Călin Stegerean, director of Cluj-Napoca Art Museum

At the time of change in Romania’s political paradigm in the end of year 1989, Radu Şerban was preoccupated in the direction of a painting that explored the means of expressing a spirituality foreign to the official art, one referring to the pictorial structures of wall painting religious art in Bucovina, in the technique of egg tempera, typical for icons on wood.

The following years lead to the maturing of these means and the approach of a direction interfluent up to a point with the neo-orthodox expression trend that became noted in Bucharest during the 90s. Radu Şerban nevertheless maintained a certain distance against this trend by turning to a non-manifest figurativeness rather expressed through formal allusions than through an artistic epiphany of a religious inventory of themes. In the same time, the new social and political conditions after 1989 allowed him access to cultural areas fundamental to his artistic development, such as his research stays in Italy (1995) and Spain (1996), or his long Canadian sojourn (1997-2000).

Gradually, the human figure lost in corporeal consistency, the artist bringing into play contaminations with the icons created in Nicula and naive art, incorporating an ingenuity that brings his characters closer to the candor in children’s drawings. They do not remain isolated in this component because the human figure is associated to other elements that incorporate it in rustic universes or populate various spaces associated to previous themes (Byzantium), abandoning two-dimensional surfaces and invading the territory of objects in space, on the surfaces of which they relate to largely plastic components.

No matter the cycles to which they can be associated (The Woman, Imagined Portraits), his human figures gradually acquire a second-degree role, both as meaning and in importance in the visual field, in favor of the surface’s general composition that aims increasingly at revealing a discourse of shapes and colors holding plastic value in themselves.

Therefore, in his last cycles of works (The Patina of the Wall, Invented Landscapes), the human figure gradually evaporates or simply disappears, making way for a visual spectacle whose aim can even be that of integrating the human being in an existential amalgam that leads, eventually, to its actual disappearance.

The disappearance of the human figure from the telluric coordinates coincides with the artist’s approach of a new theme – Unidentified Characters – through the means of digital photography techniques and computer animation.
This spiritual dimension is nevertheless rather signaled by the certainty of a presence, of a double, of an immaterial „stalker” that the physical light of the projector ideatically supports, than by a relation mainly instituted through one’s adherence to a set of religious practices.

The dynamics of his personal schedule, apparently marked by the motto ''ora et labora'', his attentive and reflexive nature, his plus of intelligence, creativity and surprising originality with each new exhibition made Radu Şerban an artist from whom we can expect the revelation through art of still hidden meanings of our human experience.