(1) For some years, I contributed as a writer to the Saatchi Online Magazine. Here a small selection.

Teodor Dumitrescu’s people belong to nowhere. They stand alone in the landscape and appear abandoned and lost in the wide, stretched out deserts of the world. By placing his subjects in the middle of the painting with no significant surroundings or landmarks to give them any sense of location or direction, Dumitrescu creates works that radiate a strong sense of alienation and a feeling of solemnity that only the refugees seems to know.

Dumitrescu’s works show the unwanted side of travelling, of changing countries and of constantly being on the go. His old-fashioned looking paintings reflect the memories of the homeland, the recollections of childhood and the nostalgia that accompanies the move away from familiarity. There is a tragic side to each life-changing journey, which is captured in the loss of loved ones and the unpleasant aspects of the unknown.

‘The Coming Flood’ (2007) shows a travelling elephant carrying five people with umbrellas and belongings. It is impossible to know where to go with no clear destination, only a reason to leave. The journey can be exciting but is frightening and sad all the same. The travellers carry the weight of what’s left behind, and of what will never return.

Some of Dumitrescu’s works, for instance Chemical Doll (2007), Louder than Bombs (2007) and Heavy Rain (2006) have a more worldly connotation, depicting the perils of a society dominated by a political regime. Dumitrescu moved as a young boy with his parents to America in search for a better life away from communist Romania, and these works reflect a strong connection with his past.

Dumitrescu’s people may be victims of their surroundings, they also have a strong will to survive. There might not be much joy at the moment, but that does not mean they will give up their fight and their search for a safe place to stay. Dumitrescu’ s paintings show, besides tragedy, the strength and resilience that live in every travelling soul and the beauty and love that no violence can kill.


Driven by both intellect and passion, the human race lives in constant duality, switching back and forth between the input of our brains and the impulses of our instinct. Society demands us to rationally tame our temptations, while the animal inside us urges us to be passionate and free.

Intrigued by the purely instinctual nature of animals, Rune Olsen (1971, Norway) spent years artistically researching animal-behaviour in order to understand the human psyche. Through his sculptures Olsen explores how our instincts affect and determine our decisions, and which parts of our lives are censored for the sake of society.

For Everything I Long To Do (2005) is a sculptural installation showing an erotic embrace between a woman and an octopus. For the exhibition the intricately intertwined pair was hung in the middle of a room and enabled to slowly turn around in circles, showing the audience the full glory of their love-act. The sculpture, based on a woodcut by Japanese artist Hokusai (1814) called The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, questions impossible erotic fantasies and suppressed emotions, both as old as the human race.

Many of Olsen’s works address a similar topic. Velvet (2007) depicts two male deer heads on the wall; one of them licking the other’s antlers, while Cock ‘n Rabbit (2007) shows the sexual interaction between a rooster and a rabbit. Both works refer to homoerotic and interspecies animal sex, which, interestingly enough, predominantly exist in the human mind.

Instead of just exploring animalistic instincts,
Olsen projects human fantasies upon his creatures, triggering us to think about our own perversity and societal rules. The fact that the eyes of the animals are made of hand-painted glass balls that resemble the artist’s own eyes, might mean that it’s not just the animals we are looking at here, but human’s own inner beasts.

Urban existence doesn’t have to mean much more than a busy life surrounded by buildings. In between the concrete, steel and stone of the city we are cosmopolitan citizens, strolling around independently, rarely aware of our part in the bigger whole. Our surroundings are encapsulating, alienating and addictive, depending on the mood we’re in and the drugs we’ve taken. The city can be empty and soul-less, liberating and breathtaking.

Pamela Martinez embraces and contemplates the urban landscape and reflects in her series of oil paintings both the emptiness and abundance of the city. Her paintings mostly remind of the state of trance one can reach whilst travelling through a Spanish town on a lazy afternoon, when buildings blur like little blobs into clouded skies and colourful sunsets.

Transparent City (2007) is dark and industrial in the lower regions of the painting, with the chimneys of a factory visible against the dark red sky. The human ability to create darkness is confronting. We have an unstoppable tendency to pollute and destroy; to create smoke for the sake of survival. The more your eyes move away from the smog of the city, the cosier and lighter it becomes, although the shadow of the smoke never entirely seems to disappear.

Fragmented Landscape (2007) offers a panoramic view comparable to the ones visible from the Sacre Coeur in Paris, or the castle of Montjuic in Barcelona. The streets of the old city stretch out into the distance and break up into thousands of tiny houses with no apparent identity of their own. Martinez’ subtle but confident use of colour gives the cityscapes depth and character; they are recognisable as cities even though their relation to the real world remains unknown.

Martinez’ work confirms that cities can provoke many feelings but can also become interchangeable the moment we detach ourselves. As soon as we step back and squint our eyes the city remains nothing more than a collection of buildings in between which we can freely move around searching for our soul.