Cahiers du Cinéma is a first-time presentation of Vladimir Setran’s  Sketch-books: drawing, painting, mixed media. In the space of two weeks, we shall introduce to the viewer over 100 of his sketch-books, very diverse in thematic and technical approach, many of them being art objects in themselves, made by the artist through collage of textile and metallic material and natural fibres.  

‘Over a full decade, the “Unmatched Generator of Sequences”, Vladimir Şetran has basically invented ‘cascade-drawing’in the Romanian art landscape. His ample nude series called Sânziene, the canine atlas, the domestic animals, the ordinary vegetables, the plants series or the unrelenting rhythm of the line-blots abstracts, the barcode series and, recently, the music scores, have all become seductive exhibition constructs.

Following his overwhelming studio productivity, the Sketch-books have finally come to light. ’25 images per second’ is the optical mechanism of the cinematographic optical illusion.

We are tempted to say that,  from his ‘studio-home capsule’, Şetran’s imagination conjures up an enthusiastic output of at least 25 pages per hour. He actually paints in cinema series format, with some of the sketch-books as large as a codex.  He uses the tools of the graphic designer and draughtsman, as well as various other tools which he invents on the spot, in order to produce extraordinary textures, fragments, rhythms. The leafing through the sketch-books, at various speeds,  becomes in itself a new composition state and visual bliss.

With absolute dexterity, a tonic, polymorphous artist who radiates energy like a music big-band, Vladimir Şetran offers us a matchless lesson in creativity - starting from any kind of stimulus, any graphic motif or color element. In these Sketch-books, scrupulously numbered in Roman script, the artist exudes the  state of creative freedom of the assured master. We are dealing here with an artist who is able to improvise starting from any graphic pretext, producing series of tens and tens of variations on a particular art motif: rhythmic drawing, abstract painting, powerful color field, explorations in pursuit of a rare tone, a kind of chemistry or an exquisite color episode. The given script, if any,  appears to him as a kind of obligation, best ignored, as he goes for the winning bet of the artistic spontaneous creativity. These are regular paper and cardboard sheets, bound on a side, with or without a sown-in spine, marked and eventually dated, then signed or stamped with a red dot, always placed in an idiosyncratic manner

All through this oratorium, we witness a mesmerizing metamorphosis of rhythm and graphic textures, which become the unambiguous subject-matter of the painter’prowess. One feels, above anything else, the metabolic birth of Setran’s  drawing-continous. The spark-inspiration turned into long-distance visual energy gives the particular kind of decision of the eye and the inventiveness of the manufacturing procedures deployed on a self-assigned restrictive theme.  What is astonishing, with each piece, is the disruptive element, the variation nugget, the whimsical expressive repeat of an accident. Because the wealth of the ‘interval’ in an ample series, which originated in an apparently banal motif but which is handled with Falstaff-like bravura, is in fact the brand of Setran’s the great master status.

 (Aurelia Mocanu, art critic)