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Paul Neagu: Cross vs. Hyphen—Global Symbols Revisited
by Matei Stircea-Craciun

Sooner or later, anyone approaching Paul Neagu’s sculpture is bound to experience the challenge of his Hyphens. The prototype resembled an unconventional workbench or an easel for making objects or drawings. It was first exhibited in 1975 at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, where it generated much attention and curiosity. After that, the artist’s destiny changed. As if obsessed with the idea of his Hyphen being analogous to creation, he re-created the image in hundreds of drawings and scores of sculptural variations. For more than three decades, Neagu returned tirelessly to the theme of the three-legged table. His early variations, which were made in wood, show evident phallic properties. Using a subtle, playful approach, he alludes to the simple idea of the phallus as a coupling feature, a hyphen between two material entities. Subsequent Hyphen compositions tap into the immediacy of everyday motifs to recall a heart, a skull, a tractor, a building, a vehicle.


Edge Runner, 1983. Mahogany and ash.


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