Brâncuși: The Unknown Portrait

26/10 - 04/11/2016 @ 12 Star Gallery, Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3EU

140 years after his birth, we shed new light on the modernist giant through a thought-provoking exhibition of drawings by artist Raluca Popa, curated by Simona Nastac, and complemented by a talk in the company of art historian Doina Lemny, the author of the seminal 'Brancusi – an Artist without Frontiers'.

Using a wide range of sources, including two of the most relevant monographs ever written on Brâncuși – Sanda Miller’s 'Brancusi' (Reaktion Books, 2010) and Doina Lemny’s 'Brancusi – an Artist without Frontiers' (in French - Fage, 2012; Romanian - Noi Media Print, 2012 and 2016; English - Noi Media Print, 2016), Raluca Popa recreates, through drawing, a fresh and vivid portrait of the great Romanian sculptor. By filtering, subverting, erasing and overlaying his memories and traces, equally long-familiar and less known, she captures Brâncuși's presence as it echoes through his correspondence, notes, photographs and footage of his studio. 


Constantin Brâncuși (1876-1957) was one of the pioneering figures of modern sculpture and one of the most original artists of the twentieth-century. His serenely simplified sculptures 'Bird in Space', 'M-lle Pogany' or 'Sleeping Muse' are unanimously recognised as icons of Modernism and looking at his art now, it is almost impossible not to see him as a precursor to Surrealism, and to more recent work as diverse as that of Hepworth and Moore, Anish Kapoor and Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Louise Bourgeois. He was a remarkably protean figure, also a close friend to leading avant-garde artists such as Amedeo Modigliani, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Erik Satie, yet he remains one of the most elusive, with an aura of otherness still intriguing today.


Doina Lemny is a PhD art historian and a curator at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou. She published Brâncuși’s archives in 'L’Atelier Brancusi, La Collection' (Paris 1997), in 'La Dation Brancusi: dessins et archives' (Paris, 2003), and Romanian correspondence and studio notes in 'Brâncuși inedit' (Bucharest, Humanitas, 2004). She co-curated seven thematic exhibitions at Brancusi Studio Gallery from 1998 to 2002. She curated also exhibitions: 'Antoine Pevsner dans les collections du Centre Pompidou' (2001), 'La Dation Brancusi' (2003), 'Henri Gaudier-Brzeska dans les collections du Centre Pompidou' (2009), and edited the catalogues. She is the author of: 'Brancusi', Paris, Oxus, 2005, 'Brancusi & Gaudier-Brzeska: points de convergence' and 'Henri Gaudier-Brzeska: Notes sur Liabeuf et Tolstoï', Paris, L’Échoppe, 2009, 'Lizica Codréano, une danseuse roumaine dans l’avant-garde parisienne', Lyon, Fage, 2011, 'Brancusi, au-delà de toutes les frontières', Lyon, Fage, 2012, 'Brancusi', col. 'Monographies', Paris, Editions du Centre Pompidou, 2012, 'Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, un sculpteur «mort pour la France »', Lyon, Fage, 2015.

Raluca Popa (b. 1979) studied at Byam Shaw School of Art / Central Saint Martins (London) and The University of Art and Design (Cluj). She lives and works in Bucharest. Her works have been presented in public and private institutions: Lateral ArtSpace / Fabrica de Pensule, Cluj; Guangdong Times Museum; Shed im Eisenwerk, Frauenfeld; Printmaking Gallery / The University of the Arts, Philadelphia; Rumänska Kulturinstitutet, Stockholm; Ivan Gallery, Bucharest; MAK - Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna; Bucharest; Galeria Plan B, Cluj; MNAC - National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest; Salonul de Proiecte, Bucharest; Leopold Museum, Vienna; Contemporary Art Gallery of the Brukenthal National Museum, Sibiu.

Simona Nastac is a London-based curator and critic. She studied Art History and Theory in Bucharest and holds an MA in Creative Curating from Goldsmiths College, London. She has curated group exhibitions and live events in London, Seoul, New York, Saint Petersbug, Prague, Cluj and Bucharest, that featured renowned artists Hito Steyerl, Guy Ben-Ner, Meekyoung Shin, Jaap Blonk, Dan Perjovschi, Victor Man, Mona Vatamanu and Florin Tudor amongst others. From 2006 to 2013 she was Head of Arts at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, where she managed art, architecture and design exhibitions, artistic residencies and literary programmes. Her most recent exhibition “NeXus: Open Fusions” at the Museum of Art in Craiova, Romania, featured Brancusi's first version of “The Kiss” (1907) from the museum's collection, alongside works and performances by Paul Neagu, Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg, Nigel Rolfe, Marianne Eigenheer, Neville Gabie, Vlad Nancă and Nona Inescu, seeking to explore the essentialization of form, different intensities and temporalities of matter, notions of processuality and corporeality,  the metamorphosis of matter into action and action into matter and text. 


Where: 12 Star Gallery, Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3EU
When: Tuesday, 25 October 2016, 6:30 - 8:30pm. The exhibition can be visited until 4 November, Monday to Friday between 10am-6pm.

Free entry. Please confirm your attendance on Eventbrite.