Gregory, Kirstie (2014) Paul Neagu: hyphen as consequence and catalyst. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The Hyphen at its most basic is a three legged, impractical table, with an isosceles triangle formed by its three legs. It occupies an integral position within Paul Neagu’s practice. His drawings, paintings and sculptures all explore forms, materials and, crucially, concepts which are linked (or ‘hyphenated’) to his oeuvre in its entirety. The Hyphen is the critical fulcrum. Within this practice there is a logical progression of concepts and creations, although key concerns also move back and forth in prominence, eventuating into a philosophically and historically dense practice and narrative — one deliberately interwoven. This dissertation seeks to explain the Hyphen and its context as far as possible, specifically its role as a crucial pivot within a practice overall more concerned with circularity than stand-alone sculpture.

The Hyphen was formally a result of both Neagu’s Romanian heritage and his strong sense of the semiotic capabilities inherent in simple shapes (the triangle, the rectangle, the circle). Conceptually the Hyphen is clearly linked with his Generative Art Code, this being a philosophical approach to life which merits careful explanation in order to clarify this relationship. The Generative Art Code was for Neagu as important a textual guidebook by which to grasp the world as the Hyphen was a visual tool. Also integral to the development of the Hyphen are the works which came before – primarily the anthropocosmic work, his palpable art and the invention of the Generative Art Group. The Hyphen melds form and concept in a highly eccentric, highly intellectual sculpture, derived from philosophical and visual influences and eccentric and intellectual sources.

The dissertation is split into three sections, outlining in turn Neagu’s practice pre-Hyphen, the context in which the Hyphen emerged and the new sculptural oeuvre which emerged from its invention.

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