The carefully selected body of works in the exhibition render the different means in which Brătescu engaged the primordial unit of the line – in curved, hard-edged, contained or spread compositions. For Brătescu, the line is manifest in the movement of the artist’s hand in space as it handles the pencil, the marker or the scissors, creating a flow of shapes, forms and sometimes even silhouettes. By turns playful and purposeful, Brătescu’s inexhaustible creativity runs as a common thread throughout the exhibition and can be seen in the vibrant proliferation of ideas in the artist’s notebook ‘Carnet’ (2014) and Linia (The Line) (2014), a series of drawings on post-it notes. Brătescu’s experiments with colour and line are developed further in ‘Untitled (The Line – Game of Forms)’ (2013), an extraordinary 35-part work that combines abstract and representational elements, described by the artist as traces of her memories and experiences.
Brătescu’s approach to materials evolved from an attitude towards her studio as both a physical and psychological space, a safe environment of enclosure as well as a stage for creative invention. Her freedom paradoxically emerged from this contained space of the studio: the freedom to be able to continue ‘drawing with scissors’ and exploring the new ideas that came to her every day. These ideas were generated by the texture of the paper, for example, and by the simple, everyday materials and objects which surrounded her. She frequently used these lo-fi, inexpensive elements as a point of departure and an intimate aesthetic emerges in the works which incorporate torn paper, coffee sticks, and match boxes, such as ‘Untitled (Fără titlu)’ (2013).
The films which feature in the exhibition, ‘Linia (The Line)’ (2014) and ‘The Gesture, The Drawing’ (2018) – the latter a collaboration with the artist Stefan Sava – reveal the inextricable link between Brătescu’s studio space and the creative process which can be likened to an act of performance, regardless of the medium. As Brătescu explained, ‘No matter what tool I might use, when I draw and then examine my work, I think that the musicality of the line is in my nature. I liked to dance. When I draw, I can say that my hand dances.’
The exhibition coincides with a book from Hauser & Wirth Publishers entitled ‘Geta Brătescu: Game of Forms’. This new publication features works from this series alongside excerpts from the artist’s diaries dating from 2008 to 2017. Brătescu studied both art and literature, and the duality of writing and drawing was central to her thought process and practice. During her lifetime, Brătescu published a number of books documenting her daily studio activities and personal experiences. Jeu de Formes is the title, originally in French, that she gave to the cycle of works that was the focus of the last decade of her career, consisting of collages and line drawings.