On the 20th of March 2019, London College of Contemporary Arts opened its galleries to celebrate Anne Tognaq, a unique artist whose artworks, showcased in galleries around the world¸ gathered many appreciative accolades. The exhibition was initiated by Mrs.Cristina Golescu, the President of RCCT (Romanian Cultural Charitable Trust) and hosts an impressive collection consisting of 30 german expressionism art treasures and its theme reflects the irremediable deterioration of the human condition in nowadays’ society. The patron of the exhibit was Paul-Philippe Hohenzollern, Prince of Romania. Deeply impressed by Anne Tognaq’s striking talent demonstrated when she painted a portrait of his family, the member of the Royal House of Romania encouraged the creation of art pieces that vehemently transmit the essence of an era that marked a whole nation.
Anne Tognaq found the roots of inspiration in the dark history of 20th century Romania, a place where externalizing your creativity and standing out was a precarious political trespass. She claims that her coming of age as an artist was a response to the absolute control and constant supervision of the communist society. She recalls: “I didn’t realise when I’ve started painting that I would like to become an artist. It was the only way to express the frustration of living in a communist society. It’s a natural consequence of Communism rule to restrict artistic creation, but actually the opposite happened – the artists became more creative. The terrifying surveillance inspired me to paint slaves and ruling monsters, angels and demons.”
To be an artist in Communist Romania meant to conform to the particular interpretation of socialist realism and the Western standards of artistic freedom were just a myth. However, Anne managed to subvert the unforgiving censorship by transforming the socialist realism into pure and authentic german expressionism. Her work represents the artistic encapsulation of what life was like in the ‘dark’ era. The emotions transmitted by Anne’s dizzying paintings are so strong that you can easily become uncertain of your own senses and forget that you are in London in 2019. They will instantly transport you to a different place and time and you will experience the struggle of a nation and perceive the artist’s endless fascination for escaping the brainwashed society.
At the beginning of the previous century, Pablo Picasso affirmed that “There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterwards, you can remove all traces of reality.” Anne Tognaq exquisitely demonstrates this through her striking art composition, which is full of meaningful symbolic valences. Starting with a dark page of history, she entirely removes the dust of the everyday life and leaves the pure, unrefined essence of the human soul. Constructed in the unmistakeable german expressionist style of depicting the dreamlike imagery, Anne’s paintings have the power to jolt the viewer out of their comforting assumptions. The focal point in her paintings consists of the human/s visualised and the choice of colours greatly enhances this representation, as it indirectly characterizes them. Anne Tognaq’s artworks are far from being decorative pieces – through a perfect symbiosis of conscious and subconscious artistic effort, the artist tells a story that reflects the true vision of reality.