 - Art Salon, Șuțu Palace, Bucharest, Romania;
2010 - The International Exhibition of Glass, Kanazawa, Japan;
- 9 pour La Roumanie Magique, "Arthis" Gallery, Belgium;
2011 - Art Collection, European Parliament in Bruxelles, Belgium;
- Glass Art National Salon, "Simeza" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania;
2011, 2012, 2014 - Le Salon International d’Art de Saint-Tropez, France;
2012 - DECORATIVE ART 2012, Decorative Arts Biennial, first edition;
- La Sculpture en Liberté, 20th edition, Roquebrune-sur-Argens, France;
2013 - Le Point K, Saint-Raphael, France;
- Das Metadekorativum, Düsseldorf, Germany;
2014 - The Sacred in Art, Targu-Jiu Art Galleries, Romania;
- "The Coburg Prize" for Contemporary Glass Art, Coburg, Germany;
- Reasons Salon, Palace of the Parliament, Romania;
- Opera Prima, Palazzo Oddo, Albenga, Italy;
- Romanian Glass Artists, ICOM Glass, History - Archeology Department, Museum of Oltenia, Craiova, România.
2010 - Anatomy of Glass, producer: Mihai Topescu Glass Studios;
2013 - Sacrifice, producer: Mihai Topescu Glass Studios.
1985 - International Glass Symposium, 2nd edition, Novy-Bor, Czech Republic;
1988 - International Glass Symposium, 3rd edition, Novy-Bor, Czech Republic;
1990 - Plein-Air International Symposium, Libenau - Cottbus, Germany;
- International Stained Glass Symposium, Vilnius, Lithuania.
Artworks in public collections:
The Henritch Glass Museum in Düsseldorf, Germany;
Art Collection, European Parliament in Bruxelles, Belgium;
The National Museum of Glass and Ceramics, Bucharest, Romania;
The Art Museum, Targu-Jiu, Romania;
Museumskla a buzuterie, Iablonecand Nison, Czech Republic;
Slarske Museum, Novy-Bor, Czech Republic;
The Glass Museum, Prague, Czech Republic;
Schloss Branitz, Cottbus, Germany;
The Glass Museum, Ebelfort, Denmark;
The Art Museum, Craiova, Romania;
The Glass Museum, Coburg, Germany;
Palazzo Oddo, Albenga, Italia.
Artworks in numerous private collections.
Prizes and Awards:
1988 - 1st Prize for Glass Design, awarded by The Romanian Ministry of Industry;
1992 - Silver Medal, the American Interfaith Institute Prize, Philadelphia, USA;
1993 - 1st prize, National Prize for Glass Design, Bucharest, Romania;
2001 - "Constantin Lecca" Award, offered by "Mozaic" review, Romania;
2003, 2004 - The Arts of Fire Award, awarded by Romanian Fine Arts Union;
2006 - "Constantin Brancusi" National Sculpture Award, Targu-Jiu, Romania;
- The Coburg Prize for Contemporary Glass, Coburg, Germany;
2009 - "Mihai Eminescu" Academy International Award for Fine Arts.
The Artist Archive