Artists: Marian Zidaru

“The main thing is not setting foot outside the workshop and diligently chasing the vein you’ve uncovered. When I was young, i was interested in form, now I’m interested in concept. But my theme has remained the same - ‘spiritual purity’. That’s how I ended up with mystical romanticism.” (Marian Zidaru) It would’ve been late afternoon, can’t clearly remember the time of day. I know it was sunny, but not blazing hot. I was in Soimaresti where my folks would send me off to aunt Lenuta for the summer holiday. All is hazy before that, as if my memory and conscious life had started then. I think there was freshly-mown hay, no... I’m sure there was, I know this because every time since, when smelling hay, a calm drunken relaxation envelops me. As if I’m reverting to the original state, as if the tear hasn’t happened. I can try to presume what that ground zero of my existence as a child was like, but they are all deceiving reconstructions or metaphors. I know I was no different from all the others. I know I was not speaking in as many voices. I know I wasn’t shattered in as many thoughts. I know I wasn’t plotting as many deeds and didn’t inflict as much pain. I would kindly look at everything, being at home. When I was happy, everything rejoiced, when I was sad, I would make the clouds gather. I know that then, before going to get the cow from Moldova’s meadow, i lazed about in the grass. And, through a dramatic movement of my soul, I exited my body and looked down at myself, fallen in the grass, with surprise. It was just like when someone rolling their eyes manages to look inside of themselves. I know it was surprise at first. Later I called it terror. I returned to myself after some seconds of out-of-body levitation and for the rest of the day I was unable to speak. I started the next day, however, and haven’t stopped since. I started doubting everything, started hearing my inner voice’s incessant chatter. I would assassinate everyone who crossed my path with an almost indecent desire to know. Why? Where from? What do you know? Where have you heard it? How so? Are you sure? With questions, flesh awoke. Slowly, desires started. Puberty, adolescence, maturity, marriage, divorce, marriage. Everything until now, when I’m branding letters on a lit screen, has been a path where I’ve tried sating my hunger from back then, when, fallen in the grass, I turned the world upside down. And the hunger was, in fact, a desire for recovering a serene but lost place. How to piece it back together? The Christian solution implies love and sacrifice. Marian Zidaru’s art is continual effort to christianly weld together the tear between man and heavens. His art is prayer and understanding at once. One thing is beyond my understanding, he would tell me in regard to the series of drawing we were reviewing together. How could Christians be content with pain, suffering or sacrifice? How could a mother witnessing her son’s martyrdom cheer him on instead of looking for a compromise to escape. This shocked me at first, Zidaru said to me in front of a superb iconostasis he was just preparing for a church near Timisoara. Why does there need to be suffering, why is it sacred to Christians? This essential interrogation is, I think, Zidaru’s main motive for making art. It’s a search for the purity of soul. The tension lies in the fact that this hunt for the sacred does not tread the familiar, peaceful path. It is sought in sacrifice. Some anthropologists speak of an amazonian tribe which, isolated in a so-called primitive existence, has no terms for establishing time. There is no ‘yesterday’, ‘today’ or ‘tomorrow’. The pressure of finitude weighs differently on some objects, and varies from one man to the other, depending on each one’s actions. There is no temporal uniformity. As such, suffering is relative; it’s part of the normal course of the natural world’s dynamic. ‘Suffering’ springs along with unified time, univalent, that acts equally upon all people. This is the moment of the fall. In Zidaru’s series of big drawings presented here, there is a piece called ‘Eli, eli, lama sabachtani’. It is at the same time the depiction of despondency, as well as the graph of an ontological situation. A child with closed eyes, with the ambivalent smile where suffering and acceptance meld together, offers both hands to a two-headed snake cradling him. The snake has one body and mouths at both ends. Many will smirk when recognizing the knob of the Greek orthodox patriarchal cane in the two-headed snake. I see here a wonderful diagram of man’s ontological situation: caught between two transforming infinities, self-aware and of his own finiteness, made to interrupt creation’s hiatus within the infinite, cast away and deserted through the very act of creation, he acknowledges his situations and accepts his suffering as the price for living. All of Marian Zidaru’s drawings work like this: they are charts through which man reconciles with the skies from the dirt." (Dan Popescu - The Blissful Victim)