(b. 1938, Bucharest - d. 2004, London)
Paul Neagu is one of the most important Romanian conceptualist artists, with a renowned contribution in the field of experimental object, installation and performance, all conceived inside a holistic approach on art. Trained as an artist in Romania, he moves to London in the early ‘70s, mixing his creative pursuits with teaching at the Royal College of Art and later at the Slade School of Art and Hornsey School of Art, where he had an outstanding influence on the next generations of artists (some of them now famous, such as Anish Kapoor). His works have been shown in prestigious venues - the Hayward Gallery in London, Great Britain, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and The New Museum, USA, the Modern Art Museum in Paris, France, the MNAC in Bucharest and the Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu, Romania. Paul Neagu features in many collections and museums, including the Tate Modern in London, as well as in public spaces from the Durham Cathedral, to 'magical landscapes' in South China. Two of his monumental works are displayed in Romanian public spaces – The Century Cross in Bucharest, since 1997, and Crucifixion in Timişoara, since 1999. Paul Neagu went on to become, in 2012, the first artist from Romania whose work is installed in a permanent public space in Great Britain - Edgerunner, unveiled in Owen's Field Park, in Islington London, where Neagu lived and worked for over 30 years.
I Realised then, that paul Neagu had no intention to produce art objects in the normal and accepted sense by those who believe in the virtues of art for the sake of art. The objects inside that room demanded to be considered as receptacles for spiritual energy. They were recipients destined to reorganize the memory of the European race.
I would like to situate Paul Neagu’s creation right at the center of one of the most important modern art currents, the one that originates in the dialectic of The Mind and Material (…) We are in the Brâncuşi, Malevicvi, Gabo affiliation.
Neagu’s influence was intense. It’s not a coincidence that among the British sculptors of the 80’s and the 90’s, the most prominent, were his students – Cragg, Deacon, Gormley, Houshiary, Kapoor, Langlands , Bell and Whitered.