One Song


Location: Hotel InterContinental Athénée Palace Bucharest

Artist: Roman Tolici


Created in 2009, the work One Song belongs to the Action series, one of the most spectacular series created by Roman Tolici, this one being the result of a challenge which the artist proposed to himself – namely to approach painting in a cinematographic way. The series explores the static image as a sequence of an action, following its instability and suppleness. „It is not as much a research of movement per se, as it is the research of the action and its consequences”, said the artist in a conversation with art historian and curator Oana Tănase.

One Song suggests to the audience a summer day decoupage, a moment captured in the heart of Cișmigiu Park, the oldest public garden of Bucharest. The scene is populated by characters of all ages, gathered around the pavilion, where a song is sung by two voices. Music becomes thus the main character of this work, celebrating beauty on multiple planes, visually and acoustically, inviting the audience in an almost dreamlike space, set in the middle of the city, a space of harmony, like a musical break in the loud narrative of the metropolis.

We encounter in One Song impressionistic accents – pure chromatics, fine touches of brush which simulate real light, the whole scene cut out from nature. In an essay dedicated to the artist’s work, the English curator Matthew Price notices how “Roman Tolici’s paintings take us places where the laws of figurative painting – the perspective, the space ratios, the proportions, the light and shadow, colour and tone, line and form ratios – are implemented with an incredible accuracy and sustain the image he chose with convincing realism. Still, they remain picturesque, the hand of the artist is always present. And precisely when the laws of the real world and the realistic painting appear in the foreground, Tolici takes us elsewhere. It’s as though he breaks a glass ceiling and leads us to hyperrealist, irrational, metaphysical places.” 


One of the most acclaimed contemporary artists in Romania, Roman Tolici was born in 1974, in Ghetlova village, in the centre of the Republic of Moldova. He started his studies at the Igor Vieru Art School in Chișinău, but his interest for images and visual culture had been manifesting ever since his first years of childhood spent in the rural landscape. He moves to Bucharest in 1990, when he becomes a scholarship student of Nicolae Tonitza Art Highschool. In 1997 he defends his bachelor’s thesis in a public exhibition called Identities, organized in the Constantin Brâncuși Hall of the Palace of Parliament. 

After trying his hand at graphics, animation, and photography, Roman Tolici chooses painting as a means of expressing his artistic endeavour. His work is associated with a photographic realism, infused by poetry and a hyperrealist feeling of daily life. Tolici’s paintings seem to be details of a monumental story, in which the general questions and anxieties of man can be found. This narrative force transforms recurrent topics into endless chapters and reflections of everyday life, into projections about time, memory and the traces we leave in our passing, by building a personal archive of the times we are living.