After our meeting with Mara Ratiu, we took a cab with Florin Ştefan and went to Spațiu Intact, an art gallery and studio. It is located in Fabrica de Pensule which is an old paintbrush factory. It is one of the most outstanding examples of converting an industrial building into a cultural space.
Once we arrived Florin started informing us about the Fabrica de Pensule. The converting project started in 2009 after the factory came to the brink of collapse following the end of the communist era during which it was financed by the government. The purpose was bringing together ideas, events and projects of cultural organizations, galleries, producers and independent artists against the lack of exhibition spaces and opportunities for young artists in Cluj. It's a platform for new artistic practices for the ones who are under-presented in the city. The Paintbrush Factory Galleries and Artists Federation & The Paintbrush Factory Artists Association, two non-profit organizations, intend to encourage the next generation of Romanian artists and to play an important role within the city and its community. Fabrica de Pensule also hosts events with local and international partners.
On the second floor of this building, there's Spatiu Intact where Mr. Ştefan is the art curator and director. It is a non-profit art space showing creative products of contemporary art and culture, through a program of curated exhibitions and events created purely for the public benefit. Spatiu Intact has a very important reputation in an international level. From Paris to New York, it's a famous art space. He said that it opened in 2012. There's a gallery and a studio at the back. The studio is for the artistic residencies. They are the graduates and students from Romanian art universities who need support and space for their art. To him, it's very important to encourage young artists, give them a place and a chance to perform their art. They are involved in the public program of the gallery. The studio also hosts international artists who are interested in spending time in Cluj and curious about the local art scene. They have the opportunity to present their work to curators, galleries, and collectors. The gallery and the studio are financed by Intact Cultural Foundation with its own resources, collaborations with foreign cultural institutes, private contributions, and sponsorships. We had a chance to meet with Alexandria Burtiuc, Roxana Modreanu, Xenia Tinca,Monica Danila, Mirela Dinu and Ana Cretiu, the students of Art And Design University of Cluj-Napoca, during our visit.
Sometimes, there are new exhibitions and solo works in the gallery. When we were there, we had a chance to see the exhibition of Peter Peri, the Scarlet Letter. Mr.Florin Ştefan spoke a little bit about the artist. He was born in London in 1971. He studied at Chelsea College of Art, London and graduated from the MA program in 2003. He made his debut in 2003 at Bloomberg New Contemporaries. His work was shown at Tate Britain's "Classified" and the Arts Council Collection's How to Improve the World: 60 Years of British Art at the Hayward Gallery, London. Peri's work was personally connected to Modernism, he's the grandson of Laszlo Périan, Hungarian émigré to Britain who was involved in Constructivism before turning later in his life to more figurative Socialist Realist work. Also Mr.Florin Ştefan had a chance to make an interview with him and told about this interview a little bit. He has asked him that since his grandfather was a Hungarian, who emigrated to United Kingdom and his stay in Cluj coincided with the Hungarian Culture Days, if this motivated him creatively. Peri had responded that he found Hungarian Culture Days amazing but the feeling of loss of Transylvania is still there in the Hungarian community so perhaps his sense of melancholy was slightly reinforced and that had an influence on the work he made.
It was a pleasure for us to see this important art space and an exhibition of respected artist. We were all fascinated by the paintings. The way Mr.Florin Ştefan talks about art and this art space was just amazing. We felt so lucky about this opportunity of seeing this exhibition and a place that supports young artists.