Horia Damian

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"In my art, I express the relationship between reality as I see it and something behind this reality which enables me to perceive. I realize that while remaining only on the perceptive level one is inevitably brought to the object and the manipulation that surrounds it. My feeling is that approaching the invisible is the only way that I can express beauty."

photo: Ion Oroveanu

A Romanian postwar and contemporary painter and sculptor, Horia Damian was born in 1922 in Bucharest, Romania. He studied at the School of Architecture in Bucharest, and later won a scholarship to Paris. He moved there in 1946, and remained there until his death in 2012.

The second half of the 1950s was an experimental period for him, followed by his works of the early 1960s in a gestural, impasto style close to Tachism. By the late 1960s, his work had become increasingly geometric and sculptural, as exemplified by the Throne series, which are not free-standing sculptures, but rather set against plain backgrounds. The first of his large-scale monuments, Galaxy, was designed in 1972 and constructed in 1974 at the Neue Galerie in Aachen. The American “minimal art” movement influenced his artistic approach, and his work is dominated by simple shapes and radiant, pure monochrome colours. Around 1950 or 1951, he discovered the neo-plasticism theory.

Project for the Port of San Francisco, 1977

gouache, pencil and coloured pencil on cardboard, 75 x 105,5 cm

One of his most time-consuming projects was The Hill (1976), a sculpture in front of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, while in 1980, he presented his Project for San Francisco at a show at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. This colossal work was designed to be placed in San Francisco on a site where, as a result of the infinite variations created by the sun, the monumental work would have provided an unlimited view towards the cosmos.