Atelier 030202: APOLLO & DAPHNE


Elena Dumitrescu / Alexandru Rădvan 

Curator Simona Vilău

7th of March – 8th of April 2018

Opening: Wednesday, 7th of March 2018, 7 PM – 10 PM

ATELIER 030202 (Sala Nouă TC)str. Sfânta Vineri nr. 11, Bucharest

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Atelier 030202 coordinator: Mihai Zgondoiu

The artwork Apollo and Daphne was made in 2017-2018 and represents the first collaboration between the artists Elena Bobi Dumitrescu and Alexandru Rădvan. Being inspired by one of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the mythological theme has many lecture keys: the first and the easiest is the romantic one, treating the impossible love of god Apollo (Phoebus) for the nymph Daphne; after a quarrel, Cupid shot the god with a golden arrow and the nymph with a lead arrow. The golden arrow made Apollo desperately fall in love with her, while Daphne hated him to the core. Apollo started chasing her throughout the woods, where Daphne, a virgin and admirer of goddess Artemis (Diana) felt fearful and disgusted, imploring the gods to transform her into a laurel tree instead of breaking the vow of never offering herself to any man. As a gesture of eternal love, Apollo wears the laurel tree leaves around his head.

The second lecture key, based on antinomy, refer to the opposition between the chastity of the nymph and the lust, the obssesive need of the god to posess her. The third lecture key, a critical one, refers to the predator-victim relation, which is clearly described in the Roman writing through the inequal power ratio of the two, the contradictory feelings for each other, the lack of consent and the final sacrifice, of Daphne becoming a game trophy.

The collaboration of the two artists is an innovation in Romanian sculpture. The artwork has been divided in two, each artist being the author of one character. Elena Dumitrescu casted Daphne, whilst Alexandru Rădvan built Apollo. They have been working separately, each one in his/her own studio for one year, never seeing what the other one was doing. The linking person between them was the curator of the project, who challenged them not to see the other one’s part of the whole. The final act takes place in the exhibition, where the two halves join for the first time. This idea of welding two halves in one sculpture comes from the Greek traveler and geographer Pausanias (2nd century AD), who told of the story of sculptors Telekles and Theodorus. They created a perfect bound from a technical point of view, by welding two similar pieces, made in different places, one in Ephes, the other one in Samos.

Collaborative practices in the field of sculpture are quite rare, and the two artists, Elena Dumitrescu and Alexandru Rădvan, having totally different backgrounds, share a few traits, as they make figurative art, they love ancient history and Greek-Roman mythology and they have a constant preoccupation for technical subtleties.

The artwork is large-scale and the authors used mixed media – resin, wood, tin, aluminum and gems. Daphne’s classical and harmonic beauty is equalized by a hybrid, sexually ambiguous, desperate Apollo athlete. Their structural difference is visible in the construction, which bears a supplementary dose of an emotional, aesthetical feeling. The airy nymph is withdrawing her pure and graceful body, while the god, arrived from another universe, is an ego-inflated athletic cyborg, precious and frightful with his alien-like beauty.

The sculpture, shown as an installation in a generous space is neither a monument, nor a setting. It is a manifesto of cultural post-humanism, a tie to the present as seen through the lenses of the past and a poetic analysis of an imagined, hypothetical, untranslatable situation.

Elena Dumitrescu (b.1971) lives and works in Bucharest. She is a lecturer at the Sculpture Department from the National University of Art in Bucharest. Among her subjects of interest is portraiture of familiar or imaginary characters, classical – contemporary representations of individuals, couples, family portraits, feminine anatomical fragments and historical figures, using traditional media such as terra cotta, bronze, porcelain, wood and clay. Elena Dumitrescu is interested in Romanian and Greek-Roman mythology and also experimental, mixed media, that give her art a touch of mystery and arouses curiosity.

Alexandru Rădvan (b.1977) lives and works in Bucharest. He is a lecturer at the Painting Department from the National University of Art in Bucharest. The artist has been represented, since 2005, by Anaid Art Gallery, Bucharest/Berlin. He uses different media, from drawing, engraving, collage, painting and tridimensional works in wood, metal and resin, being fully engaged in technical and visionary experiments. His subjects range from mythology to history, treating each iconic character as a fellow human being.

Organizer: ATELIER 030202

Partners:Teatrul de Comedie, Asociaţia Euro CulturArt

Media Partners:, Radio România Cultural, ArtClue, Revista ARTA,, Revista Zeppelin, ArtWall,, Czech-it