I want to write about my visit to the University of Architecture in Bucharest.
My friend Alexandra studies there and she invited me to the last philosophy class this semester. “The teacher is very cool” she said, “and he talks a lot about Heidegger.”
She was right. The teacher was cool and Heidegger was mentioned. But so were other names and concepts and the teacher started a discussion in the class about different art movements. The big topic was the autonomy of art and we started by not believing in it, then he made us believe in it by telling us how the modernists saw things and then he made us get over it and realise it’s about finding out the truth about man and the world.
I learned about an art movement which was apparently very big in the 20th century — primitivism and I felt very close to it as the teacher explained it. Searching for the origins of humanity and nostalgy for the simple life. I remembered some reproductions after Henry Rousseau’s paintings that I saw last summer at a festival near Bucharest. Henry Rousseau was a French bureaucrat painting jungle scenes he never saw in his life. In fact, he never left France.
Then he talked about expressionism and using art to depict people’s interior life. And I remember Carl Jung, the psychiatrist who build his own house in Switzerland and filled it with spiritual sculptures and inscriptions.
And then he took us further down the path of wonders and he told us about the German group called Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), which was named like that after a Kandinsky painting. Kandinsky thought that blue represents spirituality.
The school of architecture has arched windows and doors made of massive wood and a beautiful interior terrace on which, Alexandra says, students go during breaks and fill with energy from the sun.