Victor Brauner: Inventions and Magic

Victor Brauner: Inventions and Magic

Art Encounters Foundation Timișoara

Victor Brauner, Self-portrait, 1931. Oil on wood, 22 x 16.2 cm. © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Philippe Migeat/Dist. RMN-GP. Courtesy of Adagp, Paris. 

January 23, 2023
Victor Brauner
Inventions and Magic
February 17–May 28, 2023
Public opening: February 17, 4–6pm
Catalogue launch: February 18, 2–3pm
Timișoara National Art Museum
Piata Unirii nr.1
300085 Timișoara
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Two national museums, an art foundation, and the French Institute in Romania have joined in organizing an extensive Brauner retrospective in his home country, Romania. Celebrating surrealist artist Victor Brauner’s 120th anniversary in Timișoara, awarded European Capital of Culture 2023, serves the memory of a great visual mystic who inspired the “canonical modern art.” 

Camille Morando, the appointed curator of the exhibition and head of Information and Research on Modern Collections at MNAM-CCI, Centre Pompidou, will present the “essence of Brauner’s work, a work influenced by the Romanian and French avant-gardes, as well as by archaic civilizations and the most diverse mythologies.” Brauner’s work can sometimes seem complicated, sometimes hermetic. It is one of the reasons that inspired the exhibition’s title. Everything Brauner borrows from Kabbalah, or alchemy is reinterpreted, reversed, amalgamated, and remade into a highly personal universe but with a universal vocation accessible to anyone. In other words, we have here an artist who invented his own brand of surrealism. In the Timișoara retrospective, the public will also get acquainted with his famous enucleated Self-portrait from 1931, which seven years later would transform Brauner, after the accidental loss of the very same eye in a fight between two Spanish painters in the studio of Óscar Domínguez, into a “sighted painter” of the surrealist movement. As André Breton, the founder of surrealism, would say, Brauner was the magic artist par excellence

Victor Brauner: Inventions and Magic (February 17–May 28, 2023), the most significant retrospective exhibition in Eastern Europe dedicated to the surrealist artist of Romanian origin, will be co-organized in the European capital of culture by the Centre Pompidou Paris, the National Museum of Art Timișoara, the Art Encounters Foundation, and the French Institute in Romania, with the support of the Comité Brauner, Arta Grafica, and the Fondation du Judaïsme Français and financed by the Timiș County Council, having as main partner Banca Transilvania. Camille Morando has selected nearly 100 artworks (paintings, drawings, sculptures, book illustrations, documents, and engravings) to reflect Brauner’s entire artistic activity, from the 1920s to the beginning of the 1960s. The exhibition includes and outstanding loan of more than 50 works from the Centre Pompidou’s prestigious Brauner collection, as well as works from other Romanian and French museums, and private collections.

The exhibition will benefit from a catalogue in Romanian and English, comprising scholarly work by Romanian and foreign specialists—Camille Morando, Cătălin Davidescu, Catherine Hansen, Radu Stern, Bernard Blistène, Irina Cărăbaș, Andreea Foanene, Diana Marincu, a Brauner biography and old photos selected by the curator, published thanks to the outstanding involvement of Béatrix and Christian Derveloy and the Arta Grafica printing house.

“We are glad that the National Museum of Art in Timișoara is hosting this first retrospective of Victor Brauner in his country of origin, bringing together, among other things, almost forty works from the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art and documents from the artist’s archive collection. This exhibition extends a collaboration with Timișoara initiated in 2021 with the ‘Infra-Noir’ exhibition, with the support of the Art Encounters Foundation,” says Laurent Le Bon, president of the Centre Pompidou.

Camille Morando is head of Information and Research on Modern Collections at MNAM-CCI, Centre Pompidou. Professor at École du Louvre (Paris), Mrs. Morando curated with Jeanne Brun and Sophie Krebs the monographic exhibition Victor Brauner, Je suis le rêve. Je suis l’inspiration in 2020 (Paris) and is preparing the exhibition Victor Brauner: Inventions and magic, which will debut in Timișoara, a city in western Romania, on February 17, 2023, during the opening weekend of the European Cultural Capital–Timișoara 2023. By curating this exhibition in 2023, Camille Morando continues the work of recognition of this great artist in his native country. Her in-depth expertise on this artist for 20 years is an additional promise that the first major Victor Brauner retrospective in Romania will be a success.

The National Museum of Art Timișoara 
The National Museum of Art Timișoara offers a broad perspective on the heritage of the Banat over the past two hundred years due to the confluence of the post-Byzantine Balkan tradition and the innovative language of European Baroque art brought to the region by the Catholic Reformation. The museum plays a central role in the Cultural Program Timișoara 2023–European Capital of Culture by hosting two significant exhibitions: the first retrospective dedicated to the surrealist painter Victor Brauner and the second major exhibition, devoted to Constantin Brâncuși. These exhibitions will be hosted by the museum in partnership with prestigious European museums, such as the Centre Georges Pompidou (France) and the Tate Gallery (London), but also with important national cultural institutions, such as the Art Encounters Foundation and the French Institute in Romania.

The Art Encounters Foundation 
The Art Encounters Foundation, promoter, and organizer of the Art Encounters Biennial has been operating since 2015 as a private cultural initiative aiming to facilitate and support contemporary art in Romania. Its mission is to promote dialogue, learning, research, and experimentation, providing an institutional model adapted to the needs of the local context but equally involved in a substantial contribution to the international art scene.

The French Institute in Romania 
Under the tutelage of the Ministry for European and Foreign Affairs (Ministère de l’Europe et des affaires étrangères), the French Institute in Romania (IFR) belongs to the French cultural network abroad. IFR’s mission is to promote cultural, linguistic, and university cooperation with institutions and representatives of civil society. In addition to its headquarters in Bucharest, the Institute has three branches in Cluj-Napoca, Iași, and Timișoara. Also, it fulfills the missions of the Service de Coopération et d’Action Culturelle of the French Embassy.

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January 23, 2023

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