"Cărbunart" - an exhibition about the production of coal and its use in art

July 25, 2022 | Cosmina Marcela OLTEAN ArtPage

"Cărbunart" presents a mix of contemporary works, made in different mediums: painting, graphics, watercolor, photography, ceramics, and experimental techniques that use charcoal, both as a working material and as a source of inspiration for the participating artists.
The title suggests the use of charcoal as an artistic technique, but it is also about honoring the charcoal makers.

The exhibition, curated by Botár László and Lucian Muntean, is hosted by the Harghita County Council Art Gallery, until August 10. The works were created last year, as part of the first edition of the art camp "cărbunart" 2021. The City Hall of Lupeni Municipality, the Harghita County Cultural Center and the Harghita County Council organized the first edition of the camp, between 05 and 12.09.2021.

Photos by Cosmina M. Oltean

The purpose of the project revolved around the need to preserve crafts and promote traditional culture through contemporary art, this project putting a local craft in the foreground.

"The charcoal makers from Lupeni (Farkaslaka) Harghita county have a tradition of over three centuries. Generations have taken care of this craft, by which they produce mangal - charcoal from burnt hardwood. Thick wooden branches are cut and built into huge cones, called bushes, then covered with sand and earth, after which a smoldering, flameless burn takes place in the absence of oxygen for nearly two weeks. As a result of this burning, the carbonization of the wood occurs.

Finally, the coal thus obtained is crushed, packed in paper bags and sold. The beneficiaries are all of us, when we light these coals on the grills, to fry various goodies. Recently, technology has been imposed in this field as well, with wood charcoal being obtained in special furnaces. There are only a few genuine charcoal burners left in the area who still practice this craft. Like other jobs, this risks being forgotten too. Within this camp, we set out to value of charcoal in the most noble way possible, namely to be used in drawing and other artistic techniques by contemporary artists. Thus, the work of art obtained with a few grams of coal can be worth as much as the equivalent of tens of kilograms of coal. Another approach to the theme was the representation of charring through other artistic techniques. So - with or without coal, but about coaling - it became the motto of the camp...
", said Lucian Muntean, camp coordinator.

At the first edition of the project, a group of 6 artists were invited to take part in "a creative camp where they documented the activity of the coal miners, visited the cultural and historical sites in the area, then created a series of contemporary art works, using locally produced coal as a working material. During the creation period, as well as at the end of the camp, there were demonstration workshops attended by children from the community or those interested. The works of art were later exhibited in Lupeni, but also in itinerant exhibitions around the country, which are to be scheduled", Lucian Muntean also conveyed.


The project was attended by: Botár László (Miercurea Ciuc), Lucian Muntean (Bucharest), Justinian Scarlătescu (Bucharest), Marius Stanciu (Bucharest), Radu Șerban (Cluj-Napoca), Aurel Tar (Bucharest). Guest artist Florin Gherasim (Cluj-Napoca)

Organizers of the exhibition: Harghita County Council, Harghita County Cultural Center, Harghita County Council Gallery and Cultura Nostra Association.


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