One of the greatest contemporary Romanian painters, whose exhibitions inside and outside the country remained permanent landmarks in the field. From 1990 to his death in 2000, he was director of the Romanian Peasant Museum. He established an original style in European ethnomuseography which he liked to call “nascent” or “flickering” museology.
I learned from him that you must not hurry or get stubborn when you want to accomplish a project. You first have to think about it really well, to see if your initial idea is correct. Nobody saw better than he did. Then you should consult with others, preferably with those whom you know to have different opinions. Then you try to take into account all these remarks, arguing against those you reject and including those that can enrich the project. Then you wait, germinate, preparing the illumination. For Horia Bernea, illumination meant the conviction that the idea was convergent with the faith – freely chosen to be the Christian faith. Only then, the project could start the adventure of the mise-en-oeuvre. Only then, could the miracle of the formation of the team happen. I haven’t yet met anyone so capable of constructing little punctual families with people, all too human, to transform their weaknesses in creativity, their complexes in personal style, their frustrations in a new enthusiasm, their preferences in wish for collective accomplishment.
He was not afraid to shock, to irritate, to incite. He contaminated us with courage by asking difficult questions – what do you see here? What do you think about this? What do you understand? Why don’t you like it? – or by simply inviting us to contradict him. It wasn’t and it is still not easy. But nothing that we do at the museum under his wing is easy.