To defeat the dragon


‘”I am not catholic. I am not Western. I am not even a free thinker. I am simply a Christian (baptised 57 years ago into the Orthodox rite). A Christian though, who reached faith only a few years ago. Here, in Italy. I am a Christian and a sculptor. Not yet a Christian sculptor. Whereas my soul converted without difficulty, it will not be as easy for my art. The present aim of my search is to be a Christian artist… I come from Romania, where I lived for 25 years in a society organised on Marxist principles. My intellectual formation matured in a double cultural isolation, from Romanian spiritual tradition and from certain values of Western modern culture, which had been censored by the regime (I know people who spent hard years in prison just for having read Joyce and Ka-fka). My development was therefore disrupted by serious omissions. Italy and the Western world gave me the possibility to fill some of these gaps: readings, travels and encounters revealed certain aspects of the great tradition which were unknown to me (not the 19th century bourgeois and illuministic tradition, but the Romanic, Byzantine and Islamic ones, for example); I discovered religion, and faith with it. I can say that I reached faith through a rational search. I would have never though that I would reach it in this way. But is this not what the mysterious force of the Logos incarnated by Christ is all about? One of the Christian ideas which struck me most is the search for the lost resemblance of man with the face of God, his creator. Hildegarde de Bingen in the 11th century had put the knowledge of oneself at the basis of any theological or philosophical research. God created man to his own image. Only Christ is a perfect image. Man is the image of the image, disfigured from the fall, related to angels and beasts, beautiful and monstrous at the same time. “God is the most intimate thing that man has within himself ” (St. Augustin). There follows that to know oneself means to know God. It is the way to regain the lost resemblance to the divine face (…) I became aware of this after 10 years of abstractivism in my art. In order to free myself from the nightmare of the so called socialist realism, as soon as I reached Italy I chose the path of abstract research. Today this choice does not satisfy me any more. I do not think that Christian subjects can be represented through abstract images. In order to come closer to us, God became man; it would be absurd if man, although participating this encounter, became a geometrical figure, an abstract image (…) My conversion was not the outcome of either catechism or grace. My readings turned into faith in a particular circumstance: the restoration of a Romanic church, which had been reduced to almost a wreck. Together with my wife Mi-haela, my son Camil and two farmers from Gallese, we brought this wreck back to life in the summer of 1977. That was my, or better our true Christian baptism. My sculpture workshop was moved there and my art naturally took the road of the sacred. Now I can finally give straight answers to the farmers who come to my workshop-church and ask me: “what does this represent?” (drawing or sculpture); I can use direct words, without fear of not being understood. Before I would have struggled (…) I do not want to affirm myself anymore by searching for “formal” novelties; I want to serve Christ, the people, my conscience. I am not even scared of certain labelling terms, since I learnt certain things from Diderot and D’Allem-bert, in their Illuministic “Encyclopaedia”: the term reaction, for example, is explained as push forwards, whereas the word revolution is defined as a return backwards, to the starting point. The humour of history has always comforted me. Given that my aim is the return to the origins of Christianity, to its starting point, I am therefore (and with the consent from Illuministic science) a revolutionary who tries nevertheless to push forwards, to an exemplary event of faith and Christian love (…)”. Camilian Demetrescu’


21 Agosto 1982 - 29 Agosto 1982


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions