Interview: Mandy Sand
Luca Curci talks with Mandy Sand’s widow Agy Sandulovici during FUTURE LANDSCAPES, third appointment of BORDERS ART FAIR 2021, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Mandy Sand was born in Bucharest, in November 1932, as Mandy Sandulovici. At the age of 27, Mandy studied Arts in Bucharest, his home city, and met with the classic works of art found in local museums. In 1964 he graduated in his art studies and started painting figurative-decorative style. That year he immigrated to Israel to start a new life. He experimented with the figurative artistic style in his early works, yet seeking to express in a unique way his fruitful imagination, as that was the essence being of his work. After years of hard work, after 1970, he developed his own technique and style and began to sign his work as Mandy Sand (formerly Sandulovici). Sand’s artwork is influenced by Medieval and Renaissance art, an influence that is deeply enhanced in his work. He expressed himself in an imaginary art style, combined with the fantastic realism of Surrealism. His admiration for the Flemish painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and to the brilliant contemporary artist Salvador Dali, has been a source of inspiration for him. Mandy Sand’s primary subconscious sketching eventually emerged into works of rich, expressive, and colorful objects which became valuable jewels. There are many similarities strange characters never met before, things that do not exist, fictional landscapes, all these helped him to create a complex world in which he felt comfortable. His art is not quite “avant-garde” or “contemporary”; he was guided by aesthetics, mystery and fascination that leads his work beyond comprehension. His motive and purpose were solely to create art for the sake of Art. Mandy was a perfectionist that practiced high-quality diverse art techniques, mastering oil painting, engraving (burning deep, aquatint, combining different materials), oil pastel, installations of cardboard, a combination of mechanisms of musical instruments in the drawings, assemblies of various objects, digital art computer including a combination of object scans, photographs and computer work. In his later years, he enriched his repertoire with sculpturing out of copper tins. Mandy was active and creative up to his last days, struggling with the side effects of his cancer disease until he could not use his right arm because of elbow metastasis, which broke his spirit. Despite his deteriorating health condition, he continued to create computerized art for as long as he could. Mandy deceased in December 2004 at the age of 72, in Netanya, Israel.
Luca Curci – What was Mandy Sand’s background? What was the experience that has influenced his work the most?
Agy Sandulovici (on behalf of Mandy Sand) – He was born in 1932 in Bucharest, Romania. As a child, he experienced the atmosphere of World War II and antisemitic humiliations pogroms and bombings. This atmosphere left its mark on all his life. His whole life was associated with artistic activity. After the war, from the age of 13, he began singing in the UNIREA SFINTA synagogue, now used as a Jewish museum in Bucharest, and in the Yiddish theater BARASEUM for a living. Thus began his initial acquaintance with art while being in the world of theater and music and the atmosphere in the synagogue in those days. He was drawn to folk dancing in a dance band before and after military service. But the main influence of his style was from the exhibition “Fantastic Realism” in 1969 in Tel Aviv: he decided to learn by himself to paint with oil paints to achieve a similar effect to painting in the tempera technique. He didn’t have the financial resources to study in Vienna with Ernest Fuchs.
LC – What was art for him?
AS – Art for him was the life itself, everything he did in his last 30 years was art purely; during the last months of his life (he had pancreas cancer) he made sculptures of copper tins. Some days before he died, he told me that he has in his head plans for 20 years more, he always did sketches (I have a lot of them) before he began any artwork of his. As I told you before, he always dabbled in art, like a child singing, and then dancing, and for the last 40 years, he has been in plastic art, painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, engraving, collage.
LC – What was Mandy Sand’s creative process like?
AS – First always when he had “Musa” he made sketches, those were types of scrap generated automatically and unconsciously until he felt that should create a real one.
LC – Which art themes did he pursue in his life? What was his preferred subject, if there was any?
AS – His themes were: mythology, the Bible, fantastic landscapes. My nephew, when he was a child, told him that he created nature against God (his nature was always imaginary and the child understood it). Mandy’s world consists of ancient art, archeology and especially medieval art which finds insurance in his works. Mandy built a world of his own around him, like a tower he used to drive, sometimes isolated from the world of reality, irrationality, a wonderful world full of magic. Mandy was and remains a net artist, when he wakes up in the morning until nightfall his mind still continued to think as an artist from childhood memories from the past and the not-so-present present.
LC – Did Mandy use art to express something in particular? Was it his medium of expression?
AS – He said: “I have difficulty with verbal explanations of my works that speak for themselves and there is no need for a verbal addition explaining them”. His artworks are full and rich in interviews that include anxiety, cynicism, humor, joy, sadness and love. He was and always will be a romantic person.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
AS – I think this is a positive initiative that you hold the festival in hard times of pandemic Covid-19. Very bad I could not participate in it in person.
LC – In which way Mandy Sand’s artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
AS – The paintings you have chosen are one hundred percent suitable for the subject, even for your city, since their subject is imaginary antiquities that do not really exist.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP? Do you think it can represent an opportunity for artists?
AS – I still have a bare experience of working with you, and I hope we will work in the future and it seems to me that it gives an opportunity to be famous to every artist who participates in it.