H’art Gallery — Bucharest, Romania
One of Bucharest's Oldest Private-Run Galleries
Whilst Romania might still rank first in the European Union in terms of relative poverty, its capital Bucharest is rapidly developing into an influential hub for contemporary art. It's been over twenty-five years since the country came out of its Communist era and the capital city, along with its artists, have morphed through a host of subsequent phases. What we're seeing now is a vibrant, cultural capital that is finally ready for the international attention its now getting.
H’art Gallery opened in 2002, making it one of Bucharest’s first private galleries. The team began working with Romania’s young artists, many of who continued on to become incredibly important for the local contemporary art scene. These days, their roster of artists is smaller, but one thing that they all have in common is the deep passion and dedication to Romanian contemporary art.
Founder Dan Popescu started his business because of his friendship with artists, and runs the space together with Ioana Marinescu, who began working for him over ten years ago. Marinescu wanted to study art, but rather than only focus on the theoretical she chose to include the practical study, which is why she first applied for a job at the gallery. She says: “Knowing the artists and the process behind their art is what shaped the curatorial program at H’ art. For me, the artistic biography proved to be the most important thing.”
H’ art’s artists include Gili Mocanu, Suzana Dan, Nicolae Comănescu, Dumitru Gorzo, Anca Mureșan, Ion Bârlădeanu, Ștefan Ungureanu, and Codruța Cernea. All of who have solo shows coming up in the next two years. The gallery also has a strong focus on writing catalogues and is currently working on producing one together with Ion Bârlădeanu’s work. Bârlădeanu is one of Romania’s most known collage makers, and the previously homeless artist has now become celebrated within the industry, with the H’art gallery considering his work a lifetime achievement that deserves to be preserved and published for the larger public to consume.
Marinescu describes Bucharest as a city “for bohemian connoisseurs”, where “a lot of people traveled or studied around the world, but decided to come back here. And all this influences the art scene.” Over the last decade many more private galleries have opened in Bucharest, which also leads to a more established scene that naturally includes artists and collectors. Marinescu doesn’t necessarily believe that the art is better than it was one or two decades ago, but it’s more visible with a better platform. “I'm optimistic. I want a better life for the artists around me and I do not think that art should be made under extreme poverty”. The international art scene is made up from a global roster of artists; Marinescu avoids a comparison to that and the Romanian one. “The Romanian art scene will gain more influence in the world once the Romanian economy."
Liv Fleischhacker is a freelance writer based in Berlin. Her favorite topics include art, design and food.
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