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Petru Guran, Head of Jury 2011

 Periodical expositions of contemporary art have inevitably become a professional event. That’s why it is a considerable courage of the painters to choose a chair-man of jury who is out of their profession and to publish these thoughts as a Preface to the catalogue of the Biennale. I’ll try just to explain!
Specialization, that has acquired its extreme forms in our contemporary world, is offering a firm belief that the only available competence takes its origin from inside of the group of specialists. As for art, consequences have resulted in excluding a dilettante from the debates, though he being a person able to promote the art with love and competence, a key personage of the European Illuminist epoch without whom we can’t imagine appearance of the occidental art. But, besides this general isolation of the branches and domains of human mentality and feelings, the phenomenon of creative activity needs the judgement of the public, so that the art of the XXth century is accused of playing a major ideological role. It’s time to say: the artistic movement of vanguard mainly has been a fellow-traveler of the communist totalitarian regime. Such a fact, that being once established, totalitarian regime hasdestroyed the art of vanguard, introducing the ideological dictatorship, uncultured an unprofessional, isn’t anything else as a continuation of the
premises of vanguard itself. Revolution devours its children.
     There is a question, that rises from ideological engagement of vanguard in the adventure of radicalism of left-wing and from incapability to see the cruelty of totalitarian regime: is it relevant and legitimated for society this “artistic” tradition of the so-named social or political engagement, now, when there has been revealed all the totalitarian horror? Hans Belting has demonstrated us that the art is social and political phenomenon, produced by the occidental modernity, and it has systematic exceeded the limits of aesthetics that gave it birth, until it has achieved just relevance of aesthetics.
     “Image” and “beautiful” are special concepts in pre-modern societies, though
they corresponded to another aspirations of a man, the last ones being connected with the phenomenon of transcendent, allowing its representation. Before to become a cardinal in the domain of art, the notion of “beautiful” has manifested itself in mastership, the bases of which have been put by handicraft. In this way a pre-modern man has manifested his ontological melancholy.
     Today, living in the epoch of post-…(post-soviet, post-totalitarian, post-modern) and in the world predisposed to the engaged art, we can state a disappearing of handicraft, an explosion of kitsch, a voiceless revolt of society against the artistic production of cultural establishment. Between such a notions as private “beautiful” and public “beautiful” there has appeared an abyss. From one revolt to another against the so-named bourgeoisie, the engaged art has learned well to speak by means of artistic expression and about it. The engaged art, sheltered in the museums that are statistic irrelevant for the general public, is feeding with material values the storehouses of the bourgeoisie it has earlier revolted against. Some time passed and a town, this public space that can be excellent visible, has been left for private taste, that comes from a zone of a total absence of artistic competence.
     Is there possible to find any answer to this crisis of the contemporary art? Yes, it is: to reveal again the social and moral value of handicraft, to make the mastership to become a predominating criterion inside the profession, to save and to revalue the aesthetic heritage, to invest substantial in forming a private taste. All these mean giving up the progressive art perspective, giving up a disregard inherent to the every new artistic expression face to the art of the past, giving up the idea that the past is systematic becoming obsolete, unfashionable and, as a consequence, has a less value. As to the genre of painting, I have to add that it will be in the fine arts’ favour their reunion with architecture, their attempt to get out from the museum towards the public space or just to reform the museum in the spirit of contemporary context of life, if to take into consideration that a public space, excellently able to form the taste, now is a mall where the citizens spend their free time, it becoming a zone of artistic expression, ometimes parallel to that  rofessional one.
     Encouragement of the extravagancy, the cheap provocations, the revolts with pay-rolls, the tired originalities have pushed those manifestations of modern, post-modern and post-post-modern art further and further from ability to be understood by the middle educated public. But it is possible that revalue of mastership and handicraft could be able to return them away from wild markets of artifacts of plastic and moulds of armored concrete. Is contemporary art really condemned to be modern one?
     To return from the sphere of generalization about contemporary art to the event of Chişinău, I have to confess that a day passed in the company of jury members of the International Biennale of Painting, has been for me both instructive and nteresting, but the negotiations that have taken place have become a part of dialog of the artistic profession with the public reasoning.Undoubtedly, the efforts applied by the National Museum of Fine Arts to organize this Biennale are worthy of praise. That’s why the Romanian Cultural Institute of Chişinău has decided to offer its support. To say more, the organizer of this Biennale has an intuition to comprehend this Preface and to propose realization of exposition of Chişinău on the base of the School of painting – the most conservative in contemporary Romanian art. Not accidentally I have spent fifteen years on the same bench near Paul Gherasim, at Stavropoleos. My courage to sign a text, that has nothing with the prudence that must show a manager of a cultural institute, proceeds from school that I have gone through during those twenty years, at my expense visiting European, American and Mediterranean museums, as well as it proceeds from thoughts of a
scholar over decline and disappearing of the Byzantine art and, in a large sense, of the sacred one. Out of my love to the beautiful I was waiting for this day to say the professional artists all I keep in my soul. The Biennale of Painting from Chişinău has given me such a possibility.
Petru Guran,
Head of Jury 2011