Bogdan Mihai Radu Interview by Javier Melian www.chrom-art.org co-founder for www.thepalettepages.com
Born in Sibiu, Romania, Bogdan Mihai Radu spent his childhood in Tălmaciu, a picturesque little town in rural Transylvania. He was only seven when he watched a movie that would change his destiny. In it, the main character stealed famous paintings in museums and private collections that he skillfully copied and replaced with reproductions. Fascinated by the film, little Bogdan ‘borrowed’ paintings from relatives to reproduce and then return as copies without anyone suspecting the trick for over two years!. It was the first success of the future painter who would, before long, became one of the most prominent young artists in Eastern Europe, despite the prejudices of his parents who opposed his desire to become one.
For Bogdan, creating is not just an experience, it’s breathing, it’s life itself: “I can not live without painting, because it’s just when I paint that I feel truly alive. When I stand in front a canvas I find myself”
Bogdan gradually developed his own style of painting in the limits of impressionism and expressionism. He has a great weakness for flowers: “Since I was little I liked painting flowers, buying them and giving them away. The gift of a flower is one of simplicity and extraordinary beauty. And if you give someone a painted flower, the gesture becomes memorable and charged with emotion… Flowers express the ethereal in each of us, the fragility and the strength at the same time”. Their vulnerability and femininity is counterbalanced with as much masculinity through Bogdan’s sharp brush strokes on their petals that often resemble a painting storm over a cold sky. “The sky becomes the embroidered cloth of our dreams, aspirations and hopes. It’s a space that expresses light and shadow, known and unknown, human and magical. It’s the serene and the storm within us, sometimes simultaneously”.
His first international exhibition happened almost by chance in 2009. The universe conspired in his favor as a picture of his hometown’s church, painted whilst he was still a child, was donated by the city of Tălmaciu to French city of Vitré when they became twinned. The painting was very well received by the French, and their interest on his work grew such that he was invited by the organisers to exhibit in France.
2010 was a watershed year for Bogdan as he became bedridden, paralyzed for almost a year, but doctors were unable to specify exactly what triggered his autoimmune disease. This happened at the time when his career was really taking off; he was a very active, rising artist with already over 30 solo exhibitions under his belt. On the other hand his illness also brought him a wave of sympathy. Bogdan was quickly surrounded with plenty of warmth from people. Entire campaigns were created to offer him unconditional support. All this boosted him back to a speedy recovery.
Bogdan Mihai Radu is now one of the most wanted young Romanian artists of the moment. His paintings are found in collections around the world. He owns a stunning gallery in the historic part of Bucharest, with all the grandeur of the Parisian art houses. As a qualified art therapist he also runs a very popular painting school. He has over 13,000 people following him on Facebook and he is a larger than life character as you are about to see.
How is it like being an artist in Romania?
An artist feels the same in any place; self-taught, freeborn and limitless, living inside the Universe he gave a shape himself. This is what appeals on me most. I daresay it would make no difference behaving in other parameters. I already have my lines, my own space where I can independently adapt my needs, far from daily habits.
Self-taught or art school?
I would rather go for a mixture. I myself have started to practice on painting by myself, with no specific guideline. Soon after, my consciousness focused on the importance of an art college. I
came to realize that during the extensive learning process I have lost my style, what defined my qualities as painter. Education manages to set you in, develop standards to follow on but an
artist is more creative given the total sense of freedom he is craving.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
It is quite hard to mention one single piece of work but if it has to be authentically beautiful, Adrian Ghenie᾽s work can anytime find the perfect spot in my intimacy. The interpersonal intelligence evoked by his painting fetishes relates a lot to my subconscious searchings.
How would you describe your style?
It is just madness. Flowing out, forming chaos. My recurrent theme, vegetal motifs, is a constant trial of colour domination. When you finally reach that euphoria meeting the surface of the
canvas, one can say: My duty is done here.
Where are your favourite places to view art?
I really special experience took place in Amsterdam, but I am still looking for the appropriate location designed to shelter art. This phenomena entwined with creation can be traced within everything, in any place, and it᾽s us who can build it or rather destroy.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
Andrew Salgado᾽s sense of realism regarding his subjects and the very masculinity emanated by the brush strokes that simply mend to form a full figure. What may appear violent use of tones to someone else, to me it is perfectly fine; blue hair? why not shades of pink as skin texture? We use to chat from time to time, exchanging ideas, getting in the news.
What or who inspires your art?
You are going to burst into laughter but for me a good ride is always inspiring. Being aroused and what you do about all that energy is the starter with developing creativity. Love is also an
important role during the whole play, it eases your physical appearance until you᾽re flying; I establish deep profound affairs with any of my canvases, because they are transgressions of moments
I have lived once.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
BMR Galleries are hosted inside a historic house telling stories about Bucharest᾽s notoriety between the two World Wars – le petit Paris atmosphere that is hard to forget. One dandy place, with a
large floor that houses my studio, the art gallery I am directing and last but not least, my apartment. I think it᾽s best to show you the surroundings as soon as I will have your
Do you have any studio rituals?
These habits are also dependable of the critter mentioned in a question raised above. Usually, after extasis, while the climax is still on, I put on for some coffee and go straight into the
painting room and grab the brush – it gives me best results.
What are you working on currently?
Mainly, I feel like I reached that wind of change. Something must suffer a conversion, of style or even direction. I could easily escape the landscape & still life threnody, eventually try
adding some abstraction to it.
Where can we buy your art?
I have specifically two domains where my complete work can be found: in Bucharest, at the BMG Gallery (www.galeriilebmr.ro) on Semicercului street, no. 11, and also at the Royal Palace in Sinaia,
inside the Royal Pavilion.
What are your ambitions?
I have always wanted to step up and raise the deal, take the best out, uncover my full potential. This is my persona: a guy experimenting on the loose, improving the finest, always in for the new
and the spectacular.