Romanian contemporary art is a remarkable phenomenon which has obtained considerable worldwide recognition in recent years. The special presentation DIALOG: NEW ENERGIES, co-initiated and supported by OMV at VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary(organized by VF Betriebsgesellschaft mbH) from October 2 to October 5, 2014, will highlight Romania’s cultural history over the last fifty years.
Already since 2011 OMV has supported special presentations at VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary. In the context of the OMV Special Project DIALOG: NEW ENERGIES this year’s spotlight is placed on more than thirty exciting positions in contemporary art from Romania presented by five galleries – Anaid Art Gallery, Anca Poteraşu Gallery, Jecza Gallery, Galeria Plan B, and Zorzini Gallery – and two non-profit spaces: ATELIER 030202 and ALERT studio. The art expert Andreiana Mihail has been entrusted with curating DIALOG: NEW ENERGIES.
The premiere of this presentation at VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary is based on a curatorial approach which attempts to put together an elucidating chronicle of the diverse community that constitutes Romanian present-day art. From classical contemporary artists, frequently considered as emerging due to their lack of exposure during communism, to young and inquisitive artists who tell their own personal story independently of any socio-political perspective, DIALOG: NEW ENERGIES aims at finding the delicate balance between the expected commercial purpose of a fair and the clarity and coherence of a theoretical outline which reflects on adapting and assuming as the two most significant existential attitudes in recent Romanian history.
OMV would like to contribute to the cultural dialog in the field of contemporary fine arts with DIALOG: NEW ENERGIES. In addition to Austria and Turkey, Romania counts among the integrated international oil and gas company’s core markets. For ten years, OMV has been the majority shareholder of OMV Petrom, the largest oil and gas producer in South Eastern Europe with headquarters in Bucharest.
Anaid Art Gallery
Founded in 2004, Anaid Art Gallery ranks among Bucharest’s leading contemporary venues in the field. The gallery’s future plans are to exhibit and represent emerging international artists in the Romanian scene besides the presentation of works by young Romanian artists.
In his paintings, Alexandru Rădvan (b. 1977) is concerned with the relationship between contemporary society and myths, mythology, and religions. Rădvan’s art is not easy to look at or comprehend; nor is it a comfortable form of art, one that eye and soul rejoice at. On the contrary, it forces the onlooker to think, to wonder, and to try to figure out answers on his or her own. Kyle Fitzpatrick’s (b. in Milwaukee/USA in 1980) creations subtly refer to works by Jean Fautrier and Anselm Kiefer. The artist’s collage technique – that relies on earth, sand, tree branches, textiles, and pieces of glass – underlines the nuances regarding the interpretation of the canvas taken possession of and the approach to it. Matei Arnăutu (b. 1978) uses found and kept objects from different periods of life in his works. Some of these objects have been around the artist since his childhood, being carriers of a rich subjective history. In this way, these objects lose their natural banality by becoming “an extension of my own conscience”, as the artist once remarked. Mihai Florea (b. 1986) has the capacity to dream and design worlds in a different manner. His paintings confront us with a labyrinth of alternative reflected worlds that multiply within an ephemeral reality. Zsolt Berszán (b. 1974) creates large installations that visualize the primary turmoil in which violent detachment gave rise to matter and existence. He captures the moment when conscious and unconscious do not exist, when the ideas of human and animal have not appeared yet, when “I” and “the other” are not separated. Everything becomes fluid, absorptive, organic materiality. www.anaidart.ro
Anca Poteraşu Gallery
Anca Poteraşu Gallery started under the name Little Yellow Studio as an alternative art space for group exhibitions, performances, and interactive dialogs in 2009. Since 2011, the art space has become visible on the art market as a gallery of contemporary art.
Daniel Djamo (b. 1987) combines installation with video and photography in order to bring back memories and make room for the here and now. His films, mostly documentaries on the consequences of communism, fathom the boundaries of human feelings. Irina Botea (b. 1970), who was born in Romania and lives and works in Chicago now, tries to come to terms with her origins and the historical traumata of the past in her videos, films, photographs, installations, and performances. His photographs have granted Nicu Ilfoveanu (b. 1975) a very special place on the Romanian art scene. Committed to romanticism, Ilfoveanu offers views of a world that seems to be of a different era. Using a box camera, he photographs landscapes, events, objects, and people, creating powerful compositions of aesthetic beauty. Zoltán Béla’s (b. 1977) painting is realistic, burdened with historical references and metaphysical meanings from his own biography. Inspired by his own recollections, experiences, and emotions, he incorporates these elements in his works as if they offered a mirror of reality. www.ancapoterasu.com
Jecza Gallery from Timişoara presents mainly Romanian contemporary art of the 1970s and 1980s, but also shows an interest in young artists who endorse similar working practices and ideas.
Sculpture has been Peter Jecza’s (1939–2009) passion, fate, and belief throughout forty-five years. His oeuvre follows the tradition of the sculptor Constantin Brâncuși and is mainly concerned with abstraction, with a classical modern approach. The Sigma 1 Group was founded by Constantin Flondor (b. 1936), Doru Tulcan (b. 1943), and Stefan Bertalan in 1969 and was based on the Group 111 established in 1966. The group aimed at initiating a reorientation of art production in Romania, a country molded by communism. Centering on psychology, cybernetics, bionics, and mathematics as their fields of research and including photography and film, the Sigma 1 Group pioneered in experimental forms of expression such as video installations or happenings.Mihai Olos (b. 1940) is one of just a few artists whose performances combine genuine rural architectural techniques with contemporary art practices, similar to Paul Neagu. Today, the painter, graphic artist, sculptor, and poet is mainly known for his sculptures made in collaboration with Joseph Beuys in the early 1980s. Liviu Stoicoviciu (b. 1942) belongs to Romania’s generation of 1970s artists who are less known. His unique work, which is based on geometric abstraction, has been rediscovered on the occasion of his first solo exhibition at Jecza Gallery in 2013. The three-dimensional qualities and constructions of Genti Korini’s (b. in Albania in 1979) paintings unfold a visual realm that only exists within his own conception. Michele Bressan’s (b. in 1980) films and photographs document Romania’s post-communist reality. Resembling a personal diary, his photo series display everyday scenes between the strange and the familiar. www.jeczagallery.com
Galeria Plan B
Plan B opened in Cluj, Romania in 2005. Initiated by Mihai Pop and Adrian Ghenie, Plan B functions as a production and exhibition space for contemporary art; at the same time it is a research center focusing on Romanian art of the last fifty years by presenting works by remarkable artists without previous international exposure. Plan B organized the show at the Romanian pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007, curated by Mihnea Mircan and including the artists Victor Man, Cristi Pogacean, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor, Christoph Büchel & Giovanni Carmine. In 2008, Plan B opened a permanent exhibition space in Berlin, initially located in a former industrial space near the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum. In March 2012, Plan B Berlin relocated to a ground floor space in Potsdamer Strasse in the former Tagesspiegel building complex, now housing several art galleries. In 2009, Plan B co-founded the project “Fabrica de Pensule,” a collective independent cultural center accommodating five galleries and thirty artist studios.
The paintings of Ioana Bătrânu (b. 1960) – melancholy interiors, veiled gardens, and mystical landscapes – are endowed with a tangible sensibility. Her representations vacillate between esotericism, mysticism, and the artist’s own experiences such as her mother’s death that keeps recurring in her works. Șerban Savu (b. 1978) renders impressions of today’s Romania, which in his view does not substantially differ from the situation under the communist reign. Depicting local architecture and urban Romanian life, his realistic oil paintings confront the viewer with indifferent, suffering, and anonymous figures – glimpses of a time when people were a silent presence, discreetly pursuing their personal simple history: working, resting, or merely following their linear reality. A representative of the younger generation, Eugen Rosca (b. 1988), who has recently presented his paintings in a solo show at Galeria Plan B in Berlin under the title “Knife Seller”, will also show a number of new works at VIENNAFAIR The New Contemporary 2014. www.plan-b.ro
Zorzini Gallery focuses on introducing recent and contemporary art from Romania into the international art circuit but also on presenting international artists to the local art scene.
Dan Beudean (b. 1980), an artist belonging to the renowned School of Cluj, is also part of the Paintbrush Factory artistic community; during the past half-decade, he, passionate about history and biology, has shown a constant interest in interregnum behavior mutations and abnormalities, physiological deviations and aberrances, social and cultural exceptions that turn into commonly accepted transgressions. Vlad Berte (b. 1985), another artist from the Cluj group, specializes in sculpture, realizing his concepts in contemporary ways with classical means of expression. Belenyi Szabolcs (b. 1988), also a member of the School of Cluj, masters classical techniques, painting and drawing, working in a transgressive manner at the intersection of these two media. He combines an emotional approach with high skills of expression in order to comprehend and survey humankind’s ambiguous nature. Andrei Gamart (b. 1980) is a young Romanian artist from Chișinău in Moldova educated at the Art Academy of Moldova, who later moved to Bucharest, where he presently lives and works. He explores the classical techniques of painting, drawing, and engraving, which he uses to fathom social and existential subjects in a contemporary way, veiled by a magic atmosphere. Roman Tolici (b. 1974) is a well-known Romanian artist from the Republic of Moldova, established in Bucharest since 1990; he relies on drawing and painting, using classical approaches of representation in a highly contemporary manner. He combines both technical and conceptual levels in his figurative oil paintings characterized by overlapping styles that range from the Italian and Northern or Flemish Renaissance to recent techniques and present-day motifs and themes. www.zorzinigallery.com
ATELIER 030202 was founded by Mihai Zgondoiu in 2009. The contemporary art space presents works by young artists devoted to experimental and visual concepts and new media.
Ioana Ciocan (b. 1980) is working on new media projects and art in public space. Since 2010, she has coordinated Proiect 1990. Her works draw the public’s attention to historically connoted places in Bucharest and thus fuel sociopolitical life with new perspectives. Practicing the art of observance, Mihai Zgondoiu (b. 1982) questions cultural patterns, prejudices in the field of art, and contemporary artists’ current situation in an ironical and very pointed way in his paintings, graphic works, objects, videos, and performances. Virgil Scripcariu (b. 1974) is one of Romania’s leading young sculptors. Many of his works, like his recent “Noah’s Ark,” are to be found in public places. In 2008, he presented his work in a group show at the Architecture Biennial in Venice.
Initiated by the artists Alina Buga, Cătălin Burcea, and Raluca Demetrescu, ALERT studio is an independent, artist-run laboratory and platform for the study and promotion of contemporary art production.
Many of Alina Buga’s (b. 1971) performances, videos, photographs, installations, drawings, sculptures, and digital works try to elucidate the process of rethinking and reinterpreting symbols and images. The artist playfully visualizes social phenomena and transforms personal symbols into universal ones. Cătălin Burcea (b. 1966) is concerned with various methods of manipulation. His considerations are based on the theory that the human brain is programmed to recognize, categorize, and save images. His works challenge the viewers’ range of attention and help them question their modes of perception. Gabriel Stoian (b. 1985) describes his public interventions, installations, and assemblages as subversive, ironic and critical reactions to instruments of power and their symbols. The topics he deals with are social understanding, instability, politics and power, as well as pictures between perception and imagination and the questioning of authority. Vlad Basalici (b. 1978) focuses on perception and temporality from a variety of perspectives at the interface of visual art and performance. His experience as a performer enables him to open a field of tension between acceleration and deceleration as a room to act. www.alertstudio.org
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