Writing Off the Walls 2022

Creativity in the age of CoVID

Brought to you by Studio Theater in Exile & Hudson Valley MOCA

Friends - Michael Sirken

Based on Serban Savu's Painting, Three Friends, 2009

On warm summer days wild birds were seen walking together across large back yards.

Nature in all its color and vibrancy sang its melody like a poem dropped from heaven.

What I remember most are the conversations and the games, of course.

Hydration was of upmost importance, and I won’t over-indulge;

Some brought water in plastic bottles, Poland Spring and the like.

The kind of bottles fit to be transformed into clothing.

Others brought iced water in thermoses or cold drinks with vitamins and electrolytes.

There were suits made for play, Nike and the like. And ordinary shorts and tees.

In late fall, layered clothing was the fashion with heavy sweats, even coats.

We exercised and ran enough to reach a fence or slice a ball that couldn’t be returned.

Levels varied; so, teams were made to keep competition balanced.

On court, we encouraged each other:” Good hit, nice whack, good run, attack!”

We always “left it all on the field”. Off court, we shared. We spoke.

Sometimes injury sidelined us, and we waited to return.

But now that covid-19 has separated us, when will we play again?

Or will it be a notice of a fallen friend via our handy cell phones?

Covid -19 or old age. Take your pick.

Feel free to navigate through the tabs to hear the recording/poem of Friends. All of these recording/poem are based on Serban Savu's painting, Three Friends, 2009.

Three Friends, 2009

Serban Savu

Romanian, born 1978

Three Friends, 2009

Oil on Canvas

64.2 x 86.2 inches

Savu's figurative paintings capture the daily life of contemporary Romanians. He lives in Cluj, Romania and makes his paintings in a former paintbrush factory. His subjects are his surroundings, his people and places, sometimes painted directly or other times invented. This context — historical, intellectual, and environmental — is his home living in the aftermath of Communism, or in his words, “its results, the effects of a failed utopia.”

His palate that creates an atmospheric distancing, and his straightforward manner of depicting subjects from the vantage point of a surveillance presents a world both convincingly real and alienating. Events are non-events. People are specific, yet without names or faces. Everything is quiet, maybe at times silent. He manipulates reality in order to make it more relevant.

“I always associate painting with literature. In order to speak you need to learn the language from your parents. In order to write a novel it is not enough just to know how to speak. I think you need to read a lot from the beginning of literature until today in order to have an idea about how to write a novel. I did the same with painting and I have seen art museums around the world and bought a few art books with artists I love. But after living in Venice for two years I deeply fell in love with Venetian painting. Painters like Giorgione, Bellini, Titian, Veronese or Tintoretto, to name just a few, are the figures that I venerate.”


About Serban Savu

Șerban Savu attended the University of Art and Design in Cluj, Romania (2001); he was awarded a two-year postgraduate research grant to Venice. His work has been exhibited Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Gallery of Fine Arts, Ostrava, Czech Republic, Ferenczy Museum Center, Szentendre, Hungary; Berlin, Germany and David Nolan Gallery, New York, NY (2009, solo).

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