There is a fascinating myth about the man living at the borders of society, living a life that bypasses the conventions and comforts of the bourgeois existence. Each open society needs those people who are living, in the same time, inside and outside of it.
Ion Bârlădeanu is such an existence. He was born in 1946 and for more than 30 years he refused to become an “honourable citizen”. During communism he had several jobs. In his 20s he left his native village (Zăpoteni, in Vaslui county) to work on the reed fields in Tulcea and then as a “docker” in Constanţa. Arriving to Bucharest he worked as a grave digger, as frame saw worker, security person, or unqualified worker at the House of the People. Starting in 1989 he lives a marginal life, working as a freelance selector of garbage from a block of flats on Moşilor Street, and doing small favours for the people living there. He does not raise a family and is not employed to this day.
But all these years, he continues his great project that he shows only to a few “intelligent people”. He did what, in my opinion, metaphorically or literally, every artist should do: take the risky road into no man’s land where every society throws its masks away: the dump. Throughout his existence Ion Bârlădeanu selected magazine images and made a series of unique collages. All of them had a cinematographic intention. He started with a native talent in drawing and, with his passion for movie making, he created an imaginary, proto-pop world which came 20 years before the possibility of reception from the Romanian public. In Romania, the pop aesthetics is a post-communist reality and it is a direct consequence of the consumerist society. With little or no resources, Bârlădeanu creates a cinematic photogram that tells a complete story. All his collages are a very special hybrid between pop art, with a surrealist touch and dada. Add a little flavour of communist gulag in which films and brands symbolized possibilities of freedom.
Ceauşescu has a special place, but post-communism is also represented by Iliescu, Constantinescu, Funar, Petre Roman or Adrian Păunescu. Through out his life, Ion Bârlădeanu chose liberty and despised all types of conventional authority. In his collages he built an imaginary arena where he was always victorious, where hypocrisy stood defeated in the cheers of the crowds, and where the humanist-ironical scenario was played over and over again.
Dan Posescu, owner H’art Gallery, Bucharest 2008
2010 Solo show, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris
2009 COLLAGE, LONDON/NEW YORK, group exhibition, Fred London
2008 The Volta show, Basel
2008 Realpolitik, soloshow, Backyard Gallery, Copenhagen.
2008 Realpolitik, soloshow, H’art Gallery, Bucharest.