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Interview with Stefan Surugiu - Fine Art Compositions & Fine Art Vision 20/20

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

This Fall, the exhibition "Fine Art Vision 20/20" illustrated the concept of giclée fine art printing by presenting under the same roof the artwork of five Romanian artists, all collaborators of our studio Fine Art Imaging.

This urban event generated multiple echoes in the media and captured the attention of an unexpected wide audience among the young public (which, to be honest, we did not really know exits :)

Intended to allow to discover more about these artists and their creations, we present you the story of Ștefan Surugiu, who, trough-out his "minimalism compositions" welcomed us into the surrealistic atmosphere of his collection "Naked Soul"

Stefan Surugiu at Fine Art Vision 20/20

Who is Stefan Surugiu? – a few words about him and his artwork

I am a passionate of photography and digital art. My works try to express concepts or themes of reflection reduced to a minimum of form. Both through the minimalism approached in my digital compositions and through the multiple exposures or “moving” photographs (Intentional Camera Movement - ICM), I want a de-structuring of the subject and a realignment in a timeless context. Maybe that's why I'm more attracted to everything by black and white photography means, to reduce the subject to the essence and eliminating background noise.

Themes such as loneliness, isolation, love and death, are often encountered in my works and are practically a personal reformulation of these concepts that we live and follow us from the dawn of civilization. A minimalist approach can also be found in the case of current, everyday topics. My works do not seek to give us definitive answers or to give a certain direction, they are an invitation to debate, finding of balance through dialogue. Examples are the works Skin and Democrash, through these works I try to raise the issue of racial discrimination and the collapse of Western democracies but at the same time it is an invitation to debate on political correctness and its influence on freedom of expression. I try to bring these themes in front of the viewer but without being in favor of one approach or another.

When and how did you start creating?

I started my journey in the world of photography in the summer of 2017 when I bought my first camera, at that time I only had a lot of enthusiasm and zero experience. The desire to photograph appeared in the spring of 2017 when I discovered a Romanian photographer who, through his creations, transmitted this passion to me. Over the next few months I explored different types of photography, from street photography, candid to sports photography, from architectural photography to portrait photography. Of course, the results were not great at first, but it was a good exercise in understanding the rules of photographic composition.

Later I started to explore photographic styles less known to us, more fluid styles with less emphasis on the technical side and a greater emphasis on the creative side, among which I mention Intentional Camera Movement and multiple exposures.

Where do you find inspiration?

I think the inspiration comes first of all from within, from the passion for what I do, from introspection, from the world around us, from everyday life.

What artists do you appreciate and why?

It is difficult to list all those who in one way or another caught my attention and influenced my perspective on photography.

I start with Julia Anna Gospodarou, an impressive artist in the field of fine art architectural photography. The way she manages to highlight the architectural details, the play of shadows, the contrast and the finesse with which she works is an ideal for many of the photographers who want to approach this theme.

Berlin photographer Frank Machalowski opened up the world of multiple exposures to me. He has an extraordinary series of multiple exposures made on film, later also on the subject of multiple exposures I discovered Pep Ventosa.

Another special photographer is Alexey Titarenko who between 1991-1994 made the series City of Shadows using long exposures, probably multiple exposures too, he manages to convey to us the depressing atmosphere of post-soviet St. Petersburg. The way the crowds are portrayed as ghosts, as shadows reflects both the photographer's personal mood and the shock of freedom for those who have lived so long in communism. By extension, it was probably the same for us, the enthusiasm of the overthrow of a totalitarian regime was quickly replaced by a "depression of freedom", the uncertainty of tomorrow and the impossibility of quickly adapting to a new situation.

On the photographic composition side, the one I first discovered was the Greek photographer Vassilis Tangoulis, his compositions are "clean" and timeless. Also through his works I realized that there is a niche for fine art compositions. Before I discovered it, I was asking myself the question of ethics regarding the use of compositional elements from stock photos. I realized that it is not wrong to use elements from different stock photos and so the Pandora's Box opened, I could give voice to my own imagination in ways I only dreamed of.

These are just some of the photographers and artists that marked the beginning of my journey.

Why fine art compositions? What is / was the biggest challenge?

As I mentioned above, the discovery of conceptual photography, of fine art compositions opened another world for me, but to reach something tangible, a transposition of my own imagination into an artwork I needed to learn the technique and processes that can lead to the expected result. Of course there are no tutorials for such a thing and I often had to do a bit of reverse engineering, through many trials and errors to find out how I can get different effects like simulating long exposures, shadows and realistic reflections, how to search and put in the same composition elements from different photographs, how to understand light and perspective. This challenge is continuous and dynamic, it is a process through which you always discover something new, a process of continuous learning.

Another challenge, which took me almost a year, was that of multiple exposures like those of Frank Machalowski and Pep Ventosa, although the solution was relatively simple but I could not see it.

How did you find out about Fine Art Imaging (FAI) studio and why do you work with them?

I came to Fine Art Imaging by chance, I knew I wanted the best quality for the prints that I wanted to make. At that time I did not know much about the whole process and the industry but I wanted to offer a premium quality and so I came to the conclusion that the giclée technique could be the answer.

I discovered the Fine Art Imaging Studio - FAI during an internet search, I was attracted by their experience in the western art markets and collaboration with museums for their high quality reproductions, as well as the way the site was made and the explanations offered about the whole process of giclée print.

After setting up a meeting and presenting some print samples, I realized that FAI is not only offering giclée print services, their advice and expertise in the field is invaluable, especially for someone at the beginning of the road. The advice offered by Flavia helped me to navigate and discover the joy of having a finished product of the best quality that I can offer with confidence to customers knowing that that work will last a long time.

How was the Fine Art Vision 20/20 exhibition?

The Fine Art Vision 20/20 exhibition was a unique experience. I liked first of all the concept of the exhibition, that of bringing under the same umbrella different styles and techniques of artistic expression as well as the presentation of the debutant artists together with the established ones. All this I think has managed to provide an oasis of spirituality for the Bucharest public at a time when we need so much of cultural events. I look forward to future editions because I am convinced that Fine Art Vision events will become a tradition and the participating artists will pleasantly surprise us.

What is the most interesting / challenging project for next year?

For the future I want to deepen the learned techniques and I would like to approach surreal compositions, crowded, confusing but full of symbolism, a direction in the area diametrically opposed to the simplicity of minimalism found in works presented to the public so far.

Thank you very much Ștefan for sharing all this with us. We look forward to discovering your new pristine artistic Fine Art Compositions and, of course, continuing our collaboration.

Flavia Parvu,

Founding Director Fine Art Imaging

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