Radu Varia HRSA
Our era is often proclaimed as the era of communication, while in fact it is the era of non-communication, because it eliminates the essential, the being, putting the ephemeral instead of the permanent and the secular in front of the sacred.
So, it was a wonderful surprise for me to see that at the Tatarashi Atheneum, in my native city of Iassy – far from tablets, mobile phones and computers – about 200 teenagers come every day to study music, design, sculpture, poetry, theatre, ballet.
Impressed by all this, I decided to offer the Atheneum over 100 panels with photographs and texts that illustrate my adventure in the great universe of art, from Constantin Brancusi to Salvador Dali, from Edinburgh to the international art scene and the major museums in the world.
And this, saying to my new friends that the road to the stars is long and, as long as it can be, it starts with the first step. A step I invite them to take together.
At the same time, I presented them with a photo of me at the Amber Palace in Jaipur on the back of an elephant, mentioning that in the Vedic tradition the elephant is the being who remembers all previous lives, telling them that we, too, should not forget what a fabulous past we come from.
Radu Varia HRSA holds a degree from the University of Bucharest and a doctorate in History of Art and Civilization from the University of Paris. A friend of Salvador Dalí's, the two collaborated in preparing the 1974 opening of the Dalí Museum in Figueras. Dalí also dedicated a 1972 poem to Radu Varia, who awakened the painter's interest in Romanian culture and history.
He has also helped set up every major exhibit of Horia Damian's work since the early 1970s. Among these have been shows at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Musée National d'Art Moderne (Centre Pompidou) and Grand Palais in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, Documenta IX in Kassel, the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Art Biennial or the Mogoşoaia Palace. The last, taking place in 2009, brought together for the first time Damian's work from 1930 to 1946. The Romanian Academy presents in 2022 the exhibition dedicated to the Centenary of Horia Damian’s birth, including paintings, drawings, lithographs, sculptures and documents from Radu Varia’s collection .
He has made a thorough study of the works of Constantin Brancusi, writing essays and books on the subject, in particular the 1986 Brancusi that appeared first in the United States (Rizzoli), later in France (Gallimard, 1989) and in Japan (New Art Seibu, 1993).
Radu Varia has lectured widely since the 1970s, including at an afternoon tutorial held by Marshall McLuhan at the University of Toronto, at Waseda University in Tokyo, at the Museum der Weltkulturen in Frankfurt, at the Romanian Academy in Bucharest, at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, at the Shenzhen University in China.
He is a Knight of the Legion of Honour since 2000 and, from 2005, a Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity. In 2011 he was awarded, by the President of Romania, the Order of Cultural Merit and received the Silver Medal of the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. In 2012 he is elected Honorary Member of the Royal Scottish Academy. In 2015 he was awarded the Mihai Eminescu International Academy Prize. In 2018 he was elected Doctor Honoris Causa of Chisinau Academy of Arts. In 2018 as well he became a Member of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in Paris and Member of the Academia Scientiarum et Artium Europaea in Salzburg.