Tuesday, 6 November 2007
LEGATURI DE SANGE - Spirit of the Muse in Romania
In my quest to understand the nature of the muse I recently found myself in Romania at an amazing art exhibition which is running until 30th November in Bucharest at the Libraria Carturesti on Str. Pictor Artur Verona nr. 13. On the right is a multimedia painting by Ilinca Cantacuzino, from the exhibition, entitled "Ghost" and is the face of her grandfather.
The exhibition is called LEGATURI DE SANGE (In the Blood) and is a joint exhibition between British born Romanian multimedia artist Ilinca Cantacuzino and her grandfather George Matei Cantacuzino. Ilinca never met her grandfather, a Romanian aristocrat who spent many years in prison. "He died when I was six years old. In a way this has enabled him to become my muse" she told me. Looking at her work in the exhibition, it is clear that his spirit not only haunts her paintings in the form of his image but also the colours, the concern with time and memory and the enormous depth of feeling which emanates from these works bond them together with more than blood. This exhibition is unique - two artists, but one is dead and neither knew each other.
Ilinca says that it is "a symbiosis - through which another phenomenon appears: the muse! It actively demonstrates the subconscious dialogue an artist always has in order to create - but here it is with another artist from another time. It proves the undeniable fact that artists operate in one sense from a deeper level which is beyond the immediate time."
Ilinca's relationship with her grandfather has helped me to understand Rossetti's relationship with Lizzie Siddal, whom he continued to paint long after she was dead. Her spirit haunted his work and his mind for the rest of his life. Rossetti was well aware that he always wanted what he could not have. This sense of longing and yearning affects the artist in a creative way, helping them to transform uncontrollable emotion into art and thereby coming closer to the love they long for. Rossetti could never truly have Jane Burden but this helped her to become the channel through which he could connect to the images of women like Proserpine and Astarte - women from another time. For as Ilinca says, this connection is timeless.
The muse produces a "crystillization" process in the artist. In the darkness of yearning, something bright and beautiful appears, almost as if by magic.
Posted by Teresa Howard at Tuesday, November 06, 2007