“Sculpture should be appreciated by all five senses.”
Paul Neagu (b. 1938 Bucharest/Romania – d. 2004 London/UK) was a British-Romanian sculptor, painter, performance artist, teacher and poet.
He made a crucial contribution to the development of conceptual art in Britain and, after 1990, in Romania as well. As a teacher, he had a great impact on those who later became some of Britain’s leading sculptors, including Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley or Anish Kapoor.
Paul Neagu grew up in Timișoara, Romania, and he graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest in 1963. In 1969, Neagu travelled to the UK for the very first time, after an invitation to Edinburgh from gallerist and impresario Richard Demarco. In spring 1970 the artist left Romania, travelling to Paris and Edinburgh and then London, which he made his home for the next thirty-four years, exhibiting widely and teaching at art schools. In 1972 he founded the Generative Art Group, which consisted of himself plus four other fictitious members, each representing different parts of his psyche: poet, philosopher, painter, designer.
The artist’s diverse artistic practices ranged from performance, body art and installation, to sculpture, drawing, painting, printmaking and poetry. Anthropocosmos, his Catalytic Stations, of which the Hyphen the most complex, the performances Blind Bite, Horizontal Rain, Going Tornado are some of his most well known central topics.
Paul Neagu’s work has been exhibited at the Paris Biennale, the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein; at Modern Art Oxford, the Whitechapel, the Hayward and the Serpentine Galleries, the Institute for Contemporary Art and the Tate in London; at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, Gallery K in Tokyo and Moderna Galerija in Ljubljana, among many international venues.
His works can be found in many public collections amongst which are The Arts Council Collection (London), The Henry Moore Foundation (Leeds). The National Museum of Art (Bucharest), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo), The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh), The Tate (London), The Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the Kontakt Collection (Vienna) and Art Collection Telekom (Bonn).
Paul Neagu was a truly universal artist, a sophisticated intellectual and the creator of a unique artistic vocabulary.
Paul Neagu – The Retrospective, BRUSEUM, Neue Gallerie Graz (details)
Paul Neagu. A Retrospective, The National Museum of Art Timișoara (details)
Performers and Participants, Tate Modern (details)
Independent Art Fair, New York (details)