Harry Guttman & Sami Briss: Tender Aerials

Harry Guttman & Sami Briss: Tender Aerials

MoBU International Art Fair of Bucharest

Sami Briss, Couple (detail). Mixed media, 36 x 43 cm. Courtesy of MoBU. Photo: Daniel Kozak.

May 26, 2023
Harry Guttman & Sami Briss
Tender Aerials
At the intimate distance of an embrace of the view
May 19–28, 2023
MoBU 2023, first edition: May 19–28
Romaero Baneasa
Bulevardul Ficusului 44
013975 Bucharest
Facebook / Instagram

The recovered space of an old BAC 1-11 airplane becomes the small salon that hosts intimately two Romanian artists of Jewish origin reclaimed by international art. Following a similar destiny to that of Daniel Spoerri, the headliner of MoBU, Harry Guttman (Bucharest, 1933–1915) and Sami Briss (b. 1929, Iași) were born in pre-communist Romania, to then transform into exponents of international art. The identity fiber deserves to be studied in a broader line, that of an entire generation of Jewish artists of Romanian origin with similar winding paths. From Constantin Daniel Rosenthal to Marcel Iancu, Nicolae Vermont, Arthur Segal, Iser, Max Herman Maxy, Marcel Victor Brauner or Samuel Muntze, they inscribed their works in the dominant trends of the era, involved in the various Romanian and then international artistic groups and societies and emigrating during the period of the communist regime, one of ideological and artistic confusion. Even the biographical path finds common echoes, sometimes even intersections and mutual influences in the same space and time, as is the case with Guttman, Iancu or Brauner. This entire line of artists has similarly marked paths: studies at a fine arts school in the country or abroad, exhibition debut, travels around the world, longer, shorter or definitive stays abroad, and all this time, participation in salons, group and personal exhibitions. They joined the short interval of the avant-garde of national Soviet modernism, then, disillusioned, left their place of origin, but kept the identity searches in a diasporic Judaism: character figures, small houses, synagogues, religious family scenes, ornaments and traditional motifs, and above all, a melancholy that transpires from the lyricism of memory (obvious in Briss and more veiled in Guttman), like old legends awakened in urban and cosmopolitan environments. These are searches through various languages of form, but above all through the containment of a symbolic spirituality: the motif of the fish or the bird, the couple, the dance, the blue or the gold. A stylistic permeability towards surrealism, expressionism, cubism is obvious in the two of them as well as in the entire line of Jewish artists mentioned above.

The exhibition groups small-sized works, at the intimate distance of an embrace of the view, which allows it to follow the frenzy of the line, the energy of colour, their fusional dance, but above all, the surrealistic dream of an idea beyond time, at the skewed borders between here and there, home and the world, inside and outside. Perhaps the longing after a fluid home, perhaps the feeling of the intangible in front of an irremediably hidden divinity generates on the one hand diffuse melancholy, on the other questioning the essence of reality. The small works invite to lean the gaze with equal reverence over the dream and over the flesh, over the sensitivity of the concrete and the mystical. The angularity dances with the tamed roundness, the light with the shadow, duality embraces primal affection and sensitive vitality, always in the sinuous search for the “other” to complete the self, the sensual appeal of the gaze that knows how to brush over the curves and over the corners, a game of two or of the tribe, a common song of aspiration towards belonging, but also towards the “beyond”. Freedom, life, love, body, dance, tenderness, aspiration and nostalgia create a concentrated micro-universe of humanity that invites in the sight with fresh wonderment and tender curiosity.

The curatorial text for Tender Aerials exhibition is written by Cristina Iacob.

Tender Aerials is presented at the first edition of MoBU The International Art Fair of Bucharest. The fair includes Daniel Spoerri A Moment for Eternity exhibition, 40 stands with galleries, artist-run spaces, artist groups, 200+ artists, art augmented by Artivive with virtual reality, the group exhibition Takeoff and Ethics, love and politics—MoBU 2023 conferences and events, including Pascal Bruckner’s conference Art and Society.

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MoBU International Art Fair of Bucharest
May 26, 2023

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