Friday, May 21, 2010

Fabrica de Pensule (I) - Paintbrush Factory (I)

Fabrica de Pensule is a space for creating contemporary art, which has been shaped as an independent cultural centre. The project was initiated by a group of cultural operators from Cluj-Napoca – artists, curators, cultural managers and producers – grouped and animated by the common idea that the cultural product creates a real impact upon the community in which they work.

The centre is situated in the former Painting Brush Factory, nr. 59-61, H. Barbusse Street and contains 29 contemporary art spaces: studios, galleries on a 2000 square meters area. The centre suggests to place on the local community map and also on the international artistic stage, an independent creative space and artistic audit.

Fabrica de Pensule has worked as a factory until the end of the 90s, when little by little the impact of the Chinese cheap market made its effect upon it. The production costs could no longer be justified and the factory entered the same cycle as most of Romania’s industrial spaces: after privatization, the decrease of the production followed and finally the factory has been closed. As compared to the other industrial spaces from Romania, Fabrica de Pensule entered a new level of metamorphosis -conversion- and at the present moment, the building is a working and organizing managing space, meant to organize events for more than 30 artists, gallery, active cultural organization in the field of the visual arts, contemporary dance and theatre.

The space belongs to the company which bought the space a few years ago and which has announced at the beginning of the last year that it wishes to rent or buy the building. At that moment, Sabot gallery had already decided to rent a space within the factory, spreading the news that the space is available. Several galleries, organizations and the artists were looking for available working spaces – the idea to contribute to the creation of a common space has come up quite quickly and spontaneously.

Little by little, other people joined the ideas, who, in spite of the fact that they have already had a studio, an office, a gallery, were receptive to creating common contemporary art spaces. The project expanded so quickly in a few months that the negotiations with the owner were meant for the entire available surface of the factory; at the moment, there is not an inch of unoccupied space left.

In time, the initial idea of finding a common workspace developed tremendously – the members of the Factory identified some common objectives, a general interest in working in a reactivated industrial space, as a community life centre, in contributing to the capitalization of an industrial patrimony area, in establishing coherence of an independent contemporary artistic and cultural segment. In order to turn into practice these common objectives and for a better organization, the members of Fabrica de Pensule made a new legal entity Fabrica de Pensule Federation, which represents its members within the foreign relationships. What is remarkable along its route is that the initiative of Fabrica de Pensule started and continues to be organic independent from top to bottom. All the activities and the investments within the artists` individual spaces, galleries or working spaces have been made by the individual effort of each member.

The factory is situated in the area between the industrial zone, Marasti workers` district and a semi-central zone Lupsa/Clujana district. Yet, it is semispherical, almost close to the city center, in a district typically belonging to the workers from Cluj-Napoca. Around Fabrica de Pensule area (Farmec, Clujana) the former Jewish district is outlined, with small tiny houses and gardens, as well as the blocks built during the industrialization age.

To be continued
By Andy

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