Mihai Ungureanu - a young and talented artist from Moldova, who draws his paintings under the pseudonym of MIHU. He is currently studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and arrived in Chisinau to hold a solo exhibition, which will present a series of paintings "Mândră, maci şi spicu 'de grâu" at MolDeco in the period from April 10 to 25.
The paintings from the series "Mândră, maci şi spicu 'de grâu" look truly amazing. How did you get the idea to organize this exhibition in Chisinau?
This idea has been in my heart and in my mind for a long time, so I wanted to hold this exhibition here in Chisinau, because here were born the first artistic sketches related to the theme of the village and wood Here I got this idea and here I decided to show this collection in the first place. It reflects such things as home and family.
Was this series of paintings presented elsewhere?
No, this collection has been designed specifically for the event in MolDeco, because at first it was the idea for the exhibition, I found out when it will take place and began to create the paintings, namely the collection of "Mândră, maci şi spicu 'de grâu".
What is the symbol and the message of these paintings and young girls depicted on them?
First of all I want to say that I do see Ia as an ethnographer, I am still an artist, a painter who interprets Ia, and I say this in order to avoid criticism from some experts who want to ia ( Moldovan National blouse) to look completely authentic. The young girls (Mândre) on the pictures show my vision of the village, because I grew up in and spent his childhood in Chisinau and had little opportunity to live in rural areas. But this factor helped me interpret the idea of the village in a different way. Most people see the village as a place full of mud, bad roads or no roads at all, however I see the village as something pure, innocent and genuine, almost like the girls with my paintings, who want to convey the sincerity, humbleness, light, fitting into nature and the light of human soul. They represent the sun, the moon, rivers, streams, lakes, wooden gates.
These paintings were made mostly in Italy? Have you made them because you were homesick? Or is this an older idea?
I drew these pictures not necessarily from homesickness, because, as I said before, my house was Chisinau, I grew up very far from the village physically, as well as and socially, morally and intellectually. But it still was associated with a my home, because only when you are away from your little country you begin to understand all the good and very good things that have been and will continue to exist in your homeland. In Italy, I came across a stronger system of control over people and over personal freedom.
How important is the meeting wth the public? Do you expect Moldovan public to appreciate this series of works?
I want to make my meeting with the public fair and free. I do not want to be labeled, do not want it to be a classic show, where everyone speaks only good, even if something goes wrong, I do not want any hypocrisy. I was present at several exhibitions where the opinions were very positive, but in fact, after the closure of exhibition thing proved to be quite different. With regard to the assessment of the Moldovan public, I think that the girls (mândre) will have a good effect on population, because what we have in our blood cannot be washed away over night.
What are your favorite artists? Do you paint under the influence of any artist or any particular technique?
As far as technique, I tried to find my own style, because I do not want to become an artist, who is increasingly influenced, I want to achieve originality in my works. The technique of applying oil spots in paintings can be used with a variety of methods, and it is hard to imagine that someone can be completely original, with regard to the art of drawing. I primarily paint without solvent, even if usually solvent is used in painings. I like the dry method, which was once used by hand, cotton on hand looms (război). Through my technique, I also want to return authenticity to the art. My favorite artists are Grigorescu, Luchian and Corneliu Baba. I have other favorite artists, but for now, I will name only these three. Grigorescu, by the way, was also drawing rural themes and villages, and he emphasized the beautiful part of rural life.
Is art truly valued in Moldova? Do we have people who are interested in paintings and would want to invest in this area?
I think that painting in Moldova should be more highly valued simply because it still has a very good base – the Russian school, which is one of the best schools in painting and in music or ballet. I think that in Moldova there is quality art, even if I haven’t got the opportunity to visit many galleries in Chisinau. However, on the Moldovan artists whose work I have seen, I can say only good things. In my opinion, the only problem is that the artists are not sufficiently accessible to the public.
There is a stereotype that paintings are for those who have money, or for those who visit art galleries. When an artist shows a collection of his works to a closed group, people often do not get enough incentive to visit the gallery. The artist must be more accessible to people of different social categories and enter into the mind of every person who is entitled to art. Many artists, unfortunately are limited to making money and to the organization of VIP events for small groups of people. This is my opinion, and many will say that I may be too talkative, as that I use sites and social networks to promote my paintings and the process of their creation.
Can your paintings be purchased? And what is the procedure?
We are working on several methods, to make my paintings more4 available to the public. At the moment, it's mostly my facebook page called MIHU. I use Facebook for business. As for prices, my paintings cost about 300 euros.
Which of Moldovan products do you prefer? When you are in Italy, what domestic products do you miss the most?
Mainly food products. My mom always prepares Moldovan food. After a good steak cooked my mother, I always enjoy candies "Chisinaul de Seara" from Bucuria or a bottle of Cricova champagne.