At the latin america’s house

  The painter Nikolay Gutsu proposes a vigorous solution to overcome the contemporary art crisis 

The case of the painter Nikolay Gutsu, born in Siberia into a deported Bessarabian family, is spectacular in every regard, and his exhibition at the Latin America’s House may unreservedly be considered an event equal to the great public interest raised by its recent varnishing. In the current political background, when forced Russification threatens again the revival of Latin spirit of Bessarabian Romanians, the gesture of the painter Nikolay Gutsu to bring to the public his first personal exhibition in Romania, at the Latin America’s House, may also be interpreted as a important message of solidarity with the profound aspirations of the threatened Romanian spirit over the Prut. Not by chance, at the exhibition’s opening participated the writer Mihai Cimpoi, president of the Writers Union of Kishinev, many other important figures from both sides of the Prut, involved over the years in settling the relations between the two capitals of the Romanian language, separated by an unjust political border.

The painter Nikolay Gutsu is better known in Russia and abroad than in Romania. After graduating Fine Arts in Kishinev, he settled starting with the year 1976 in Moscow, where he participated in the exhibitions of the Nonconformist Exhibition Centre and in all protesting artistic movements of unofficial artists previous to the collapse of the Soviet empire. Member of the Moscow Association of Plastic and Graphic Artists, of the Artists Union of Russia, of the UNESCO International Federation of Artists, with albums and works in Japan, Germany, USA, France, Italy, Russia, R. Moldova, Israel, regrettably the painter Nikolay Gutsu is not also a member of the Romanian Plastic Artists Union, although living for several years already in a modest apartment in a Bucharest quarter, completely overwhelmed with his outsized works, that would benefit the space of a more appropriate studio. In many ways, the dense biography of the painter Nikolay Gutsu resembles the equally dramatic destiny of the versatile writer Mihai Prepeliţă, one of his constant supporters.

The personal exhibition of the painter Nikolay Gutsu at the Latin America’s House is a must-see, combining, in an synthesis unprecedented in Romania, heterogeneous elements and plastic suggestions originating in the old and new Russian painting school, the Renaissance and Baroque European art, using cubist, futurist, expressionist and even hyperrealist and latest currents techniques, all mixed in a postmodern discourse, proposing an extensive personal vision, through the beauty and the positive force of his message. Beyond the multiple techniques that he masters, changing the expression registers and themes, between violence and smoothness, grotesque and sublime refinement, humane and divine, demonic and angelic, Nikolay Gutsu always has a statement to make, an immediate and profound communicative tension, turning his large paintings into drafts for allegorical deployments of forces, that might only freely express in frescoes unfolded on the surface of high walls, where the artist could erupt at his true value and constructive force.

Except for the 3-stage structure of his retrospective exhibition, expressing perhaps three distinct periods of his artistic searches, the artistic work of Nikolay Gutu has several invariables found throughout his entire creation: the vocation of allegorical compositions, suitable to be developed in epic frescoes and, at the thematic level, the obsessive motif of the cosmic recycling of matter, the deciphering of the divine mechanism of rebirth, the spirit’s cycle in nature, between the inferior level of the concupiscence and the heavenly state of the spirituality, the whole mystery of the existence being decrypted as a fermentation of the human concupiscence, its continuous aspiration and refining, through the fire of faith, into the strong essences of celestial nature. The most complex works of Nikolay Gutsu, from all the exhibition’s cycles – „The Tower of Babel”, „The Fire Steps”, „Paternity”, „The Absolution of Sins”, „The Unraveling”, „Persistence”, suggest a vertical of ascetics, a swirl between demonic and angelic, between instinct and divine gift, sometimes the entire tragedy and victory of the human destiny being perceived with the intensity of the downfall and redemption, through divine regeneration, reminding us of the deployment of both underground and heavenly forces, from the visionary creations of Dante and Dostoevsky. Between these two poles of the European culture, the artistic work of Nikolay Gutsu, perceived in postmodern key, offers a way out into the open, a solution to overcome the impasse of contemporary art, very similar to the one suggested by H. R. Patapievici in his „Recent Man”: the rediscovery of the ever regenerating authenticity of the divine, the coming into being through the saving fatherly love of God.

Ion Zubaşcu Romania Liberă, January 22, 2002 (Cultural section)