The Season of Silence is an exhibition that includes 74 of the most extraordinary photographs taken by Ionel Scaunasu, depicting the masterpieces of Constantin Brancusi from Targu-Jiu. The sculptural ensemble Calea Eroilor is not only an “open-air museum” but also a unique architecture and landscape, being in harmony with the environment, that represents an essential element.
The passion for photography, the admiration for nature, with the amazement that comes from contemplating the beauty of the stone, in all its forms, represents deep research made by Ionel Scaunasu, of identifying the elements: these are the reasons that gave rise to a publication, different from many others, on the subject of architecture made by master Brancusi. A tenacious and solitary worker, wrapped in an aura of legend, Constantin Brancusi (1896-1957), belongs to that category of artists that is difficult to frame in a current or in an artistic movement.
Ionel Scaunasu's images do not want to ask specific questions or answers but are presented as intimate conversations with the viewer. Thanks to the camera, Scaunasu gets in touch with the public, in an open dialogue and outside of literary translations. This work, form, and expression of his feelings, is the story of love intertwined, for over fifty years, with Brancusi and this territory: more than 40 years of excursions, wanderings, observations, photographs, and, of course, works of art. The monumentality of the Brancusi masterpieces that make up the Brancusi Monumental Ensemble for Targu-Jiu is eternal; what flows incessantly is time, marked by seasons. Scaunasu's photography evolves from an exploration of visual impact to capturing natural, pure beauty and shaping energy. In constant search of physical contact with the stone, the soul of civilization, in order to understand its mystery and its essence; with the rock, cold and smooth under his hands, had increased the living presence of Brancusi.
Ionel Scaunasu amazes through these mysterious and silent urban spaces, where the incessant dance between “full” and “empty”, between light and shadow. Familiar places, because the monuments are recognized, are photographed with a surprising approach. It works a lot with light, and the photo camera becomes a tool that creates atmosphere. And Scaunasu does it with pictorial thinking that is an expression of the collective soul and a direct thread between Brancusi and us.
Ionel Scaunasu's photographs are also an acrobatic exercise of technique, of waiting, of moments, and a careful work of aesthetic elaboration. Ionel Scaunasu tests all his observation skills and his ability in technique. The study of light and its use remains fundamental in the structure of the compositions of his photographs. The artist creates an aura around the individual sculpture, always trying to capture the spirit of the place and to transmit it, intact and pure, free from any possible interference. The evocative images lead the viewer into a poetic and suspended dimension: making a solitary process, made up of waiting and pausing, in search of the right photograph.
Due to Scaunasu’s well-defined eye, these sculptures change from season to season, day by day, with very different results and expressions. The sculptures combine with the light of dawn, noon, sunset, autumn, summer, sun and rain, fog and snow. A narrative that unfolds through the changing vibrations that Scaunasu masterfully captures with his ability to capture the reflection of colors, multiplying the emotional effect. The pure alchemy expressed by these photographs that speak of man is modeled by this visionary and brilliant artist.
Simplicity is not an end in art, but we usually arrive at simplicity as we approach the true sense of things.
Who is Ionel Scaunasu
“The creative industries have always fascinated me. My first meeting with the visual arts dates back to the '78s, at the Cine-Foto Club "Turris" in Turnu-Măgurele/TR, when I discovered the secrets of the camera and the camera, being fascinated by the process of creating images which determined me to buy my first Smena camera from my student savings. However, my longest experience in the field of visual arts is in the television industry, where I worked for almost two decades: The years spent in audiovisual have helped me to discover and improve my knowledge and experience about television image, the video language, and TV standards, their frames and their sequence in editing. Cinematographic language, narrative and aesthetic principles, artistic procedures, etc. In 1999 I bought my first digital camera, and the new digital experience fascinated me. However, the experience that marked my artistic destiny is the rediscovery of "God Brâncuşi" in 2001, on the occasion of making the presentation film Targu-Jiu, 2001, a production commissioned by the City Hall of Targu-Jiu. Writing the screenplay for this film meant studying dozens of books and publications, print and online, about "The God of Dobrița Gorjului", in an attempt to deepen the understanding of the philosophy and symbolism of Brancusi's art. This was the turning point in my evolution as a photo artist.
The artist and economist in me are always in an uneasy juxtaposition. They are Ying and Yang. At school, I liked both the arts and the scientific subjects. Photography is of course a remarkable blend of art and science, and in photography, I found my natural habitat. As a photographer, I have always tried to be objective and to capture the natural, pure beauty, to compose the essential image. My photography evolves from an exploration of the visual impact that can be created when the shape is made to evoke emotion. I strive to amplify the qualities inherent in forms, while reducing foreign qualities, to create images with suggested emotion and an increased presence. The suggested emotion is further enhanced by the atmospheric mood and abstraction. Similarly, the visual presence is further enhanced by simplification throughout the scene. Images with these qualities speak to my goal of creating an unaltered visual reality. In this way, my images do not present specific questions or answers, but rather present themselves as conversations for the viewer. Creating and composing TV show formats, scripting and directing commercials, or writing screenplays, gave me the skills to connect with the audience. Capturing the essence of places is my continuous search, to create fresh images that attract the viewer inside. It is a continuous challenge and adventure because each place and circumstance requires its own special response. While the Road to Heaven carved by the brilliant Brancusi in Targu-Jiu was my main goal, my desire to make people feel the spirit of different localities led me to related explorations, of Targu-Jiu municipality, to capture the spirit who is still alive in this hero city. Since 2011 he has been working for the local daily Gorjeanul - the first newspaper of Gorj since 1924, as deputy director. Once out of the audiovisual landscape, like an arc over time, I returned to the "first love" - photography, giving it more and more time.”
“Every year, on February 19, Romania celebrates "National Brancusi Day", in gratitude for the creation of the Sculptural Ensemble Calea Eroilor from Targu-Jiu, a war memorial dedicated to the city's heroes in the fights for the defense of the city in the First World War. The Brancusi Monumental Ensemble is made up of the following elements: Table of Silence; Alley of Chairs; Kissing Gate; Endless Column. This year, the recently established "Constantin Brancusi" National Museum in Targu-Jiu (my hometown) included in the program of events and organization of a photo exhibition, a tribute to the unique artist, Constantin Brancusi, born in these places. The exhibition is entitled The Season of Silence and includes 74 of the most remarkable photographs I have taken, depicting the Brancusi masterpieces from Targu Jiu, captured in the four seasons. A tribute to the "father of modern sculpture", Brancusi, on the occasion of celebrating the 146th anniversary of his birthday”.