Bucharest, Romania, 1938 - Paris, France, 2000
Painter Horia Bernea is a cornerstone for Romanian contemporary art. Placing emphasis on texture and the materiality of painting, his works captured ways of dealing with the spiritual challenges of contemporary times. One of the artists belonging to the Neo-orthodoxist art movement, his practice is emblematic of the transition from the 1970s avant-garde stage in art to the purest form of traditional art. Going backwards from post-cognitive conceptual iconography, his works redefined some of the major themes of figurative painting in a sacral note. The Roman period of his oeuvre coincides with the last part of his life, as a revelation that the millennial art of Rome is a paradigm that validates posthumously his prolific artistic path. During the period of his Roman trips, his works tend to emphasise an old and obsessive problem for the artist, the consistency and materiality of painting, but not in formalist terms, but as a means to certify the very substance of timeless art. From 1990 until his death in 2000 he was director of the newly (re)opened Romanian Peasant Museum, an institution that received in 1996 the “European Museum of the Year” award. His works have been shown in the Vienna Biennale, in the Art Encounters Biennale, Timișoara, and they have been part of exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Paris, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh, The Romanian Pavilion in The Venice Biennale, among many others.