PAUL NEAGU (1938-2004)
Romanian-born artist Paul Neagu lived and worked in London until his death in 2004. Neagu's philosophical approach to his art led him to push the boundaries of abstraction. Having used his own body as a medium in his performance of ‘ritual’ events, Neagu’s work often referred to embodied experience. He promoted a tactile engagement with his artworks: his ‘palpable’ objects and ‘tactile’ boxes deliberately invited touch. Always informed by his experience of conflict and his desire to express the paramount importance of the spirit in the modern world, his works could command an intensely visceral response.
Born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1938, Neagu spent his early years living under Stalinist Military occupation in Bucharest. He studied at the Bucharest Institute of Fine Arts, before moving to London in 1969. His first museum show took place at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford in 1975. Neagu was also a well-respected teacher, most notably lecturing at the Hornsey, the Slade and Chelsea, and in 1976 he achieved the position of Associate Professor at the Royal College of Art. Among his British students were Antony Gormley, Anish Kapoor and Rachel Whiteread. Neagu’s work has been exhibited at The National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest; the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; New Museum, New York and MACBA, Barcelona, among others. Neagu's sculptures, paintings, drawings and documentation of his performances are in numerous public collections, including the British Museum, London; Tate (including the Paul Neagu display room at Tate Modern); the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. He has had two public sculptures erected in his homeland: Century Cross, in Charles de Gaulle Plaza, Bucharest; and Crucifixion in Timisoara.