The Romanian painter Sorin Neamțu announced me the intention of conquering Vienna by NOIMA, a group of painters from the Arad-Timisoara region he was involved with. I was very curious about the project of painting pictures in 360 degrees and agreed to host them in my home district, 7th, and in front of the gallery I am working with, Schleifmühlgasse 12-14.
The appearance of the group, Andrei Rosetti, Ciprian Bodea, Cosmin Fruntes and Sorin Scurtulescu was cordial and the entire process very interesting. They were wearing their utensils – brushes, paint, palette and easel – on their backs and started immediately painting on Urban Lortiz Place (7th district) and then in front of the gallery, under the rain and the snowy weather. The idea of 360 degree painting is to collect different views, in a 360 degree angle on one painting, like an analogue 3D image. It was nearly impossible to get a 360 in a few days, but they worked it out very efficiently and took a bundle of works back home. The painters had several meetings with gallery owners, curators and colleagues active in Vienna and visited several good addresses like Kunsthistorisches Museum and Essl Collection.
During a talk in the Viennese bar Jenseits (Afterlife), the group explained their ideas of painting and being an artist to Agnes Hamvas (artist), Maria Doppler (artist) and me (curator). Painting is a way for them of searching for answers and a way of investing emotion as well. Painting is not a morally obsolete art, as it is announced in many international art papers. Concept and craft have the same importance. The idea of working together, based on the fact that together all artists, most of them living in a precarious situation, are stronger, is also a personal belief and I have been working for this idea for 15 years.
All of the artists in the group studied in Timișoara at the Fine Arts Academy. They settled during their studies working as a group. NOIMA was founded in 2003 by the following artists: Sorin Scurtulescu, Andrei Rosetti, Ciprian Bodea, Dan Gherman, Sorin Neamțu and Sorin Oncu. NOIMA made its debut in 2004 at The Joys Literay Café, Arad. During the same year, the first exhibition under the NOIMA name/brand took place at Galeria 28 in Timişoara. At the moment, NOIMA has the following active members: Sorin Scurtulescu, Andrei Rosetti, Ciprian Bodea, Dan Gherman, Cosmin Frunteş.
In 2005, NOIMA was in Şiria, a village near Arad city, for the second time. Noima used to go there every year to paint , to talk… They realized that all along people had been willing to support the group project. Not only to help them in sales management reasons – they often just liked to spend time with the painters. Among the audience there was a group of friends of Sorin Neamțu from Arad, part of the young middle class – a group who used to meet in Joy’s literary café… it sounds like a true fairy tale. In 2005, M. Lazurca, a writer from that group, invited some friends, young businessmen, to the artists’ painting camp. They spent some hours together in T. Adelmann’s yard from Şiria. Talking about art and paintings, they produced work in situ, joking, learning from their life experience. After some years, when social media appeared, they found each other again and started to think about this type of win-win situations. Andrei Rosetti had been thinking about finding a financial model for years. He had heard about other communities of artists and businessmen, where these two went together to Florence or other cultural landmarks. Artists are happy to go to interesting places without worrying about financial problems. Businessmen are happy to have friendly fresh professional guides in galleries and museums, glad to spend time behind the scenes of the art world, close to the process – in their case, in the painting kitchen. But the idea is not enough, it was only the starting point. They wrote a proposal about their project and plans: the businessmen would support the painters’ travels and production, and in return receive guided tours of the local landmarks and the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of the creative process. The experiment started in Vienna, where the patrons had a partnership with the Alt Wienerhof Hotel. This was the beginning of the ongoing cultural and creative trips of the group NOIMA, of which the latest one took place in the context described above. Their next big experience is the Project room Danube, which opened at the end of February in Stuttgart. Their further stops along the Danube river are in Austria, Hungary and Serbia.
On the whole, a win-win situation. Businessmen with sincere appetite for culture and artists who insert in the project without hesitation. It is in fact a good example of cooperation between art and economics and I would like that this model become more usual in future times.