Visual Arts in Ayrshire
Paul Neagu and his sculpture
In 1975, Neagu made his first Hyphen - it started life as a three-legged workbench assembled somewhat in the folk tradition of Romanian furniture. Quickly Neagu understood the immense metaphysical potential of this tripod structure. From it he evolved a complete anthropocosmic view which, in parallel with Joseph Beuys in Germany and, previously, Yves Klein in France, suggested a spiritual remedy for the ills of contemporary man.
This went against British taste, but in its turn had a considerable influence on a generation of students. This work gave birth to a series of conceptual elaborations of the Hyphen and the Starhead (an elaboration of the hyphen), an example of which was commissioned to be placed outside Charing Cross, London, although bureaucratic obstacles prevented it going up.
At this time Neagu began to teach at Hornsey College of Art and at Chelsea School of Art. He was an influential teacher in that he had an international outlook, which was perhaps his main legacy to his students. His intellectual clarity was refreshing in an era when ‘making’ seemed to be more important than thinking. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Neagu continued to develop the Hyphen as a form, but a rigidity entered his practice. It was as if the Hyphen too fully encapsulated a formal and symbolic world and that earlier inventiveness was left behind.
In 2003, after much difficulty, Tate Britain acquired his 30-year archive and exhibited some of his work from the 1970s and 1980s.
This page is based on recollections by Mike Bailey
, and other published sources. Mrs Mary E Maclaurin's
Trust is a Registered Scottish Charity
Maclaurin Art Collection ~ Updated March 5, 2016