Catalin Pislaru's gorgeous, minimal canvases struck an immediate chord for their gorgeous and deceptive simplicity. He emphasizes color and form relationships, building on his own personal experience and heritage to imbue each work with a significance of experience tied to his own memory and heritage.
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Can you tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from, and where are you based now?
My name is Catalin Pislaru, I’m a Romanian 28-year old artist. When I was 18 I moved to Italy, where I‘ve studied for 5 years at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. After my studies in Rome I moved to Munich, Germany, where I applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in the class of Jean-Marc Bustamante, where I’m now in the last year of my studies.
What first interested you in painting?
I was always interested in painting, but the interest wasn’t always the same. In these days, with all the contemporary mediums, a visual language like painting is associated to me more with poetry. Like the poems of Giuseppe Ungaretti for example, where there is no specific illustration, symbology, socio-political questions -- just a metaphorical ascertainment .
You've been working on a series entitled Knots in the Rushes for a few years now, which are beautiful, minimal, abstract paintings with a simple yet carefully chosen palette. Can you tell me more about these paintings?
From 2013 - 2015 I was working on the series of paintings called “Knots in the Rushes”, and the name comes from a Romanian folk expression. These works are mostly related to memories from my childhood, and those memories are very precious for me. I don’t even try to remember them too much, because with my actual vocabulary and experience I will destroy the magic of those moments. For this reason paintings have a reduced vocabulary of information -- just colorful sprayed drawings that induce an approximate narration.
What is your process like? How do you get started on a piece, or how long does it take you to finish a typical painting?
The processof my work is very controlled from beginning to end; 97% of the time I know how the work should look like, and then a very important 3% part of causality. In a series of works that I have worked on for the last 2 months have a references from images that becomes drawings and shapes through digital software, and at the end becomes paintings. I have kind of “ritual" since I prepare my aluminum surfaces with paint, and then all the digital transformation, and then again to the primordial act of painting. I do not believe in a physical time that I spend with a certain work; I think on each work I spend all the time of experience that I have accumulated.
What is your studio like?
My studio is a half of the wall in the studio that I share with my colleagues in the academy.
Do you have any significant influences that have had an impact on your work?
Of course there is a lot of artists that I like have influenced my research, from Morandi and Ryman, to Wade Guyton, and professors that I had: Jean-Marc Bustamante and Florian Pumhösl. I think the most significant factor for the development of a young artist is not that much about a big artist's name, but the environment; in my case, the colleagues with whom I discuss my ideas and who often critique my work.
What is the must useful piece of advice you ever received regarding your art practice?
"Don’t leave all the doors open in front of the viewer, close at least one." (Florian Pumhösl)
What is the most challenging obstacle you face as an artist? What would help, or what has helped, to overcome that?
My personal obstacle as a young artist is the photographic reproduction of my works, and I come across with this problem every time that I apply for a competition, the system of judge the artworks through photos is ridiculous, especially when it is about a work that is about vibration of light and color.
P.S. I never won a competition.
What do you consider to be the most rewarding or exciting part of working as an artist?
Working as an artist is certainly exciting, and sometimes rewarding, but I recently I realized that artists never lose the naivety that they have since they are kids, and I think this is beautiful.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
As I already mentioned, I’m preparing a new series of works till the end of this year, and next year I have a couple of group shows in Munich, in Frankfurt, and in June I have a solo show in a gallery here in Munich.
Find more at catalinpislaru.eu!
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