Media art in Romania
On the international stage, the ’60s and ’70s have constituted a period of intense research into what was called the impact of digital technology upon art. Prestigious names and consecrated works of art, but especially worth mentioning international exhibitions, such as the first world exhibition of computer graphic, in 1965, at Howard Wise Gallery in New York, then the 1968 Cybernetic Serendipity in London, and the Stuttgart Impulse Computerart, in 1969. The latter was an itinerant one, so that I was able to see it in 1974 at the Goethe Institute in Bucharest, presented by Herbert W. Franke, who edited too a substantial catalog.
The same year, 1974, visual artist Florian Maxa presented a computer graphics work at the collective exhibition Art and Energy in Bucharest, and researcher Mihai Jalobeanu has an exhibition at the students’ House of culture in Cluj, exhibition I was able to see in may ’74 at the Alfa Gallery in Arad. Next, the same Mihai Jalobeanu is present with a personal exhibition, Computer Graphics, at the Galeria Noua in Bucharest, in January 1976, and, a month later, Florian Maxa has a new exhibition at the Eforie hall, entitled Metamorphoses. Other Romanian artists, interested rather in kinetic art, optical art and constructivism, but not lacking interest in the new digital technology were Adina Caloenescu, Serban Epure, Savel Cheptea, Cristian Bruteanu, Ileana Bratu, Francis Goebész and others, from university centers in Cluj and Bucharest.
Finally, at the Electronic Computing Center in Arad, whose director was no one else than mathematician Lucian Codreanu, one of the founders of the Timisoara Sigma group, a collective of young computer specialists having artistic interests, started producing at the beginning of the ’80s, in the workshop lead by mathematician Emil Giurgiu, computer-assisted graphical works. So that, in July 1985, an exhibition was organized with all these works, in the Forum gallery, under the title Art and Computer, starting controversies in the city’s artistic world, as well as inside the ki group, which had, at the time, among its members, at least two or three computer specialists, used as sound engineers or DJs, because the thing called computer couldn’t even be mentioned. The exhibition was accompanied by a pamphlet, where art critic Horia Medeleanu made a synthetic presentation, while the opening was made by artist Valentin Stache. The young artists were Mihai Sabaila, Stelian Porumb, Gheorghe Cheveresan, Sorin Gules and Traian Rosculet, the latter, becoming, after ’89, an active member of the Kinema Ikon group in its Mixed Media stage, and of the Conversatia [The Conversation] magazine, whose computerized layout he made, until its transformation in 1993.
All this frail practice of computer graphics in Romania before ’89 was preceded and accompanied by a few attempts of informing the potentially interested audience. Thus, in 1972 was published anthology edited by V. E.Masek, Estetica. Informatie. Programare [Aesthetics. Information. Programming], comprising important texts by A. Moles, M. Bense, H. Frank, S. Maser, K. Alsleben, but also Mihai Dinu, Cezar Radu, Stefan Niculescu, and others. In 1974 was translated Abraham Moles’ book, Arta si ordinator [Art and Computer], then, in 1982, Radu Bagdasar publishes a book, Informatica Mirabilis, with the subtitle Arta si Literatura de calculator [Computer Art and Literature]. The same year, edited by professor Solomon Marcus, is published the collective work Semiotica matematica a artelor vizuale [Mathematical Semiotics of Visual Arts], containing two substantial texts in the field of the computer – art relationship, namely, Mihai Jalobeanu, Imaginile, producerea si prelucrarea lor cu sistemele actuale de calcul [Images, their Production and Processing with today’s Computing Systems] and Mihai Brediceanu, Timpul polimodular în artele vizuale [Polimodular Time in Visual Arts].
Source: George Sabau, "Contextual history of Kinema Ikon" (2005)