Borsec - The Pinelands

So it was, in the end, a week I spent there in the Eastern Carpathian Mountain Ranges in the small town of Borsec. A man named Leon met me at the train station 50km's away from my accommodation clutching a piece of cardboard with the word 'OMAR' written on it. We drove at top speed over the mountain and through the ancient pine forests - rounding a corner we met three wild horses running down the road [see picture], further down the mountain we met a Gypsy boy galloping upwards to recapture them. It was a fairy-tale sight and really set the tone for my time in the strange Mountain town of Borsec

The descent into Borsec. [taken on semi-broken compact camera through window of speeding car]

Florin Dan, the organizer, had named the residency InsideZone after the town in the Tarkovsky film Stalker - a 1979 masterpiece. Myself, I thought it had more of a Twin Peaks feel. Florin was a very intriguing guy, he was somewhat of a mystic and had spent time in Greece and Egypt hunting Holy Mountains. He gave me a stone from Mount Olympus which I brought back with me to Scotland.

Back onto the subject of Borsec...I was told that half of the townspeople are employed in the mineral water factory while the others are virtually all housewives, woodcutters, hunters and truckers. Borsec had been a very prosperous spa town in its day, with lush gardens designed in the Viennese style but Communism had not been kind to her. As all of the private property was seized by the state, many of the buildings have fallen into ruination. There is an abandoned ballroom, library, town hall, sanitarium, swimming pool and around 30 gigantic villas. In fact, the name of the neighbourhood I stayed in was colloquially known as 'The 72 Villas'. The Borsekers are tough mountain people and I felt very much like an outsider (I was viewed with deep suspicion) - has lent an interesting perspective to the photos which I took while there. I'm currently editing my way through over 2000 of them, distilling the work into an exhibition which will also feature objects and documents I collected along the way (as proof of this place's existence). The name of the show will be...

Pensiune Muscata of the family Bara - My accommodation during the residency. 

Curators and gallerists, please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to be the one to show Twin Peaks Transylvania. I am currently exploring my options as to where this exhibition will be hosted. As ever, you can reach me at

Freshly ground Gypsy Coffee will be available in this gold-enameled set of mine. 

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