George Apostu was born in 1934 in Stanisesti, Bacau. In 1959 he graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest, studying sculpture. From 1964 he had numerous solo exhibitions in Romania and abroad.
By working with traditional wood and stone carvings, Apostu found abstract ways of escaping the conventions of a narrow realism. Like Brancusi, he was fascinated by returning to mythical origins and primitive art, and was inspired by architectural space, but his work is quite different: where Brancusi polished and refined in precise symbolism, Apostu left the elemental marks of the act of sculpting and did not impose rigid interpretations.
In 1965 he took part in the Paris Biennale and was awarded a prize by André Malraux. He made outdoor sculptures, such as ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Mirror of the Son’, across Europe and in Japan. In 1982 he was appointed Professor of Sculpture at Academia Michelangelo in Agrigento, Italy. He moved to Paris and in 1983 was granted a studio by the mayor, Jacques Chirac. Apostu never received quite the same recognition in Romania.
Two of his most famous cycles, ‘Father and Son’ and ‘Maternity’, were sculptural representations of the relationship between humanity and the vegetal world in their organic regeneration. He regarded them as updating the myths of the cosmic ‘tree of life’ and of ‘eternal renewal’. In the last years of his life he developed the primitivism of his early works, which engaged conceptually with Eliade’s Neolithic ecumenical mysticism, bringing the themes of father and son and mother earth into the area of Christian significance.
He died in 1986 and is buried in Père-Lachaise cemetery. However, his legacy lives on: in 2001 “Zona Apostu”, a space of outdoor sculptures, was created in Kiseleff Park, Bucharest. In 2012 an “Apostu Summer School” at the Centre of Culture and Arts “George Apostu” was set up in Bacau.
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