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A master : tudor banus
In the highly disquiet, chaotic and misleading scenery of contemporary visual arts, where even experts have ever more difficulties in discerning genuine art from imposture, where most artists live whole decades out of a unique shift in the infinite play of the image, Tudor Banus seems to preserve an uncommon serenity. His art seems an ice block left unmelted in a boiling pot. Based upon ingenium, i.e. upon a force of unlimited poetic imagination, as well as upon an almost lost technique today, his art is atemporal and, consequently, imperishable. Thinking at his oeuvre, the fact that I can find consonances with certain artists belonging to remotest epochs and places, from Michelangelo and Parmigianino to Piranesi and Bernini, from Gustave Moreau’s splendour to Chirico’s and Magritte’s enigma, is not a mere accident. Each overwhelming drawing signed by Tudor Banus seems to tell there is an Art with A, which will never become outdated.
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History of arts acquires a pulsatile shape in time, just like the crossing and breaking-up waves, making up successive knots and venters: knots concentrate the clear, perfectly focussed shapes, that is the great and self-confident art, while venters stand for the search-and-anomy epochs, when buds of all doubt do sprout. Maybe Tudor Banus’ whole work is a knot placed, paradoxically and tragically, in the middle of the vastest ever encountered venter of world’s art.
I have often heard people say Tudor Banus seemed to have mistaken his century. That had he lived in the great period of European mannerism, which succeeded to show the problematic and labyrinthine individual at man’s best extent, he had undoubtedly been a great laurelled master, surrounded by disciples and apprentices, and had painted allegorical ceilings enciphering – for the refined aristocracy – some secret order of the world. His drawings, of maniacal minuteness, yet visible force, would have been admired as genuine miracles.
I don’t doubt all the above either. But I pretend it’s precisely his presence in a hurry, materialistic and oblivious world – unable to keep in mind or admire any of the hundreds of thousands of “copies without an original”, the way Baudrillard used to say, filling the museums of modern art – the unexpected, undreamed of and undeserved gift we are made, and which we ought to be grateful. It’s here, in post-modernity, Tudor Banus’ actual place.
I don’t pretend art was more authentic in the past epochs. I have not this king of nostalgias, though I don’t think a car can ever be – the way somebody has stated – “more beautiful than Victoria of Samothrace”. I literally trust the significant art able to tell something about man, the art which can still access the reservoir of experiences, of wisdom and archetypes’ eternal shapes. Tudor Banus’ drawings are the more meaningful today, among installations, ambiental art, happening, scat, body art and all the other transient “figures”, the more the latter’s formalism is dissimilar. Yet their spirit renders the same anxiety vs the grotesque spectacle of the world.
I have often mentioned above the phrase “it seems”, as it captures a paradox Tudor Banus’ art reflects more than any other one: being sub specie eternitatis, it never ceases to belong to our time.
His illustrations, whose details include, in turn, amalgamated details from other details, defying regard and requiring a magnifying glass for light thickening, show people caught in clock carcasses, human-face caravels, women who, just like Alice, grow until they fill up whole houses or even brim over, cosmic trees whose sun-fruit springs directly on the trunk. Their method is generated like a guided dream split in endless synapses and subdivisions. It’s impossible to sum up the paradisiac-infernal visions overwhelming you like a super-crowded world, reminding concomitantly Bosch, Escher, Dalí, but never detaching from the lesson of Michelangelo, the most ingenious artist among modern drawers. Wise animals, foetuses grown up alchemically in athanors, decayed and ruined figures, run-wild walls bearing lichen-eaten medallions and inscriptions, quotations from the whole imaginary treasure mankind has preserved since memory, history and writing existed – all of them embody Tudor Banus’ Borgesian world, it’s an Aleph in which Universe reverberates.
As it happened to make friends with Tudor in our youth and have often exchanged passionately artistic ideas for the time being, it was inevitable to get on a common book of which I am particularly proud. Dragons’ Encyclopaedia, written between the two volumes of my novel Orbitor / Blinding, was meant “to fresh” my brains with several tales enjoying the consistency, gratuitousness and, I hope, the rainbow glittering of soap balloons. The text has become a cult book for children and the refined readers approaching it only after it had been “attired” in the exquisite drawings of my friend, who could find the perfect artistic equivalent of my prose writings. His brush has imprinted shape to my dragons; his baroque, exact, cruel and comic, burning and frozen reveries have peopled my under- and aboveground worlds with a flora, a fauna and numberless other accessories. For were it any trope able to capture what Hocke used to call Homo Europaeus, this would be the oxymoron. Tudor Banus’ art is oxymoronic par excellence, and therefore my dragons have thus become.
Human in a post-human epoch, Tudor Banus’ drawings remind us that, even if we turned into cyborgs or shifted entirely into the virtual, we do preserve our soul without which we cannot acquire anything by conquering the world. His oeuvres testify that the masters are still among us, that they still work and, moreover, that the transitory sphere on which we live still goes round.
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05-10-2015: A Master : Tudor Banus
In the highly disquiet, chaotic and misleading scenery of contemporary visual arts, where even experts have ever more difficulties in discerning genuine art from imposture, where most artists live whole decades out of a unique shift in the infinite p ... [ continuare ]
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