b. 1935, Dăncăuţi
Vladimir Şetran is one of the first and most influential professors of Romanian design and a senior-generation painter of outstanding merit. He studied in Cluj and Bucharest and has been hyperactive in various visual experiments, working with unique tools which he invented himself. His impressive œuvre spans over half a century: powerful figurative and abstract painting, graphics and drawing, in hedonistic and also austere and thoughtful representations of the world. His endless series of Nudes – shown hanging in the trees-in-blossom of his country-side garden - and the erotic painting folders are as famous as his abstract Untitled series, where heavy layers of paint slide across the canvas like primeval lava, and likewise the minutely drawn, ludic Fruit and Vegetables, turned into proper characters in an aesthetic anthology. He took part in numerous exhibitions in Romania and overseas - from Paris to Prague, from Moscow to Vienna and Ulan Bator, with a resounding participation in 1971 in the Edinburgh International Festival with Demarco Gallery. His works can be found in private collections in Romania, France, Austria, Germany, USA, Turkey, Lebanon, and Great Britain. Awarded the Cultural Merit Order and the National Order of Faithful Service, Şetran also received the Fine Artists' Union Grand Prize for Painting in 1964. the Union's Grand Prize for Mural Art in 1984 and the Artist's Union Award in 2017. From 2011 he is represented by AnnArt Gallery, where he had five major solo shows (Sânziene. 2012), then the Şetran Season: Open Diary, 2013, Untitled and Etcetera, 2014, followed by Cahiers du Cinema, 2016). He lives and works in Bucharest.
Vladimir Şetran is an euphoric of the sensation, indulging in the rapacity of seeing and that of offering to sight. Energetic, always surprising, well established, though, in craft and reflection, he manages to be offensive without abusing rigid certainties (“Certitude is dangerous”, he once said) and to parade, every time he comes out on stage, a virtuosity that has nothing to do with hollow ingenuousness, or arrogant gesticulation. A classic without a dogma one could say. And without obsessions about studio rules.
Senior of all plastic dexterity, beloved professor of the Design section at it’s beginnings, Şetran is unable to feel a drop of fear in front of the blank paper. On the contrary, he has a rablesianic craving to give it life and spirit. His silhouettes are, in fact, minimal anatomic details and, sometimes, tonic apparitions of colour intrusions. It is fulfilling the voluptuousness of his contour lines, that trace the memories of anatomic curves, and the dynamic of nonchalante postures.
Şetran is a master in building multiple layers of separation and envelopment of reality: the chromatic is dreamlike, the naturalism of shape - complete, and the abstract and sudden imprint of color lures us like Lady Morgana. Vitality is triumphant. The withered and the lifeless are nowhere in sight. Nor so our profound existential loneliness. But they exist, deep in the core, in the restlessness of the cut, in the white wound of an ordinary radish. Looking at the fruit and vegetablesseries of painting, Etcetera,
I understand that the parsnip’s breaking away from the embrace is only possible by dismemberment. Because in fact our journey in the world is neither serene nor safe from pitfalls. But given that it is real and can apparently be re-loaded in the human-vegetable hybrid, the game is fabulous and fully worth it.