ION BARBU was born on the 6th of July, 1953, in Petroșani. He is a visual artist, member of the Romanian Artists’ Union. He has participated as an artist in more than 400 national and international exhibitions, winning more than 50 awards. He has been decorated with the National Order of the Star of Romania, in the rank of Knight “for outstanding artistic achievements and for the promotion of Romanian culture”. He first distinguished himself as a caricaturist and is considered to be the most important contemporary Romanian artist in this field. Of the many awards he has won, more than half (over 25) have been international distinctions, in countries such as Italy, France, Belgium, Turkey, Serbia, Switzerland, Brazil, Japan and Korea. He has also had tens of international exhibitions in the UK, USA, Italy, Macedonia, Turkey, Luxembourg, Bulgaria and elsewhere.
He has contributed with caricatures to the newspapers “Adevărul”, “România liberă” (1993-1995), “Evenimentul zilei”, “Ziua” (since 1995), as well as to the weekly publications of “Academia Cațavencu” (since 1994), “Suplimentul de Cultură” (since 2004) and “Dilema Veche” (since 1998). His caricatures and drawings have also been published in numerous newspapers and magazines abroad, including “La Repubblica” (Italy), “Szpilky” (Poland), “Ludas Maty” (Hungary), “Witty World” (USA), “Stîrșel”, “Apropos” (Bulgaria), “Hurriet”, “Mylliet”, “Cumhurriet” (Turkey), etc.
In the last two decades, Ion Barbu’s work has covered more and more fields of visual arts, standing out through urban mural works, artistic installations, street-art, collages, interventions on photographs, interventions on vintage objects, ready-made works, happenings, etc. Ion Barbu is the founder, creator and curator of four museums and an exhibition center: the Poetry Museum in Iași, opened in 2021 in the House of Museums on the Vasile Alecsandri Street; the I.D. Sîrbu Memorial House in Petrila, opened in 2010; the Mother’s Museum in Petrila, opened in 2012; the Romanian Plumber Museum in Petroșani, opened in 2016, and the Pompadour Centre (Petrila), a space that hosts temporary art exhibitions.
The artist has carried out many other interdisciplinary projects, combining the visual arts with poetry in his exhibitions, in the artistic installations displayed in the museums he has created, but also in various other editorial publications, such as the volume “Antologia poeziei românești de la S la XXL” (“The Anthology of Romanian Poetry from S to XXL”), published in 2003 by the Ha, Ha & Ha Publishing House. In addition, the artist has more than 25 books published, many as a result of visual art projects that he has carried out.