Interview with Sorin Neamtu, co-founder of the gallery :Baril in Cluj
In a former paintbrush factory in Cluj, the dynamic center for contemporary art in Romania, a physician and an artist have founded a gallery representing artists who have more questions than answers.
Who are the founders of the gallery and what is your background?
The gallery was founded in 2012 by Tiberiu Adelmann and me. Besides his main job as a physician, Tiberiu is a collector and an art supporter. I am an artist.
Can you tell us the story of your gallery?
The gallery started as an artist-run space four years ago when we had the opportunity to open a space in the Paintbrush Factory in Cluj. Since its opening in 2009 the building of an old paintbrush factory has become a vivid artistic hub, with a lot of artists studios and spaces for galleries.
We started without a clear plan of making a gallery, but rather to make a project space, an artist-run space, let’s say. And we did it, for one year.
Then we realized that is so important to be present on the international scene, and one way to do it was to transform our project into a gallery. In the Romanian scene, the number of galleries is quite small. The number of galleries with an international program and presence is even smaller. And this number is disproportionately small compared with how many good artists there are here. So, we decided to do it.
What is the program of your gallery? What kind of art do you represent?
The programme developed quite naturally, starting from the first exhibitions we had in the first year. We work with established artists like Constantin Flondor, a painter and experimental artist active since the 1960s, or the kinema ikon group, who have been active since the 1970s with experimental films for 20 years and then with a precise approach to new media, hypermedia, and hybrid media. Also we have a special interest in the young generation of Romanian and international artists working in various media from painting, photography, installation, conceptual art.
Back to your question, I don’t think we show a kind of art, I think we show a kind of artist. Artists inclined to a critical approach, artists that have in general more questions than answers.
Where does the name come from?
:Baril came out from a kind of game. I remember that we wanted to have a short name, easy to remember, easy to pronounce in different languages.
What is The Loop?
It is a page on our site, a kind of blog that makes it easy to keep in the loop about our encounters.
Can you tell us about the art scene win Cluj? How has it turned into the place for contemporary art in Romania?
As I’ve already mentioned in my previous answer, since 2009, when The paintbrush factory was established, it became an important place for contemporary art in Romania, due to the activity and the international success of artists and galleries from here. So, I would say the most important place for contemporary art is here, but I think now, seven years after its opening, the future looks good, there are more and more initiatives, and they will become more diverse in the next period.
What kind of space have you chosen for your gallery?
Our space is a small but charming room of less then 50 m2. But besides its shape and dimensions, we chose rather a kind of experience to be in a community, sharing our resources with the public.
What is, in your opinion, the role of the gallerist today?
If I were to speak about Romania, the role of the gallerist is to educate and grow the public, to support and be part of the growing Romanian contemporary art scene.
:Baril participates in the 10th edition of ART-O-RAMA in Marseille from August 26th to 28th 2016.
59-61 Henri Barbusse Street