Dr. Constantin Ciobanu about Valeria Duca

Both Plato’s assertion referring to „there is truth in children” and its biblical parallels (from the Psalms and the Gospel) seem to have found a new confirmation in the creations of the teenager Valeria Duca – young painter and professional athlete – a girl with an impressive record in both areas of expertise.
As regards the paintings and graphics – the favorite domains of the young artist from Chisinau – here one may speak of aesthetic truth excellently placed in the sphere of the artistic taste and not in the one of syllogistic logic. Or, like music, plastic arts, especially paintings with their indispensable sense of color, allow the affirmation of precocious talent, a state nearly impossible in other arts such as literary prose, where life experience, the times lived and found, accomplished hopes and lost illusions play an exceptional role. And there are also dangers: the dramatic destiny of Robertino Loretti in his maturity years, the tragic impossibility of escaping the infantile cliché, accepted by the public and mirrored in the case of the actress Shirley Temple and others. Will such threats cross the path of Valeria Duca? It would be hazardous to strongly state the contrary, the absolute invulnerability before foresight and destiny being beyond the human condition of mortals. Nevertheless, I hope that the justice of the chosen way will be confirmed by Valeria’s future creative biography and that the corner stones of her artistic education, carefully and properly laid by Victor Ursu and Ion Serbinov- well-known artists and tutors from the Republic of Moldova- will guarantee a full development of the young artist’s original talent.
Usually art historians in their quest try to interpret already accomplished artistic destinies, completed biographies or settled artistic works, most of which trapped in time. Critics concentrate on problems or controversial works, over some currents, more or less close to their personal views, aiming to either praise or destroy as much as possible the artistic phenomenon of their concerns.
The case of Valeria Duca as well as the cases of many other prodigy adolescents does not fall within these patterns (and one may recall the graphic work of the late teenager Nadia Ruşeva; her illustrations to the literary works of Mihail Bulgakov became nearly anthological; her mobile exhibitions were probably one of the most remarkable artistic phenomenon of the 70’s).
Or an artistic historian should not act before the plenary eclosion of the talent – which is developed in youth only to set the path for a blooming maturity- unbeatable reason for a critic not to have the moral right and the peremptory motives to issue a verdict, often rather subjective. Consequently, we are within an unknown territory with indefinite borders and an uncompleted methodological topography.
Being created within a very short period of time – approximately three years - the paintings of Valeria Duca present first of all a great expression of inner emotions. Pastoral in «Bluebottles» or «Daises», dramatic in «The snowed village» «The Torrid Sun» or «Solar Eclipse» she may also be an adult in «Love Fire» and «Autumn Storm» or a child in «Ikebana» and «Lilac Flowers». The rustic texture of the oil brushes in paintings such as «Chaos» or «Apocalypse» may perfectly co-exist with a less mottled surface of the paintings «Aurora Borealis» or «Lilac in the Fog».
What integrates into a whole this pictorial, extremely heterogeneous, flexible and malleable Universe? Is it the joyful spirit present in the graphic works «Elf» and «Page with Spear» or in the floral oil canvases of «Irises» and «Violets»? Perhaps, but there is so much more…
Substance in its primordial state, nature in periods of transition, a solar spectrum reflected in a peacock’s feather, specters of water, fire and cosmic eternity – here are only some of motifs preferred by the young artist from Chisinau.
This inclination, most probably self-conscious, towards the universe of creation, of genesis in the detriment of solid, constitutive, well-defined structures has its explanations in the attachment towards cultures of the Extreme Orient, cultures in which the Taoist concept of the infinite way to self-knowledge has left a deep mark.
Despite an immense distance which separates the world of sports from the one of arts, I still hope that the philosophy of oriental martial arts, in particular the philosophy of taekwondo – a sport in which Valeria Duca has achieved notable performances – have played an important role in the creative process of some of the young artist’s works.
This may be noticed in a series of paintings in which lyric or geometric abstraction blends organically with the role of unconditional gesture of rationalism or with the research patience of the rationalist type. Therefore the almost Taoist spontaneity of the instant gesture from «Autograph» or «Configuration» proves to be complementary to a meticulous persistence in applying the coat of paint, nearly pointillist from «Cactus Flower» or the «Life’s Paths».
I may also add that I have written these lines not as a critic or an art historian, but as a simple viewer and admirer of the color display and the texture revealed with such candor in the various paintings and graphic works of Valeria Duca. I have neither the impertinence nor the ambition or possibility to be the spokesman of the young talent. In this order of ideas I consider the motto of the young artist’s website and blog – «Achieving the ideal is impossible, yet, should this impede seeking for it?»– rather suggestive. She shows maturity (unexpected from an adolescent!) in understanding the philosophic fundamentals of artistic efforts and a stoic temerity before the implacable Destiny.


Constantin I. Ciobanu, Doctor of Arts
Research Scientist the History Institute named after „George Oprescu”, Academy of Sciences,Romania