OLARIU, Octavian




7740 Wiseman, Montreal, H3N 2N9, Canada.

Strada Ostașilor, nr. 4, etaj 3, ap. 10, sector 1, București, România.


        Almost impossible to think of it outside a tyrannical imperative of stability, the sculpture only approaches movement in order to suspend it. In the best case scenario, it only suggests, through an ingenious game of axis, or through the "impressive" model of the surfaces. Beyond these artifices, sculpture always remains the technique to find the optimal point of immobility for every movement.  This represents its specific majesty and also, its limit. And when - in its kinetic version - sculpture tries to become movement, but it still overcomes its limit contradicting simultaneously its original composition. If - following the word of Alan - "the sculpture’s object is to rather represent true unmovement", then kinetic sculpture represents a para-sculpture, a paradox. Besides, rather illustrating a mechanical movement, kinetics is not less reducible to the statics of an elemental physics law whose fatally monotonous graphic lowers the unpredictability of the natural movement to a dull repetitive phenomenon.
          From this perspective, the interesting point in Octavian Olariu’s art is its unusual relation to the matter of representing movement in fine arts. He equally refuses the lethargic equilibrium of the traditional statuary and the significant externality of modern kinetics. Olariu’s "Monoxiles" do not reduce movement to repose, nor postulate it as an opposite pole of repose. They deduce movement from repose, establishing the fundamental coherence between the germinal and timeless sleep of the primordial stasis and its endless multiplicity of its derivatives in time. At first sight, Olariu’s performance seems to be an insignificant "hocus-pocus". He found the - stupefying - method to convert the rudimentary volume of any block of wood into a labyrinth of articulations and he does this only through a few judiciously calculated notches. In other words, Olariu succeeds to obtain only with a saw something that usually is unattainable without laboriously manipulating screws, nails, gluing and hinges. Of this arsenal, the sculptor dispenses with a disconcerting grace; he has the spirit to simply unfold a compact volume after he had mentally followed the multitude of dynamic probabilities which he implies. It is just as someone would succeed to model the amorphous substance of a seed in such a way that he could obtain from it the entire complexity of an adult plant organism. The movement contained in Olariu’s works is, obviously, of the type of organic growth included in the genetic program of seeds. It is precise until the formula. However, it is of a poorly controlled fancy. It is simultaneously equation and metaphor. Its pattern seems to be the cosmogonic adventure of diversifying the One.
          Creation begins with the immutable simplicity of a mysterious "primum movens" and it ends in the epic complication of a world in which the homogeneity of the origins is no longer perceivable. Here’s why, in Olariu’s effort to obtain the multiple not by combining disparate elements, but by letting uniqueness to become, to develop, to deny itself, not a simple victory of sagacity is to be observed, but rather a profound intuition regarding the nature of things.
          Remarkable is the lack of mannerism with which this intuition communicates itself to the viewer. Olariu’s virtuosity is foreign to any solemnity. It flaunts the nonchalance of an ancient "self-understood", whose structural elements persist through the energy of a well-cultivated craft tradition. The technical solutions of the sculptor, reminding us of the prompt naturalness of the egg of Columbus, do not exhaust the gratuity of a ruleless game. They have the jovial sobriety of a proverb and the ironical intelligence of a riddle. The objects in which these solutions embody are equally clear, communicative and secret. Each position which they can get is self-sufficient and yet infinitely exploitable. The universal life’s pulse itself manifests in the virtual cyclicality of these objects. Because, once spread into all the directions of space, wood can always wrap up around itself. It can recollect, it can regain its original monolithic condition. In this manner, sculpture accepts the movement component, but also a movement that is simply the breading gestures of wood, the flux and reflux of the original matter, sometimes dispersed into things, sometimes leaning inwards. In Olariu’s "Monoxiles" are reflected, one by one, our amazement and the discreet amusement of his personal wisdom.

Andrei Pleșu (Revista „Arta”, nr. 8/1979)




    (1931, Bretea Muresana, Hunedoara)

    Academic studies:
    1957 - 1963 -"Ion Andreescu" Institute of Fine Arts, specializing in Sculpture, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

    Professional activity:
    1955 - 1957 - Draws cartoons for a humorous magazine "The Nettle", Romania;
    1983 - Jury member for the "1983 Annual Exhibition ", Romanian Cultural Centre, Montreal, Canada;
    2000 - Sculpture selected for the film Pluto Nach, made ​​by Warner Bros., starring the actor Eddy Murphy.
    Member of the Romanian Fine Arts Union (Bucharest Branch).
    Member of the Order of the Professors of Bucharest, Romania.
    Member of the Sculpture Council in Quebec. 


    Solo exhibitions:
    1970 - "Simeza" Gallery (22 sculptures), Bucharest, Romania;
    1974 - "Apollo" Gallery (10 sculptures), Bucharest, Romania;
    1978 - Personal exhibition (15 sculptures in wood and stone), Bucharest, Romania;
    1985 - "Traghetto" Gallery, Venice, Italy;  
    1987 - "Alliance" Gallery, Montreal, Canada.
    Group exhibitions:
    1964 - 1980 – Participates in all collective exhibitions , both nationally and locally, Bucharest, Romania;
    1975 – Plastik Und Blumen, Romanian-German sculpture exhibition,  participating with one sculpture, Berlin, Germany;
    1977 - Romanian Sculpture Exhibition, participating with two wooden sculptures, Prague, Czechoslovakia;
    1978 - Venice Biennale, guest of honor, participating with 10 wood carvings, Italy;
    1980 - Romanian Sculpture Exhibition, participating with two wooden sculptures, Moscow, USSR;
              - International Sculpture Biennale, participating with three wood carvings, Second Edition, Skironio, Greece;
    1981 – Belgrade Sculpture Exhibition, participating with two wood carvings, Yugoslavia;
    1982 - Sculpture Council Exhibition, participating with one wooden carving, "Terre des Hommes", Montreal, Canada;
              - The exhibition organized by the Ministry of Cultural Communities and Immigration Quebec, participating with wood carving, Quebec  Pavilion, "Terre des Hommes", Montreal, Canada;
             - 1982 Confrontation, participating with one wooden carving, Botanical Garden of Montreal, Canada;
    1983 – Confrontation, sculpture exhibition held by "Terre des Hommes" Sculpture Council, Montreal, Canada;
              - Exhibition Galleries, participating with one wooden carving, Palace of Congres, Montreal, Canada;
    1988 - Collective Exhibition, participating with three stainless steel sculptures, "Constantin Brancusi"Cultural Center, Montreal, Canada;
    1992- 50 artists in Venice, Palazzo Querini, Italy;
    2002 - Mont Orford Exhibition, participating with a monoxyl wooden carving, Canada;
    2005-11 Monuments in Romania and Abroad, "Simeza" Gallery, Bucharest, Romania.
    1974 - International Woodcarving Symposium, participating with two sculptures, Prilep, Yugoslavia;
    1979 - Casoaia International Sculpture Camp, First Edition, participating with the work Struggle of Opposites, Alba, Romania;
    1980 - International Woodcarving Symposium "Forma Prima" Krapina, Yugoslavia;
              - Stone Sculpture Symposium, Zarand, Arad, Romania;
    1988 – Lachine Sculpture Symposium, participating with a stainless steel sculpture, Canada.
    Monumental works:
    1974 - Avram Iancu (monument, stone), Aiud, Alba, Romania;
    1977 - Monument in bronze, Giurgiu, Romania;
    1983 - Trinity (traditional wooden cross), Romanian Church in Montreal, Canada;
    1984 – Carves the largest monoxyl in the world (Guinness World Record Canada), a work mentioned in "Stanke Canada, 1989";
              - He was offered a paid vacation in Italy by an art collector to execute a large wooden carving, Osoppo, Italy;
    1985 - Carving of several wooden sculptures of various sizes, at the invitation of one of the greatest art collectors, Osoppo, Italy;
    1989 - Star tear (stainless steel), Romanian Cultural Centre, Montreal, Canada;
    1990 - 1991 - Banner  for East Montreal, Modular - Esso building at d'Anjou Gallery, Montreal, Canada (stainless steel sculptures), works for the company Belcourt;
    1994 - Invited to Italy to carve a private sculpture for the private collection of Fantoni;
    1998 - Carving of a sculpture in stainless steel "Fantoni Group", Osoppo, Italy;
    2003 - Wind, work carved for the Romanian Consulate in Montreal, Canada.
    Works in public collections:
    1969 – Armed Worker (gypsum);
    1972 – The Scholar (wood);
              - Tree of Life (wood);
              - Insurrection Army (gypsum);
    1973 - Avram Iancu (gypsum);
    1974 – The Mouth of the world (wood);
    1978 - I (wood);
              - Monoxyl II (wood);
              - Monoxyl III (wood);
              - Monoxyl IV (wood);
    1979 - Monoxyl D (wood);
    1981 – Tribute to Horia (wood);
              - Monoxyl II (wood);
      - 13 wooden sculptures for the Romanian Ministry of Culture;
      - A sculpture for the University of Bucharest;
      - Tout l'art du monde, Ministry of Cultural Communities and Immigration Montreal, Canada.
    Works in private collections:
      - Dr. Tincoca Sorel (4 sculptures - three stainless steel sculptures and a wooden carving), Canada;
      - Dr. I. Boanchis (5 sculptures), Bucharest, Romania;
      - Fantoni (10 sculptures), Gemona, Italy;
      - Arch. Luciano Gemin (three monoxyl sculptures), Treviso, Italy;
      - John Mansing (a sculpture), New York, U.S.;
      - Jean Chausse (a sculpture), Rigau, Quebec, Canada;
      - Maurice Valentine (a sculpture), Montreal, Canada;
      - Romanella Zotti (a sculpture), Trieste, Italy;
      - Andrea Paradise (two wooden carvings), Montreal, Canada;
      - Dr. Chouinard (a sculpture), Montreal, Canada;
      - Dr. Emmanuel Stewerman (sculpture), Montreal, Canada;
      - Tudor Sterescu (a gilded aluminum sculpture), Montreal, Canada;
      - Dan Cosoreanu (two sculptures), Montreal, Canada;
      - Ing. Ion Radulescu (a sculpture), Montreal, Canada;
      - Luciano Cazani (two sculptures) Osoppo, Italy;
      - Ing. Constantin Zolia (two sculptures), Montreal, Canada.
    Awards and honors:
    1982 - Winner of the "St. Denis” Foundation with a wooden carving, Montreal, Canada;
    1984 - Winner of the contest The Whole Art of the World - Tout l'art du Monde, held by the Government of Quebec, Montreal, Canada;
              - Winner of  the "Simpson"contest with  a wood carving made ​​on spot, Montreal, Canada;
    1989 - Winner of the municipal contest "Seduction" with the work The Lock (stainless steel), a monument made by Est Montréal, Canada;
    1992 - Winner of the  1% Contest with a stainless steel sculpture Ste. Anne de Plaines, Canada;
    1993 - Romanian-American Academy Award for the sculpture "Ionel Jianu"
    1996 - Winner of the 1% Contest  with the work Professional Entertainment (sculpture of stainless steel and granite), Professional Centre, Laval, Canada;
    1997 - Nominated without competition under the 1%  programme for the performance of stainless steel sculptures for Information Center of metallurgy, Laval, Canada;
    2002 - Finalist of the 1% Contest for the work of stainless steel sculptures in Boucherville, Canada. 


    Artist’s archive
    Web sources:
    Critical References:
    1. Studies specialized volumes:
    Palaeolog, Andrei, Wooden Art in Romania, Meridiane Publishing, Bucharest, 1975.
    2. Catalogues:
    Woodcarving International Biennial (1979), Skironio Museum, Athens, Greece, 1979.
    Forma Prima. The 5th Wooden Sculpture Symposium, Krapina, Yugoslavia, 1980.
    Wood Carving, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1981.
    Frunzetti, Ion, General Catalog of the Venice Biennial, 1978.
    Driscu, Mihai, the text for the personal exhibition catalog of Octavian Olariu, "Simeza" Gallery, April 1978, Bucharest.
    Plastik und Blumen, Romanian exhibition catalog, Germany, 1975.
    3. Articles in periodicals:
    Angelescu, Cristina, Sculpture, in the "Week" magazine, no. 175, Bucharest, 1974.
    Arbore, Grigore, The Artist’s Ingenuity , in: the cultural magazine "Venus", no. 7, Bucharest, 1978.
    Beldeanu, Adrian, plastic Dictionary, in: the "Week" magazine, no. 203, Bucharest, 1976.
    Boanchis Razvan, Cultural Marketing, in "7 Plus" magazine, July 7, 2005.
    Carlucio, Luigi, 1978 Biennial. The Yugoslavian and Romanian Pavilion, in: The magazine "Panorama", no. 651, Milano, Italy, 1978.
    Chivu, Virgil, Apollo, in: the "Venus" magazine, no. 16, Bucharest, 1974.
    Ciakulecki, G., Artists from 3 Continents, in "Journal Borba", no. 3107, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1974.
    Comarnescu, Peter, Fine Art Chronical,  in: "Romania Libera" no. 7068, Bucharest, 1967.
    Constantinescu, C.R., Gallery Chronicals,in:  the "Spark of Youth", no. 6710, 1970.
    Constantinescu, C.R., Traditional Suggestions, "Spark of Youth", May 10, Bucharest, 1978.
    Cristea, Horia, Olariu Octavian’s Monoxyles , in: "Sport", no. 5, Bucharest, 1978.
    Deac, Mircea, Exhibition Chronicle of Octavian Olariu, in: the "Information", no. 5381, Bucharest, 1970.
    Deac, Mircea, Octavian Olariu’s First Exhibition in Romania, in: "Romanian reality", July 8, 2005.
    *** "Simeza" Gallery - Monoxyles and Stainless Steel,  in "The Daily Event", July 8, 2005.
    Gillon, Michele Tremblay, Confrontation 1982-1983, in: the "Life of Art" Journal, no. 109/1982 to 1983.
    Mocanu, Virgil, "Gallery Journal ", in: "Literary Romania", no. 19, Bucharest, 1974.
    Mocanu, Virgil, in: "Simeza", no. 16, Bucharest, 1978.
    Octavian, Tudor, Octavian Olariu – sculpture, in: the magazine "The Flame", no. 17, Bucharest, 1978.
    Pogan, George, Olariu Octavian, in:  the magazine "The Shape", no.2, February, 2010.
    Rupea, Radu, Carving the Legend, a chronical for  Octavian Olariu’s exhibition, in:  the "Week" magazine, no. 46, Bucharest, 1970.
    Stanca, Dan, The Sculptor and His World, in: "Romania Libera", 2005.
    Stoichiţă, V.I., Venice – 1978 Biennale, in: the magazine "Literary Romania", No. 19, Bucharest, 1978.
    Suteu, Marilena, The Man with Monoxyles,  in: the journal "Romanian Word", September 24, 2005.
    Valade, Dominique, Quebec Pavilion 1982 - an Exhibition in Two Parts, in: the journal "Space", Montreal, 1982.
    Visan, Constantin, Wooden Balads, in: the magazine "The Store", no. 689, Bucharest, 1970.
    Zorzini, Adina, Folds, in: the "Finance Journal", July 15, 2005.
    Serban,?,  Twentieth Century Personalities, "Octavian Olariu - The world's largest monoxyl", record in 2011.
    Ţarălungă, Romanian Identity Encyclopedia, "Olariu Octavian, the world's largest monoxyl" ,record, 2013.
    Index-Stiri.ro, Octavian Olariu’s visit, Giurgiu, internet, 2014.
    Ionescu, Denisa, The Sculptor Octavian Olariu, having entered the Guinness World Record Book, is visiting Giurgiu, "Muntenia News", Internet, May 28, 2014.
    Newspapers, The Sculptor Octavian Olariu, having entered the Guinness World Record Book, is visiting Giurgiu, News, Giurgiu, Internet, 2014.
    Stirigiurgiu.ro, The Sculptor Octavian Olariu, having entered the Guinness World Record Book, is visiting Giurgiu, Internet, 2014.
    Ziareaz.ro, Giurgiu, The Sculptor Octavian Olariu, having entered the Guinness World Record Book, is visiting Giurgiu, Internet, 2014.
    Vallachia News, "After 40 Years in Front of the Sculpture Alley" , Giurgiu TV, Internet, May 26, 2014.