Mircea Petean, editor, poet and writer

Beyond the threshold

Far from being headed with iron, Radu Serban’s gates don’t close unless they are opening and they are open to protect, inside the space of a static and severe interior, the traces of sacredness which translates into both objects and faces, perceived – personally but also in the extension of a century-old tradition – as poses of some miraculous moments of a Christian mythology that is fixed in the framing of ancientry.

… The Gate of all gates. Through it, one can enter Radu Serban’s art like entering a wood church from Maramures. A space of Self-retrieval. And of Absolute. Space of Revelation, of consecutive discoveries, and of a balance given by the consciousness of belonging to a reeking world, behind which archetypes exist and productively act. Archetypes that belong to a living Christianity, one that is experienced in the immediate and direct act of life.

His artistic work is characterized by a great resource frugality. Simplicity and refinement. A discretion that reaches the edges of the most pure humility, imprisonment and abasement. A subtle revelation of an inside that palpates its abyss. Radu Serban’s “draw-signs” are the work of a scrupulous craftsman who miraculously knows how to give depth and relief to the insignificant surface of the paper. They are also the work of a gifted artist: scratching the roughness of the concrete, he discovers traces of an ancient writing, which he amazingly – amazement that goes beyong astonishment which, consequently, becomes a vertigo - knows how to replay its lost significancies. His art has something from the fascination of a palimpsest.

Mircea Petean, “Draw-signs of Radu Serban” exhibition catalogue, Cluj-Napoca, October 1996

Translated by Gaby Brezean