Debate: Archetypal Expressionism Group vs MoMA
Forever Now: Archetypal Expressionism
There is a lot of evidence in the print media (from Monitorul de Suceava, Romania, in November 2001 to World Literature Today, USA, in November 2014) as well as on the Internet that, since the beginning of this century, I was probably a kind of Don Quijote in art theory, asserting on every occasion that besides the two major paradigms recognized by all art historians, namely the figurative and the abstract, there is another major, third paradigm, the archetypal art, which is the oldest, sitting between the figurative and the abstract.
In 2000-2001, I launched in some Romanian newspapers my new art concept/movement, the archetypal expressionism; I also published my statement/manifesto and some journalists and art critics started talking about it at my first solo shows, “Text and Time”, Bucovina Museum, Suceava, in September 2004 and “The Metaphors of Time”, NahVision Gallery, Stuttgart, November-December 2004, both of them promoted on the cultural section of the TV channel EuroNews (the well-known journalist, Wolfgang Spindler, was the first to announce me the amazing decision of the EuroNews staff).
In 2007 I became the founder of the first Archetypal Expressionism Group, with 32 artists from 19 countries. In the near future a young Swiss art dealer will launch an art gallery with 10 of the best international artists who shared my art concept.
For many years I thought that my focus on the archetypal art, which in the twentieth century was represented by such major visual artists like Constantin Brancusi, Paul Klee or Ion Tuculescu, will be considered a marginal experience. But last month I was very surprised to find out about the new project at the MoMA in New York City, FOREVER NOW, curated by Laura Hoptman:
Her project statement about the works of the seventeen invited artists comes very close to my archetypal expressionism manifesto/statement, written thirteen years ago and featured across numerous media outlets: “…whose work is atemporal, in a similar way: it is based on archetypal, symbolic forms that are by definition undatable, existing outside any specific time period .“
This is indeed the essence of my art concept too, written in different words. I was both happy and unhappy to read such statements, so connected to my vision of art. Happy because of the indirect recognition of my achievements by a well-known and prestigious global art institution, but very unhappy to notice there is no reference to my work. Why? Probably because I live in a marginal country, but which has a great culture, in my opinion. Furthermore, I am not an American citizen or resident and my art is not represented by a major American art dealer, like all the invited artists. Now I am much more unhappy, because I sent a message to Laura Hoptman on Facebook and Twitter and unfortunately I did not receive an answer. Now I’m sure that MoMA’s art curator read my texts about the archetypal art, the third paradigm, and archetypal expressionism. She and other American or worldwide art lovers could admire in the November 2014 issue of the famous American literary magazine “World Literature Today” one of my artworks belonging to the Archetypal Expressionism Series, namely “Text and Time 81” and could read the following short bio: “Constantin Severin (constantinseverin.ro) is a Romanian writer and, as visual artist, the founder and promoter of the award-winning concept known as archetypal expressionism. He is the author of eight books of poetry, essays, and novels, and his poems have been published by major Romanian and international literary magazines. He is one of the editors of the French cultural magazine Levure littéraire.”
I invite the art specialists and art lovers to compare Laura Hoptmans’s texts for the project “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World”
“(…) Atemporality, or timelessness, manifests itself in painting as an ahistorical free-for-all, where contemporaneity as an indicator of new form is nowhere to be found, and all eras co-exist. This profligate mixing of past styles and genres can be identified as a kind of hallmark for our moment in painting, with artists achieving it by reanimating historical styles or recreating a contemporary version of them, sampling motifs from across the timeline of 20th-century art in a single painting or across an oeuvre, or radically paring their language down to the most archetypal forms’’
with some of the texts written in the past by international art experts about my art, from which I quote more extensive passages below:
“Elements of expressionism and classical realism combine in the works of Constantin Severin. His rich-colored geometric compositions are combined with perfectly recognizable genre scenes that quote masters of realistic painting – Jan Vermeer, Diego Velazquez and others. On the one hand, the artist sets the idea of artistic evolution in his works. On the other hand, he demonstrates that Realism is just one of the many ways to accept and display the world.” (Olga BORTE, art critic and journalist, Moscow)
“We are proud to have included in the Lavacow Christmas Auction a work by Constantin Severin, whom we appreciate for the delicate mixture between different artistic styles, creating a harmonious all that succeeds to communicate, through a single artwork, the essence of the history of art.”(Cristina OLTEANU, CEO at LAVACOW Auction House, Bucharest)
“Symbols, lines, surfaces, spaces. All the humanity is made of mysterious symbols. And Constantin Severin uses them to write a new language of art. A language made of concepts, feelings, colours and emotions. Constantin travels in the past, in the ancient times and dimensions, to return in our present and tell about the possible futures. About the next lines of expression, to describe the present, drawing the future with past symbols. His own symbols.”(Luca CURCI, visual artist and architect, founder of “It’s Liquid” art magazine, Bari)
“We are looking forward to having Constantin Severin (the founder and promoter of the archetypal expressionism) and his group exhibiting at the Rotterdam International Art Fair. The works of Constantin is of a very interesting concept for our show. We are always looking for fresh new concepts and like to introduce these to our audience. We think that the archetypal expressionism – which lies between the two major paradigms of contemporary art, the figurative and the abstract – will do very well at the Art Fair, and we are looking forward to seeing the works in real-life.” (Joelle DINNAGE, Director at Global Art Agency Ltd)
“In literary and visual expression, but perhaps most notably in his clear-sighted theory of our present condition, Constantin Severin is breaking new ground. The concept of “Post-Literature” (which he has articulated in an article accessible at http://www.inst.at/trans/14Nr/severin14.htm) reveals him as one of the most original of contemporary thinkers concerning the nature of creative activity and the self-transformation that it is currently undergoing. One would be missing something important not to know of what Severin (situated of all places in Suceava, Romania) is up to. Take a look at the article, then search the web for his reductively symbolic paintings, which are on the verge of forging a new post-modern vocabulary from modernist precedent and nativist tradition. As western Europe declines, esthetically, morally, politically, something apparently is happening in Eastern Europe, and Severin is a part of it.” (Madison MORRISON, American writer)
I’m still waiting for some explanations from Mrs. Laura Hoptman, the distinguished curator of the recent event at MoMA and I hope that all these aspects are miraculous coincidences, a kind of synchronic twin visions …
Constantin SEVERIN, Suceava, Romania
Some media samples about other strange behaviours of the actual MoMA’s staff, directed by Glenn Lowry: