press release

Opening on Friday the 15th of May 2015, from 7pm at Intrarea Armașului no. 12, Bucharest, Romania.
Curator: dr. Joana Grevers
Introduction: prof. dr. Livius Ciocârlie

A catalogue containing works and reviews of the artists and their connection will be available on the occasion of the exhibition.

Roman Cotoșman - Diet Sayler. An Artist Friendship

The re-join of the two artists more than half a century from their first meeting is a great opportunity to see an important display of Concrete Art in Bucharest. Roman Cotoșman is given the deserved attention that he lacked along his lifetime, while Diet Sayler returns to a place where he started almost fifty years ago. The circle of history spins round and round.

Roman Cotoșman (1935-2006) and Diet Sayler (b. 1939) had met in a painting studio in Timisoara while they were making classical studies after nature. The studio belonged to the notorious painter Julius Podlipny (1898-1991), the first president of local Union of Artists’ branch and member of the teaching staff in the Art Highschool, an authoritarian figure of those times. Usually, in the art world, this kind of friendship is not meant to last from various reasons, but here we are talking about two marginalized personalities in Ceaușescu's Romania who were searching for similarities that were hard to find around them. Their artistic preoccupations were so different from those of their fellow artists. Without romancing the given situation, they were searching for their mirror reflection in the other, the kind, the fellow artist. Naturally, their early concerns in art were important steps in their further evolution as artists.

The two artist friends liked to call themselves “Corsists”, a witty alternative to local academism and formalism. Their meetings took place up and down on Corso Boulevard from Timisoara. During their sunset walks, they were discussing politics, philosophy and art. Diet Sayler studied Civil Engineering, Roman Cotoșman studied Theology, both of them being self-taught in the field of arts. They learned about art through discussions and experiment, and not by sterile studies from nature or imposed patterns by mediocre teachers with conservative ideas.

Sayler and Cotoșman exhibited together in Romania only a few times, their most important (and historical) show was 5 Artists from Timisoara, opened on May 7th 1968 at Kalinderu gallery from Bucharest, curated by Eugen Schileru and considered being the first abstract-constructivist exhibition in Romania. Not long after this historical nodal point, their destinies were torn apart as they moved to different continents. Diet Sayler lived in Bucharest until 1972, when he immigrated to Germany and stayed in Nuremberg until today. Roman Cotoșman moved to Philadelphia, in the United States, where he lived until his death in 2006. They kept in touch all this time, having a few collaborations along the years. In 1981, Roman Cotosman has been invited by Diet Sayler to an exhibition in Nuremberg, together with Rudolf Valenta, at Johanna Richard Gallery. Diet Sayler was the curator of the exhibition. Also, he curated Konkret neun in 1989, when Roman Cotoșman was invited to his second show in Nuremberg. (Simona Vilau, April 2015)