dorin baba visual artist
Works / Exhibitions
Exerpts from Romanian Criticism on Artist Dorin Baba
In Darkness, with Dorin Baba / Petru Bejan – Art critic, Tribuna (No. 335) – August 16-31, 2016
"Dana" Gallery in Iasi, celebrating today its first decade of artistic life ... Outside – rain, wind and thunder; inside – the darkness, the burden atmosphere, inspiring horror, as in a Hitchcock movie. From the threshold, the visitors gingerly gather their umbrellas and advance on a predetermined route, flanked by blackened walls with premeditation by paintings composed in blackened strokes and oversized writings. The ambience of a... cave, you would say, like Plato's cave, where prisoners, lacking an experience of alterity, take the shadows projected in front of them (therefore, the simulacres) as the only reality. How do you work it out in the darkness of the gallery? Helped by a small accessory provided by the organizers. At the entrance, the viewers receive a flashlight with which they start looking for hidden "meaning", in the dark, of course. Using the pale light of the flashlights, they are moving cautiously, avoiding any unexpected encounters or possible blunt objects, to focus on the go the works hanging on cliprails. Sarcasm? Irony? Humor... black, like the whole set of scenes? With a deceptive title (Practices. Politics. Effects), rather resonating with the favorite themes of the left-wing militant artists, fed from the Marxist ideological pot, Dorin Baba once again surprises. The justification statement announces a discussion of art and technology to illustrate how the latter would have contributed to constant "falsification", meaning to the removal from the natural state. What is the stake of the proposal? To show, somehow redundantly, that art itself has become... artificial, a counter-nature intervention. Traditional genres (painting, sculpture, graphics) can be blended with increasingly sophisticated technology inventions, resulting in mutations in the perceptual device of the viewer. The computer has become integrated to a great extent with the pictorial environment, creating an interactive space. The virtual image (synthetic reality) tends to become reality itself – warns the artist. The synthetic real fades and dissolves the natural, meaning the real world. Hence the possibility of manipulation through image or imagination. Thanks to technology, robots are designed as supreme anthropological "models", from which programmers evacuate both conscience and morality. In an era of increasing efficiency and productivity, the artist abandons the dream, becoming a tool, an instrument forced to fight hard for his own survival. I do not know if in the "Dana" exhibition Dorin Baba convinced about the harmful of the technics or the caducity of the simulacres. Even the critical reading of the artist's condition is a relatively common theme in the current plastic discourse. The artist himself is in a high paradox; although he stigmatizes technics, he gets to use it, both in the making his works (portraits where the characters have the bright eyes of the electric bulb), but also in the accessories necessary to not fumble in the dark. The novelty of the project must be sought elsewhere. The artist proposes another way to access the gallery space. Passive and contemplative reception (typically, the familiar one in which the image or the picture is offered aloof to the viewer, who is receiving it easily, without effort) is substituted by the reception as immediate experience. The perception of the artwork thus acquires the intensity of a search that ontologically enriches us; it is a visual "voyage", an edifying journey, revealing significance and meanings. The "pleasure" walk through art galleries gives the eye only superficial satisfaction. The passionate, however, "tracks" the works, explores the message, premeditatedly fumbling in the dark, seeking to "detect" it, to bring it to light of understanding. True perceptual experience is both perseverance, hesitant advance, originated climbing, and effort balanced only at the end. The "versant" will know how to discern false of truth, simulacres of reality. The ancient "myth of the cave" is thus gaining a new signification and dressed in postmodern clothes. Inventive and unpredictable, Dorin Baba proves once again that the resources of imagination are inexhaustible, that artistic reflexes and inertia can be shaken with courageous and intelligent formulas. Without doubt there are areas of indetermination in the economy of any project. In the present case, a certain asymmetry captures between intentions and accomplishment, meaning that the latter, augmented by the multitude of possible interpretations, seems to have far exceeded expectations. The moral of the "Dana" happening? Whoever does not have the experience of darkness will not properly cherish the value of light. Maybe that is why Dorin Baba left us – for one night at least – in darkness. But it certainly was worthy.
"Poisoned" gifts / Petru Bejan
- Art critic, November 14, 2014, Ziarul de Iasi
These days "Dana" Gallery is the place of an unusual exhibition, which is meant to test not necessarily the sensitivity of the public, but its sagacity. For many the title itself is a test stone. What does Egredior mean? As domestic dictionaries prove to be inappropriate to provide any clear indication, you are invited to look for alternative sources. In Latin, the term also denotes "exit" and "advance". Egredior is the step toward the "outside", the centrifugal course, the gradual detachment, even in the upward meaning. We could understand that it was an "escape into the world" of someone, or that a possible ritual of initiation was evoked. In a way, that's the way it is... Subtitled as "auctorial power as a gift", the above-mentioned project is conceived in a collaborative form, mobilizing two authors of similar age. One of them, Marius Sidoriuc (a graduate of Sociology, with a Ph.D. in "heterotopias of ruin", obtained at "Al.I. Cuza" University of Iasi), is a debutant in the field of art. He has been painting for years for his own pleasure, without thinking of giving his works a public and even less commercial purpose. Dorin Baba, the "newcomer" partner, already enjoys good recognition and notoriety among artists. To the former, the exhibition from Iași offers an unforgettable opportunity to leave the shell of anonymity, bravely taking off "his head into the world"; for the other, it is just the opportunity to give a valuable "helping hand" to his friend. How? By signing the colorful canvases of his buddy with his own name. And that exactly during the audience opening. How could such a gesture be considered? As an abject theft, "openly"? As illicit substitution? As abusive assimilation of someone's property? What would aesthetically justify such an identity transfer? In fact, who is the author of the exhibited works? The "newcomer", the one who worked to achieve them? Or the lazy later-coming signer? Are there precedents legitimizing the novel exchange? Who is the true profiteer? Are we dealing with original paintings? Or, rather, with some forgery, with worthless pieces, worthy of rejecting? In Europe's culture, the licit practice of identity transfers has at least a venerable tradition. For instance, in the Renaissance, the Masters assumed all the works made mainly by their pupils and disciples. The signature of the consecrated one, the symbolic capital it represented, amplified the value of the final product. But there is a history of fraudulent transfers. For example, it is known that Dali had sold hundreds of... signatures placed in the corner of some immaculate „blank” paintings. This kind of falsities attributed to Dali are still in circulation, as do thousands of copies of his famous works, "authenticated" only by stamping/signature. When they invoke the "auctorial power as a gift," the Iasi artists give to their collaboration an obvious speculative stake. In the context, each offers something. But what is the true nature of the gift? What kind of gifts are the two of them doing? The theme as such is sending us back to the library, to Marcel Mauss (who sociologically was elucidating the mechanisms of gift and counter-gift), to Réné Girard (with his work on "victimization" and the atonement sacrifice), to Jean-Luc Marion (with his "donation phenomenology"), as well as to Jean Starobinski, the author of an excellent illustrated tome (Largesse), commenting on generosity and its hypostases. Firstly, it would be said that the gift generates obligations. The recipient sees somewhat constrained in responding to the donor's equal currency. When you cannot replicate to the same extent, you are indefinitely indebted; you are, without knowing, the innocent victim of an asymmetric exchange. In these cases, gifts can be "poisonous" and misleading. Not all offers are "friendly" or completely disinterested. If they are made to humiliate, to smash or flutter unmeasured prides, if they only aim for the ostentatious view, if they turn into an inelegant media show, the allegedly charitable gestures contradict themselves. Either they are gifts, or they are altogether different. The "gifts" exchanged between affiliated artists must be regarded as a mutual trustworthy investment. The "newcomer" abandons the private heuristics circle, goes public, accepting to "sacrifice" his artwork, to donate it to the other, while the latter, by simple signature, transfers its entire symbolic portfolio, betting on the talent and value of the novice friend. The first one sees himself obliged to respond in the future to the auctorial gift. Otherwise, he becomes the victim of a "poisoned" pact. The project administered in tandem by Marius Sidoriuc and Dorin Baba subscribes to a "relational" aesthetics. Even if they have an indisputable artistic value, the works are more emblematic for the newly created context, showing how a durable, profound friendship can be built beyond the usual "author", "value" and "ownership" biases. Rigorous with the scruples of an "ontology" of the artwork, we could say that we are dealing with an original collection of forgery, but they are... "authentic", transparent and licit. A unique must-see exhibition where – as Noica said – "it is not known who gives and who receives".
Red Chocolate and Bitter Smiles / Petru Bejan
- Art critic, December 13, 2013, Ziarul de Iasi
Without necessarily subscribing to any stereotypical protest rhetoric, Dorin Baba turns the exhibition space into an opinion workshop, into a forum of sensory queries. If in an earlier project Dorin Baba invited everyone to a sarcastic discussion about "listening to your closest", alluding to the delating practices of the old regime, the present, Red Chocolate and Smiling People, carried on at the "Cupola" Gallery, is maintained in a close register – critically and ironically, alike. In general, the artist brings to light again the controversial aspects of the Romanian transition, with its characters in the foreground and its conflicts, seemingly eternally insurmountable. Therefore, it mobilizes the expressive potential of classical, figurative painting, supported in addition by the coded language of (post) modern installations and performances. What do the already-mention-in-the-title chocolate and smile have in common? Undoubtedly, taste. First sweet, pleasant and comforting, then sad, cynical and bitter. In fact, taste describes the hesitant route of the permanent transition. Bitter are memories of communism; also bitter are the smiles of today's people. Without necessarily subscribing to any stereotypical protest rhetoric, Dorin Baba turns the exhibition space into an opinion workshop, into a forum of sensory queries. What happens to us, so many years after the fall of communism? Why are we still hesitant and rushed? What stops us from choosing, once and for all, the good way? What are the springs of hatred and mutual enmity? How is the opulence and arrogance of some – on one hand, the vulnerability and poverty of others – on the other? What makes us hesitantly wave between hope and despair, optimism and blazoning, enthusiasm and discouragement? How can we (even) smile, when records are excessively depressed? Are we not worth the precariousness? The artist's replies are mostly in pessimistic... We deliberately perpetuate the illusion of a change. Far from being able to solve the serious problems of the new system, the transition seems to accentuate them. The conflicts between young people and adults, children and parents, between people used to "ask" and others forced to "give," among the rich and the poor, among the people of Power and ordinary citizens are unnaturally radicalized. Who are these defining characters of the local transition? The beggar – the tutelary figure, the pivot-"icon" in the device of an original "shame shrine" –, then the unemployed youngster, depending on parents or socially assistance, clearly contrasting with the everyday "faces" of parvenu and imposture (the political careerist, the dubious businessman). They all seem to have lost their verticality, the backbone, horizontally flexing their body in unbelievable postures, as reptiles fervently set toward each other. Dorin Baba's paintings refuse the predictable geometry of quadrilateral frames, leaving the impression of unpredictable extension. The images "flow", outwardly oozing. Made in conventional ink, by patterns, the exposed portraits privilege face and attitude, discounting background or ornament. Incidentally, the stack is not decorative. We are more likely to be told about current uncertainties, debauchery and failure, about what could be done to definitively get the "light at the end of the tunnel". A well-documented skepticism prevents the author of easy resolutions. The fantasies of communism do not automatically disappear, nor its signs. Despite all statements of abandonment or separation, the "sickle and hammer" – the ostracized emblems of the past – are much deeper inserted in our way of being. Their dissimulations are often forced, circumstantial and inexcusable. If they do not necessarily appear, they are "felt" in the way we administer our reflexes and biases, almost similarly as the prior ones. The smile we are showing today is not always healthy and cheerful, but just rigid and deceiving. Somehow it synthesizes the current frustrations and failures. Designing his vernissage in the manner of an unusual "staging," the artist showed to his audience his own smile, allocating one minute of "tragic-smile" to every year consumed since the entrance to the capricious era of freedom. At the end, the old wine and red chocolate literally have spoiled the taste buds of those present, all for a more consistent recollection, but also for the natural re-calibration of the common availability to smile, according to the relaxed atmosphere of the event. Dorin Baba is undoubtedly a complex artist with unpredictable possibilities. He knows that routine and provincialism can be overcome by perseverance and effort. He has proved it lately, exposing part of his works in the honorable galleries of Paris and Barcelona. Anarchist and rebellious, he deliberately eschews partisanship or political activism, however without being indifferent to the surrounding events. His criticism is hard to be shown to any party or program. Still, he joins a perishable ideology, always worthy of respect – that of quality art. That's why I enjoy any new success. Like the present one, really meritorious.
Identity Holograms / Petru Bejan -
Art critic, October 6, 2010, Ziarul de Iasi
With the Mental Hologram project, Dorin Baba gives another meaning to the famous paradox of identity. Identity is not shared. Logically speaking, we can only be identical with ourselves. In fact, it means more: the sum of the decisive meetings with ourselves and with others, permanently archived in the form of unforgettable good images.
I have recently seen Dorin Baba, slipping discreetly among the silhouettes present at a vernissage. He seemed relieved of the MA's stress achieved two summers ago at "Cuza" (where he had modestly assumed a speculative novice state, complementary to artistic practice), but also of the tonic anxiety of project management (he had organized somewhere in the mountains a creative camp , bringing together masters of native painting, followed by a "heavy" exhibition in Iasi). As an artist, Dorin Baba is an eccentric, difficult in attaching any trend or current. I would say he is part of the inventive "deconstructors" category, brave rebels, always ready to revise or experiment. In his clinical biography two extreme incidents forced him to explore the edges of the "world beyond the world", from where he returned fortunate. The obsessions of the intemperance threat, the vulnerability – physical and psychic – seem to have touched him decisively. The themes touched in his pictorial compositions have the mystical-religious and poetic-metaphysical load. They talk about the ambiguity of the presence within the interval (between white and black, light and dark, night and day, earth and sky, Heaven and Hell); about angels, Moon, stars, visions, Eden gardens, illusory ascents; about shapes, colors and mysteries; about consistency of elements (water, air, fire); about life and its temptations.
Dorin Baba's works escape a specific stylistic pattern. The author destructures the classic space of the painting, shifting the frame inside, insinuating it to the work; thus, the object of representation determines the outline of the ensemble. Hence the impressions of fluidity, formal mobility and chromatic dynamism. Rhomboidal, parallelepipedal, trapezoidal, zigzag, waving, straight, sinusoidal or circular, the frames unpredictably blend, prolonging the thematic suggestions from the picture. For example, time is reproduced in a "hourglass", the hill – in an "waving" painting, with fine alternations of levels. Dorin Baba refuses the facile approaches, the estimated volumes, demure symmetries, practicing his willingness to mix and transform expressive registers.
He easily passes from the easel technique to the most sophisticated installations that he tests on cosmopolitan occasions. He exhibited in Florence, at the 2007 Biennial, and in New York at the "Broadway Gallery" for Art 2010 Annual Preview. Two of his earlier projects deserve to be told. One, from last year, for ingenuity and picturesque; another – recently placed in Sarajevo, for refinement and inventiveness.
For Dorin Baba, the "Listen to Your Closest" exhibition was the opportunity to practice all postmodern stereotypes: issuing critical, parody or encoded messages, compositional heterogeneity, veilings and hijackings. In short, a total artistic show where improvisation and surprise seemed happily... directed. In a unique and unrepeatable gesture, two paintings would had been "painted" themselves, in front of the audience, without auctorial intervention. Not only these works were "on the way", but also the author who, for unclear reasons, was delaying his own event. Lately arrived, in the opening, the artist invited us to watch a boxing match. In the middle ring of the gallery, two boxers gave their mutual fists over the jaws. Of course, Sport just fraternized with Art, the pugilistic elegance met with the artistic one, the violence was reconciled with the sensitivity, the center allied itself with the periphery. The critic was also absent or, let me say, reinvented; two MA colleagues read out with emotion a philosophical composition prepared from home. Finally, the immaculate canvases began to smoke, showing two human physiognomies. I had understood, at the same time with the present ones, that the work had just been "created" out of nothing, like the Universe. The long-haired demiurge contentedly smiled. He made us forget what we had come to. The title of the event alluded in its subtext of the vice of listening to the other, not for paideic or confessive purposes, but for delating intentions. "Loving your closest" is substituted by "listening to it." Cables, telephones, voice recording reels, electrical and mechanical installations, video projections suggested the technological siege on personal privacy. The decorations recreated a vulnerable, transparent, carefully supervised space. Be vigilant! We are listen; the walls have indiscrete "ears" – seems to have been the author's message.
The second event was recently held in Sarajevo in the New Temple Gallery. Dorin Baba presented here a video installation called Mental Hologram (which you can see by visiting the author's website). The work is composed of several modules; a central piece, as socket, "supports" etheric three-dimensionally faces reproduced in a hologram. Special lamps, reflectors, multicolor bulbs project images and visual effects in all directions. On distorted screens and monitors are also shown human faces and silhouettes.
It is precisely those that inhabit the imaginary, mental world of the author. We are invited to visit his memory, to access the rhizomic networks of personal memories. The rhythm of background music follows the cadence of brain neurons along their recessive course. The author's message? Everyone has a memory that gives them uniqueness. Its very content makes us different. It cannot be substituted, nor must it be shaped by manipulation or force. History, language, happenings, parents, spouses, children, friends have their place in everyone's mental archive. What would happen if our mind was altered? How do I distinguish between natural memory and artificial memory? How do I protect myself from attempts to falsify consciousness? How can I keep my identity? For each of us all such questions remain.
With the Mental Hologram project, Dorin Baba redefines the famous paradox of identity. Identity is not shared. Logically speaking, we can only be identical with ourselves. In fact, it means more: the sum of the decisive meetings with ourselves and with the others, permanently archived in the form of unforgettable good images.
Listening to DORIN BABA / Val GHEORGHIU - (painter, art critic, writer, and
columnist for cultural magazines), March 7th,2009, Ziarul de Iasi
As I had seen at Dorin's exhibition in
"Cupola" Galleries a re-comforting emerging from self-that is from a painting of
rare quality, in a somehow traditionalistic posture, in an alternative game,
like so many others, today - it was totally something else.
artist's invitation for "Cupola" the phrase formulation "listen to your next
like!" surprised me though not very much. In fact, the frequency, in all those
years, when familiar with the intolerant totalitarianism, arts left themselves
impregnated by the symbols of Christian Cult. I believed, it was one more, a
sending to the creed's values, to Biblical spur to listen to your neighbor, to
come to give him a warm shoulder.
On the other hand, not even the varnishing
event did vex me, seeing in the new work of my valuable younger fellow - now a
ritual one - to check up his expression, to make room to it, simply to stylistic
Some canvases were marching opaque screens, intermittently
activated by small luminous or device sensors which set them in motion, another
one showed two characters in jail uniforms then, shocking/thou not too much,
small audition equipment, a telephone set, a magnetic tape, etc, However,
surprise! A miniature boxing match in which two lads-not much younger than the
artist himself-were miming the ring cruelties (Pythagoras was a boxer, wasn't
Therefore this was the scenario from the invitation: Listen to your
I was wrong.
It was only in a further discussion with Dorin
Baba himself, in my studio from Armenia Street, when I realized my
No, it had neither been about a sending to Biblical spur nor the
supposed stylistic alternative, but amazingly, about the terror that we were
being subjected to through ... through ... our phone conversations being
listened to by secret services and not only.
I was actually amazed, Or, I
think rather scared a bit we, then were being ... listened to!
I left my
much-appreciated younger fellow brother to deliver his nice philippic on matter
of villain listening and I dared, finally, an Omni-comprehensive
As I had seen in Dorin's exhibition at "Cupola"
Galleries a re-comforting emerging from his self-that is from a rare quality
painting in a somehow traditional posture, in an alternative game like so many
others, today - it was something else.
I left Dorin finish his philippic
against villain phone listening and I confessed him that I had regretted for not
attending the event that I didn't put in practice on the varnishing day an
intention: to challenge Zamfira who was standing next to me to a second boxing
round. It was to be demonstrative one.
Be it a ... listened to one!
Dorin Baba: Listen to the man near... /
Nikita DANILOV - Writer, February 25th, 2009, Ziarul de Iasi
... "As I understood, the exhibition is a
protest and a challenge as well. The protest has in its vizier the latest law
regarding telephone censuring, chat conferences. Information coming out from
mail stocking, by Romanian law bodies, SRI, CIA, etc. with purpose to prevent
possible terrorist acts, economic and financial espionage, drug dissemination,
prostitution, pedophiles and political blackmailing, in a word, the lawful chase
that aims ay person and society security and safety. Intention is noble but
where this supervision would lead, we still do not know. The memory of recent
events makes us cautious. And then, they say, "hell is paved with good
The artist Dorin Baba is the first artist who dares approach
this matter using his available means. His exhibit is a challenge and an
invitation for meditation. "Listen to your neighbor" he says, but not anyway; be
careful for his needs and sufferings but do not trod upon his intimacy, do not
enter with boots in anybody's life! If you dare do this sooner or later you'll
get the same treatment.
"In the course of two hours the public will witness
a unique experiment in which two paintings of large dimensions will be drawn by
themselves, as the artistic act is un-repeatable. Unrepeatable in the sense that
pictures would probable got fire or dissipate throughout the hall. I don't knot
too much about exhibition itself. However I know there will be several telephone
sets that would ring for nothing" for art's love, they say and also for art's
love the calls will be stocked into the walls.
Dorin Baba is not at a first
experiment. Contrary to others who practice arts without object, capitalizing
their talent in sterile protests that account more to statistics or sociology;
his experiment challenge our courage and good faith. His message makes us drill
our existential abyss in order to realize who we actually are. Mastering to
perfection the techniques of drawing and paining, he comes in front of his
audience with something new each time he exhibits. In fact, Dorin Baba
experiences in his workshop and outside it all the time. That is why one should
not wonder that his art is tangent with magic and (why not ?) with alchemy.
Visiting recently his workshop I surprised him painting through flames on the
canvas His brush was in flames and the landscape he was paining seemed to be
extinct by flames. Following the burning the colors on canvas changed their hues
and the landscapes and figures painted seemed about coming from another world.
Sitting conformable in an armchair I saw getting materialized from flames the
aura of a voivode who defeated in other times, mounted on a horse and followed
by a dog. ...
Learning through occult ways Baba was going to exhibit,
curiosity pushed me to go to the "Cupola" exhibition hall. I glimpsed to some
shop windows. I saw some chairs hanging from the ceiling besides two pictures of
a very odd shape. On the floor there were lots of cables coiling like serpents
or better tentacles of octopus. Looking at them I at once imagined a mollusk
hidden under the floor. I searched for mikes but I did not see any. I neither
saw telephones that possible follows to get fire with the paintings. It is
possible we get on fire, too, probably and burn with telephones and the
equipment in the hall at the same time, too as a protest form, certainly, so, at
the end we remain only small piles of ashes smoking on the floor covered by
half-burnt paintings. When the show ends audience will get alive like Phoenix
from its own ashes pile and will cry joyfully: "Don't listen to neighbor! Not to
Picture shape / Ion TRUICA - August,
2007, Convorbiri Literare
respond to our need of imagination, man's primordial need" (Jean
The artist's attitude to image defines with clarity his creating
orientation: either traditional commodity or the plunging into innovating
It is encouraging to meet within Iasi the exhibition space
paintings which propose new, courageous images, with stylistically rigorous
orientation. Inspiration is the exhibition of Dorin Baba;s paintings at "The
subterranean Galleries of Pogor House". A young man with volcano temperament,
the artist discharges his energies in paintings of a striking originality. His
painting, totally dominated by red, has a volcanic tension. Painter's
experiences are defined by tension charger forms. We witness to an organic
articulation of curve and counter-curve ranges with striking composition
dynamics. The hues close as value, proportionate as surface lends a high energy
to picture area.
However, what actually strikes most is the way he thinks
the shape of each painting, always another one for each piece, tensions which
become picturesque expressive areas.
New shapes oblige the artist to
re-consider image, suggest us compositionally uncommon solutions, plastically in
a perfect order. In some pieces forms are torn to bits of graphic signs
dynamically oriented in the frame on rising ranges.
In Dorin Baba's
paintings there is tension and restlessness, a seriousness attitude in front of
life. Worth praising is paintings stylistic unity that proves artistic
consistence and seriousness.
Dorin Baba and Form as Interrogation /
Veronica MARINESCU - Publicist, August 29th, 2007, Curierul
A year ago the artist Dorin
Baba, from Iasi opened spectacularly at "ARTIS" Galleries with a well-thought
form arrangement of scenery an exhibition of "Forms". The artistic world of our
capital adopted him with either enthusiasm or with reserve. They eulogized or
they simply got silent. Perhaps surprised by the atypical form of his paintings
some hurried to agree that the geometry of his chasses may betray traditional
square or rectangle in favor of one with steps and or some miming waves, making
room to hard to imagine Arabesques to be given to frames. Well the artist's wish
was not to "take eyes" by removing the belief in everlastingness of square or
rectangle where the world imagined by the artist live to deny in a defiance elan
the jail the canvas is subjected.
He inteds to unmask his soul, the way he
feel, the way he thinks in order to prove there is mo rule that might fine
communication between the painted surface and its limits/frames: that the artist
cannot reprimand a creation gesture or mood at the time he is creating.
Learn that "lights", "gardens", "spring times", "nights" and "The soul Bird"
taken out fro the whirl of his joys or adness, his inner time - other for each
of us were brought on the canvas with hidden emotion and visible discreetness
deep anxieties and thoughts flew in the air but above all dear drops and
unreadable silence fell upon his unconfused world.
After a year Dorin Baba
stopped at "Senso" Galleries in Bucharest with a new exhibition entitled "Ex
nihilo"... The way the painter and his paintings have changed one may see
freely, obviously for those having eyes to see. He carefully took the arches of
the rainbow from which he opens hundreds of chromatic paths in a compositional
non-figurative manner he imagined other and other forms for this works chasses,
he deepened them in his soul warmth, making us believe they have been born out
of nothing. Thou how much hardly whispered beauty in each plastic sign. How
lucidity and stylistic coherence in structuring hues, in arranging contrasts!
How powers of seduction for a simple "ex nihilo"! It is because Dorin Baba's
painting resides in his force to transform color and its performance in a living
thing: in interrogation.
Beyond and before conventions / Luiza
BARCAN - Art critic, July 27th, 2007, Adevarul Literar si
Meditation on the great
philosophical categories, chromatic and unitarily thought paintings by putting
in agreement the shape with the contents born seemingly as if from some
illumination - these are probably the qualities of a new kind of visual show
prepared by the artist Dorin Baba, ... drawing the attention of arts lovers with
the totally unconventional of the schusses he stretches his canvases.
common rectangular or square shape of the picture, that human eye got acquitted
since long ago is replaced by other non-symmetrical, surprising shapes thought
to directly communicate with the painted surface.
In this way, meeting Dorin
Baba amazes and surprises, stirs one to reconsiderate the conventions, carries
us beyond and before what hid dens in the expecting horizon of fine arts lover.
Nevertheless though at the first sight one leaves himself carried on by the
thought that, giving a too much importance to form the artist, leaves to the
second background the contents and its significances, a more attentive watch is
necessary to prove the contrary.
The content and the form is puts on do
harmonize. Attracted by the philosophical categories of Time and Space, by a
certain symbolism of spiritual essence, Dorin Baba has expressed lately
non-figuratively himself. The genre of abstract painting he practices is a very
personal poesis, in an a parted manner of artistic expression of the signs
coming towards his from the mysterious universe situated beyond common
The form fatally limited of the canvas fight seemingly to escape from
the frame. Just for this the painted surfaces are in a continuous expansion. And
at chromatic level things are the same. The artist seems to work his painting in
one breath without letting himself guided by prejudices; he put the pain with
delicately but firmly leaving contrasts of any sort the right of maximum
There are artists for whom the creation gesture unfolds like
a dichtung, probably like a grace mood that brakes them from contingent.
their art it is most difficult to write just because you must come exactly on
the same wave length with the artist. It seems to me that it is the case of
Dorin Baba as well. I realize now that he chose to work nore for his painting
just because he wishes that through contemporary art one can get closer to the
great spiritual truths... Insofar the creative gesture bears inside the valences
of an initiated path, an artist may hope to reach the highest point.
Dorin Baba's works closed in a given form, perhaps neither his way to see the
world can be restricted or compelled one way or another. Do not fail this visual
performance as a continuous confession by means of immortal language of
Dorin Baba's Miraculous World / Victoria
ANGHELESCU - Art critic, August 10th, 2007, Ziarul Financiar
... One of Dorin Baba's characteristics
which stirred in turns admiration or criticism is the transformation of the
classical painting into object picture through the non-conformist shape of the
frames "The Ovoid", "Twins" or "Height illusion", e.g. the ovoid frame s have
double meaning: ovoid frame, the two frames "in mirror" which can be placed
either symmetrically or asymmetrically, the trapezoid form of the frame and
canvas contain, if accentuated picturesque structures that take over or oppose
to the object drawing. The technique brings about a plus of suggestion and
adorning dimension simultaneously.
Dorin Baba, master on painting craft seems
to think each painting for a certain space to model it according to its
expressive functions. The Iasi painter's art, the artist's capacity of
constructing a world through colors, a profound one with revealing glittering
and his with to charge the image with philosophical significance. Baba's forms
become plastic signs meant to equal an intellectual discourse on mankind sense,
on its birth and becoming. And in most times he succeeds. At the same time, his
landscapes and flowers confess on a direct and delicate sensitivity.
its assembly, the exhibition in "Senso" Galleries is inciting for the visitor by
the many lecturing levels and festive by the chromatic festival the artist
accustomed us from even his debut.
For arts province is capital as well /
Veronica MARINESCU - Publicist, September 9th, 2006, Curierul
Appreciated in our country and
the world over, Dorin Baba has lived for the last ten years from the sale of
The other day I met at "Artis" Galleries. A happy painter, not
only because in his paintings entitled, both simply and suggestive, "Light",
"Flight", "The sky and the Earth" he projects his feelings, thoughts,
experiences in an avalanche of almost unearthly colors; and because there in the
tumult of his dear Iasi where he graduated "George Enescu" Fine Arts Academy 11
years ago, the space tender light and chromatic rhythms of parks and laic or
cult architecture are deeper than anywhere else, but also because, like many of
his colleagues, Dorin Baba has his soul loaded with and known the explosion the
world descending from the perpetual flame burning. Out of the magma which brings
to surface of the things seen and known, the infinite explosion of the joy of
nourishing with the earth's gifts; of the aesthetic and equally soul
incantation, of visual illusion and enjoyment. And of the destiny that lent him
the power to depict his own things and world transparence from which he extracts
his compositions blood.
Don't you think he is a happy painter?! He has all
the time been said the he has got talent. He was advised to pursue the path that
seemed to open ahead slowly, unhindered and without sacrifice. He took painting
as a show; he deciphered slowly the sign mystery which charged him with
freshness for his entire life - both professional and family. Dorin Baba's
biography passed, however throughout natural obstacles of physical sufferings.
There was only one step to go beyond this world. An unseen breadth saved him and
became later the molding pot of his inner laboratory for image composing which
he flooded over our world, between the somehow bizarre frameworks of his
paintings. He works in a rhythm one could envy. And does this not for earning
his living from the profession of a painter, but for only through it he defines
himself. His art is appreciated everywhere in Europe where he is often invited
(and awarded) in international salons. His works also traveled through Japan
where have been highly appreciated.
Possibly the most revealing aspect, in
relation of his works sales, is the fact that he has found his own manager.
Probably this is also a reason for him to be a happy painter... Maybe that is
why the painter understands better his own destiny. An authentic satisfaction,
unaltered by daily strains subjects his own image on the paintings exposed these
days at "Artis" galleries (until September, 12) wrapped in hues exuberance which
open the gates to sphere music A regal come from the heart of Iasi Which is not
lacking poetry and Christian thrill.
Inscription on a crocodile / Valentin
CIUCA - Art critic, October 31th, 2003, Ziarul de Iasi
Let's have a look at the entire
surrealistic generic, meant, from the first place, to draw one's attention upon
the fact that the exhibition we are talking about had/has an increased rate of
challenge. In a period when the world is challenging us in all possible ways,
the glove thrown by our artist should be really picked up and therefore, the
argument will surely end into a fraternal embracement. Dorin Baba, the painter,
so much appreciated by his public and colleagues, with an external artistic
experience acquired with an obvious success and, at the same time, not protected
by other biographical accidents, if considering the order of a fragile nature,
has managed both the varnishing day and the exhibition itself under the sign of
a practical intelligence, enabling us to travel together into a journey having
not any initiated ambitions, but a necessary intellectual complicity. His wish
to complete things in a different way than other artists, did not push him under
the circumstances in which he may solemnly declare that nobody existed
beforehand. With an honesty that suits him so well, the artist states that the
exhibition was generated by his deep reflections, doubts and dilemmas remaining
yet unsolved. Like any other authentic artist, he searches different cultural
sources and plunges into his own imagery, animating the static environment.
The pictures exhibited at "Cupola" - from now starting to impose the
exhibition as the cultural event of this autumn - had the initial impulse in
Bauhaus esthetics, in the ideas of geometrism and constructivism promoted by
Gropius, Klee, Kandinsky and Itten, transferred in an Art Deco solution or an
informal abstract. The visible contamination with such doctrines reveals the
need to reformulate the idea of composition, of picture, as an expression of the
generic type of visual culture. The picture's frame becomes full part of the
painting, and moreover, it bears the ambition of a composition in its own
nature. Therefore, it is no wonder that the painter collaborates with the
sculptor, their relation emphasizing necessary complementarities. Showing a
large variety from one picture to another, these artistic inventions confer
decorative and symbolic virtues upon the painting. The show of a painting
follows unforeseeable directions, marked by the bamboo's exotic suggestions or
by impersonal items produced through the synthesis of the contemporary
technology through the substitution of nature's authenticity.
There is no
wonder that, under the aggression of this devastating crusher, the true artist
reappears in the traditional culture horizon, where he awards the substance of
modernity. A Bird will always suggest a flight, but also a fall; it will suggest
a dream, but also a reality. In Dorin Baba's vision, the metaphor is included in
the fragment; the truth is included in the colour spot. The polychromy, close to
fantastic, of a peacock's tail, establishes a direct relation with the enameled
lute pot, with the need of beauty that is, of course, essentially for the
mankind, in all times, as a size of his sacred being.
Under the spirit of
the invoked sacredness, the painter makes fine art investigations upon the theme
of church banners, upon the eternal time that fatalistically sets in a human
being under the oppression of ephemera, upon nature in the shape of lyrical
geometry of love seasons, accomplished by the kiss of death, upon the betrayal
or the call of senses, upon the ugly and cunning mouth imposing obstructions
upon the noble word of knowledge. Behind the striking visual show, inciting
through idea and resolving, it seems to me that Dorin Baba is more serious and
more profound that he wants to appear and disclose to us. The explanations
offered upon the world's piles do not represent the usual practice of the
superficial people or of those who search themselves, seldom through awareness.
The artist sees, he must see over such things, he must convert the visible into
invisible. The great cross is grief or joy, is desperate fight or humble
resignation? These are the questions of a spirit capable to provide fragmentary
answers through the symbolic mediation of painting. The glaciation present in
some compositions, the angular or softly curved shapes outline the orientation
of certain reflections, with the intention of regulating the accounts between
concept and expression. The invoked crocodile is reduced to the suggestion of
its greedy eating, its saw teeth evoking ferocity and death.
of Dorin Baba is offering a chance to be well bred, modern and Europeans, here,
at our home. In the corner of the street, at Braunstein palace...
A feeling: Dorin Baba's exhibition / Mihai
PAMFIL - October, 2003, Cronica
forces which burst out asymmetrically from his paintings are bending the frame's
lines, by stretching or breaking them; sometimes these lines are entirely
cleared. The PICTURE, which is the object itself, becomes something else: it is
not anymore the classical window through which the world, in a half-incurious
mood, penetrates in our private space; the picture becomes the excited screen on
which the painter expresses himself. The painter is not anymore the mirror
bearing an illusionary depth in which all kinds of entities are moving inertly,
but he transforms into a space of an excited confession, tridimensional and
Dorin Baba does not rely on the petty picturesqueness, in the null and
derisory appearance. He does not stick photos on canvas and does not collect
aleatoric curiosities fetched from the large world (those who travel all over
the world for touristic purposes consider themselves the world's conquerors!).
As I have already mentioned, his program, genetically revealed, points out the
expression of his being - his confession and faith -. The content of his
pictures, even though it resides in a centrifugal state, will always crystallize
around an internal vector (named feeling).
In fact, the authentic art does
not allow you to do otherwise: you cannot paint the clepsydra by uniting the
angular tops of two isosceles triangles (in fact of two arrows!) at the sand
grain's level, without having the feeling that the time arrow penetrates you
You cannot paint the light collected in the round shape of an
hypertrophic eye, reflected as it is on the canvas screen, within a circle, if
the light is not firstly organized in a certain direction which seems to be the
direction of your life. You cannot paint the depth of a blue color if that blue
does not induce a metaphysical dizziness to you, like the ocean in which you
dive in a dream, during an extreme experience.
Dorin Baba succeeds to paint
the abyssal inside of the blue color, time and light because he is not only the
energetic and ingenious master, proud of its canvases, flatness, impeccably
drawn, without a wrinkle, on the complicated wooden supports made of various
curves, counter - curves and right segments, but because from the very
beginning, he is the painter himself. In other words, he owns the experienced
meaning of everything he does and says.
Turned to himself, the painter does
not live in arrogance and autistic constrains which should come out from such
attitude. He is indeed very attentive to what is happening in the outside world.
He does not ignore and does not refuse the suggestions and challenges of the
environment surrounding him. Contrariwise, he really looks for them. The painter
does more than that: he often works upon customer's request, painting various
pictures intended to decorate houses and public institutions. Therefore, he must
design the pictures starting from the existing architecture. With all these,
what he owns in himself remains unchanged as he doesn't agree to sacrifice
anything belonging to his being, to his natural essence. The painter doesn't
accept any request for painting except that which fits him sympathetically and
which doesn't destroy the sacred feeling of freedom.
Is there a more exciting
feeling of freedom than the contemporary architecture in which the lines are
waving and running in all directions, stimulating all kinds of perceptions,
flowing outside the Newtonian physical field and concentrated in the pure wonder
of sight and heart only?
When I refer to us, the viewers, can anything else
offer a more exciting feeling of freedom than the calm-tensioned contemplation
of Dorin Baba's pictures, painted in the shadow of Pissa Tower (a "post-modern"
monument) or in the shadow of Sagrada Familia cathedral, which are wonders
living freely, for ever, outside the gravitational turning point?
Without varnishing event / Val
GHEORGHIU (painter, art critic, writer, and columnist for cultural
magazines), September 13th, 2001, Ziarul de Iasi
Interrupting the series of the dull, vacancy exhibitions
brings back to "Cupola" Galleries its temporarily lost prestige. And he does it
assuming two risks, neither major ones, nor negligible: 1. He exhibits during a
"dead" period when art receptors are in solar laziness and 2. He avoids the
conventional exhibition as somewhat necessary occasion of express marking the
event. (Out of my own experience, I know that it is not a good thing to calendar
point to calendar, moreover, the varnishing event modernity has its own scheme:
breaking up the monotony by whipping up our worldly stallions.)
It is an
exhibition of a peculiar beauty. It is not one of common use (the others have
been enough for this), but rather elitist, with a slight calophilic nuances as
looks good to the artist when young.(And aged too). Dorin Baba belongs to an
Iasi exceptional generation, the one which, perhaps, (if he honestly develops),
will also modify - had he not already done it - the relief of local painting,
it's understood, not a very common one, but necessarily to get drained from time
to time. He has exhibited when even a student - and in a singular manner - and
he is besides us, the veterans in annual salons as, very important, otherwise,
his colleagues - circulate. He navigates on "practical sites", exhibits at
international fairs, he is curious and temperate - and eager in joining world
stylistics. They are motives which place him within the perimeter of
well-tempered vanities, sufficient in themselves, anyhow, non-exhibitionistic.
Hence the "risk" not to produce spectacle with his recent exhibition and
maintain in an ironically acted modestly.
However, there is nothing of the
somewhat Humulestean irony of the character to pass over here on the severe
seriousness paintings. Conceptual and artisanal this here is the decisive
imprint. Not a bit of tolerance to anecdotic as, the same, none to the ability
at any cost. It is an irrepressible will to keep everything under control, to
make no concession especially to denomination of traditional nature. Abstract
decision seems - for the time being - definite and it fits well the young
painter. Only in "cactuses" we perceive, somehow, hints to a suspected reality,
and it is perhaps also due to a slightly escaped from under control gesture, a
not too well controlled truism, but nowhere, in the rest of exhibition will one
encounter "the heresy".
The striking newness of the present series - compared
to the previous ones - lies in net modification of tonal agreement-renouncement,
for the time being to older quasi-decorative temptation and fixation on a minor
of refined gravity.
"Uplift illusion", "Eclipse", "the Sixth Commandment",
"Gates", "Gardens", exhibition's solid piles though by titles seem to suggest
narratives , they indicate, in fact, retina in the cleanest abstract descend
masterfully supervised from above, with always waken and fresh
If to all these we still add the special ludic availability
of color matter maneuvering and diversifying (a painting is placed inversely,
so...) we certainly are in the presence of an already inconfoundable
It is only in Dorin Baba's power to maintain-un-tempted by
perverting sirens - into a territory which he projected with so much ingenuity,
and mind, he administrates it now with so much virtuosity (Let it also be
Painting - luxury, calm and rebellion /
Val GHEORGHIU (painter, art critic, writer, and columnist for cultural
magazines), February 8th, 2001, Ziarul de Iasi
The third episode from my brief serial regarding young Iasi
painting takes in view now DORIN BABA.
My contact with his art has already a
small history. When he was still a student and enrolled in the range of
exhibitions from ex-Trianon, in Lapusneanu Street, meant to illustrate the
seriousness of the studies in the Institute (Fine Arts University) I have
stopped for a jiffy of my "reporter" walk in front of the paintings of the then
unknown junior. Challenging, anyhow by a truculent though also pert assuming a
stylistic option which // here it is now! - with the year passage, it confirms its
validity. And this occurs not anywhere, but, among others, in an elite entourage
as the first event of.
The International Visual Arts Fair at the Art Museum
of Bucharest looked to be. When my pleasant surprise has just been in re-finding
the same unknown from Lapusneanu of Iasi with his already shaped formal
peculiarities on namesake the construction of apart beauty of the gallery. For
me, the character (with a somewhat risky name in the range of his notorious
namesake) he continued to remain as unknown in his biographical data, leaning me
in confabulation imagination hands. And it was the same later on when we were,
now on the same panel in the art galleries from the town whose pavements we both
kept trodden without meeting one another.
Let me interrupt my telenovela here
remembering only the stage in which, during the further two events of the same
International Fair, we had already become panel neighbors and shook hands.
Firstly, by virtue of the irresponsible temptation to search for man-work
conditioning, I shall sketch out a possible phigzionomic pattern. Dorin Baba,
the unknown, sometime seen, accidentally in a workshop photo, looked rather
officiating, with hermit shyness, an ordeal known only by him. I saw a nicely
modeled head, inocent-penetrating sight, abundant hairiness, robust arms,
slender build, and Voronetz painter apprentice shirt, large not to grip his
torso too tight during work. Yes, however on the white wall, one of his
paintings producing the shocking contrast: suggestions coming, abundantly from a
still grave post-cubism, freely distributed on the large canvas of him who would
have been so fit to paint rather icons for Sihastria Monastery.
here, in this time deceiving man-work inter-conditioning the brand of the kind
rebel is to be searched for who, mind it!, was haunting now Europe's galleries
with his daring paintings.
One may speculate on the margin of this late
synchronization with European modernism of 20th century beginning, with an
accent on cubist register, or, maybe, on that of the later Hans Arp or Ben
Nicholson, but what Dorin Baba works is more than a comfortable reporting.
Against the harshness and not only once rigidity of the current-school, the Iasi
artist counter puts a delicate modulation of treatments, whether the painted
surface knows, above all, a trenchant limitation of surfaces, the parting line
remaining sovereign and in exchange, the warm tonalities happily tame the whole.
The dulled ochre accords, deafened brown, leveret green are courageously
juxtaposed to them, exuberant pigmentation with red, yellow and more seldom
blue. Protecting him programmatically to suggest possible identifications into
reality, this elevated painting sustains itself through its pure beauty.
Triumphantly, mind it!
If to "flat hues" we also add not al all secondary
component of the saucy shapes - unexpected wings, bugles, frameworks
arrangements on the walls, of ladders - we have, finally shaped the profile of
this challenging painting practiced by (apparently) kind hermit.
visits - no few - in subterranean places I discovered sometime, in the famous
cell of Pogor House, placed on mossy walls of cavern stone, a lot of paintings
of a contrasting luminousness; they were of the then unknown Dorin Baba.
recently wished to reconstitute that unexpected contemplation and, in order to
challenge the doer himself to become again at "crime" spot, we fixed up a
meeting in the cell I've just mentioned. However, the uncommon heaven of those
paintings had been replaced overnight by the poetically refined elegance of the
Were we desolated?
We smoothed our moods with a large glass of Dry
Modern art tensions / Ion TRUICA -
July 1st, 1998, 24:ORE - Supliment de Cultura
... In 20 century there are many attempts to change picture
shape, to give up classical rectangle and try to impose other geometrical
shapes. In Romania, the most daring attempts belong to Dorin Baba, a young
painter preoccupied by a new shape for pictures, a form able to harmoniously
dialogue with the shape universe it enframed. In this way one obtains a
picturesque image equilibrium with the new picture shape; gradually by surely
the artist comprehends that the new shapes should have a symmetrical structure.
The picture new shapes are to be harmoniously thought of so that lines should
continue from one picture to another. The artist also comprehends something: he
gives up anecdotic, accidental details that brake deteriorates the shape of the
new picture and decisively projects with slightly curved lines the new shapes
universe. When the picture shape is structured by triangles, the movement of the
paintings becomes more dynamic and expressive...
Dorin Baba / Traian MOCANU painter,
essayist and poet - August 12th, 1998, 24:ORE - Supliment de Cultura
Dorin Baba comes back to "Cupola" with a
series of paintings which unfortunately a few have seen in the cells of "Pogor
House". Has the exhibition been thought then for that space, it did not hinder
the artist to expose in the only representative Gallery of UAP (Plastic Artists
Dorin Baba became a Romanian UAP member due to his talent and
consistent effort in the Romanian fine arts picture.
I once reminded that
Dorin Baba (predestined name...) makes the face of a more special avant-garde in
the context of today's fine arts. The strategy of his artistic discourse is too
uncomfortable for many, "the poor conscience sleeping pill" finding no place in
the attempt of manipulating the looker.
The artist's sensitiveness is
whipped, aggressed and paradoxically fascinated by this reality today's
politicians named "transition". In fact his whole being is engaged between these
significant, antinomy realities. In one word, life as life, analyzed by an
artist, becomes a cultural and existential response (a system to which few
relate at the time), the artist asking himself questions on measure and not on
"business-canon" in the mire of the so - called market economy. The painting
itself escapes from under the constraint of the rectangular framework, gets out
the space, becomes irregular, whimsical. The visual- tactile information is
exaggerated, exotic. Cultural references from the subtext are rich, the place
emblem defining an attitude protruded by a dramatic thrill; images are of a
Dorin Baba belongs to that artist category that
Hans Sedmayr calls "with significance" and with all consequences emerging from
this "one can conceive valid art works of this type only when it is seen in the
objective correspondence between visible forms and the significances proper to
them, between the sensitive world and the spiritual, psychical one, between a
sensitive figuration and the significances that are related to them through
election. However, as long as such certainty exists, art tents to a new plan, to
the same purposes as the old ones." In this sense, abstract painting that
understands to have a significance which historically is an ultimate chapter of
The so-called modernism is in no way a rupture from the
past. Modern art develops from the past and will never be "incomprehensive", it
doesn't stop, and its continuity is given by man communication intention. Dorin
Baba is the answer Kandinsky asked himself "What the absent object is replaced
with?" and the answer may be:" With the material theosophy provides." Artist's
attempt to define his own place within the actual art concerto is easily
understandable. Every artist wishes to come to reach the ineffable to which he
can catch for only one second.
The fact that the attempt has not resulted in
still natures with flowers and pots or charismatic portraits, but emancipated,
non-object shapes and paints may be attributed as such to spiritual nature. For
many artists's painting can be uncomfortable, their language being odd and
suspect to them. We have to admit that today's occult and picturesque target is
in a marginal position and the artist as well. It as if one said us,
re-comfortingly: don't be afraid, they are human being like we are; neither can
they live without contents and simple messages which, with some effort, may be
discovered behind the apparent hermetism of shapes.