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European Journal

Romania: Famous for a Year

From an unknown homeless person to a celebrated star of the art scene -- and back to the streets again. Romanian Ion Barladeanu experienced the roller-coaster of success and failure.

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Collage des obdachlosen Künstlers Ion Barladeanu

For many years, Ion Barladeanu lived in the garbage cellar of a residential building in Bucharest. As far back as the Ceausescu dictatorship, he made collages from pictures in old magazines. And that was risky, because many of his collages were stinging criticisms of the Communist regime. It wasn't until two years ago that gallery operators and art critics discovered Barladeanu and his unique mixture of Pop Art, Dada, and Surrealism. The homeless artist showed his work in exhibitions in Paris and at the Basel art fair. Then his new friends moved on to other things and dropped him. Today Barladeanu lives the life of a homeless person again.