Institutions and museums around the world mark this year 350 years since the death of Rembrandt van Rijn, organizing various events in memory of the master.
The world we see when we look at a Rembrandt painting has not been portrayed by anyone else. We do not want to recreate this world. How can we do it in a digitized world, a world of neon lights, light boxes, white nights, and explosive colors? We intent to highlight different manners in which light enriches our life today through our “senses and feelings” (R. Arnheim).
Over the years, the human eye has changed, getting to see more and more colors and lights. If in Holland of 1600-1700 the way to illuminate a room was with a candle that offered the indispensable wormth present in Rembrandt’s paintings, today we can enumerate many more ways. To highlight this diversity of contemporaneity, in the Remembering Rembrandt exhibition there are presented four different interpretations of the light.
For the artist Simona Vilău it is about the light-color. Her painting reminds of the strength of the color that the Fauvists speculated in the early 1900s. The easiness and courage with which she uses color in contrast to subjects based on sensitivity, emotion and self-knowledge led her to paint the two self-portraits, Lady Rain and Self-Portrait with cut trees, << exercises of acceptance and love for own body as for the Others’ >> as the artist declares. The artist-model relationship built between Rembrandt van Rijn and his wife, Saskia, based on a noble love that remains immortalized in portraits and nudes, is reinterpreted by Simona Vilău, which invites us to reflect on the human-nature relationship of our time.
The work “Dialogue with the Self” that I’ve painted at the beginning of this year remindsis of the philosophical “mind-body problem”, as a replica to the “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer” painting. In the post-modernity era, the human being considers abandoning the body for something better, for breaking the limits for transcendence. Together with this comes the idea of metamorphosis which I speculate in my art. Everybody can leave the mediocrity to become extraordinary. To make a visual representation to this Nietzshean belief, “I have separated my mind from the body” and I have created so two distinct entities.
But I think Rembrandt’s work is much more about two other entities: light and darkness. Some of my most pleasant memories as a student are the visits to the studio of Professor Aurel Vlad, located just behind the University of Fine Arts in Bucharest. I used to go there from time to time to enjoy an amazing show of warm and cold lights, different according to the moment of the day. For an exhibition dedicated to the light, I really wanted to bring a corner out of his studio and settle it exactly like a play, like the story his characters tell when they are placed next to each other (wooden objects over metal objects), as they can be seen in the studio of the sculptor Aurel Vlad. The main element of the scene created for Remembering Rembrandt is the work called Accident (The Anathomy Lesson). Nine years ago Mr. Aurel Vlad saw an accident that made him think of the Dutch master’s famous painting The Anathomy Lesson. Taking it in a humorously way, the romanian sculptor immortalized the moment.
Mihai Teodorescu, a sculptor of the young generation, chose to build especially for this project a sort of a street lamp with leds, which symbolizes the becoming from the light of Rembrandt’s fire and the cold one, the one of today, encountered at commercials or street lights, << which transform the street contrasts from a dramatic movie into a thriller >> as the artist mentions.