THE WANDERERS | Contemporary Painting from Cluj

Selected works of: Marius Bercea, Alin Bozbiciu, Cornel Brudascu, Oana Farcas, Robert Fekete, Aurelian Pirosca, Victor Racatau, Ioan Sbarciu, Sergiu Toma
Curator: Maria Rus Bojan
Exhibition dates: 11 January – 19 February 2016
Venue: Richard Taittinger Gallery, NY

The Richard Taittinger Gallery is proud to present The Wanderers, one of the first attempts in the United States to examine the context behind the emergence of the Cluj School, a phenomenon of the last decade related to several generation of artists that graduated the painting department from the Art University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Moving beyond the restrictive concept of a school of painting, the present exhibition aims to create a context for a better, more inclusive, understanding of the core of the phenomenon, presenting nine artists of different generations, who contributed essentially to this outstanding development. Beyond the label attributed by the international media, the Cluj School is primarily an artistic phenomenon rooted in the rich historical tradition of Romanian figurative painting with a complex background, which is still to be explored.

Emphasising the crucial role played by the two masters of the Cluj art scene, Cornel Brudascu (1937) and Ioan Sbarciu (1948) – the mentors and creators of the main artistic directions that influenced the development of the following generations of artists – this exhibition offers a unique perspective on the unexplored formative context, which generated this phenomenon with internationally recognized names such as Adrian Ghenie and Victor Man.

Conceived as a trans-generational dialogue, this presentation aims to underline the continuity of a certain tradition of figurative painting without resorting to the idea of a school of painting. Alongside the two masters Cornel Brudascu and Ioan Sbarciu, the show features also mid-career painters like Victor Racatau and Aurelian Pirosca, internationally acclaimed artists such as Marius Bercea, as well as the representatives of the youngest generation: Oana Farcas, Alin Bozbiciu, Robert Fekete, and Sergiu Toma. By bringing together these generations of artists with different positions, conceptual principles, and pictorial approaches, this show proposes a deconstruction of the very notion of the school, while thematising it as a multifaceted and interrelated phenomenon.

What all these artists share is not only a specific national or local identity, but rather a common feeling of longing, a nostalgia for the past as well as focusing on expressing the anxiety of a precarious present. However, despite their different life experiences under communism and during the dramatic changes that followed in the long years of transition, these artists surpassed the trauma of history by embracing a new paradigm that combined the conceptual approach of the Western art with the historical tradition of figurative painting. The success of this phenomenon lies in a reflexive attitude that involves not only a filtering of past ruptures between history and time, presence and memory, but also a process of transfiguration that aims at self-rediscovery.

The romantic metaphor of The Wanderer seems to be the most appropriate for a definition of the common trait that pervades the selection of works included in this exhibition. First, because it points towards a mode of self-discovery as an opening to the world that entails a reconfiguration of place and time. Secondly, it revisits the lyrical features of the Romanian painting tradition by infusing conceptual positions that are both figurative and abstract, realist and magic, nostalgic and critical. Finally, the paintings gathered in this exhibition shows us a multiplicity of experiences that turns us all into wanderers of each individual artistic universe.

The Keen Observer. Works by Cornel Brudascu and Alin Bozbiciu

Bildschirmfoto+2015-07-22+um+17.44.30The Keen Observer
Works by Cornel Brudascu and Alin Bozbiciu

Curated by Maria Rus Bojan

Exhibition dates: 12 June – 20 July 2015

Galleria Doris Ghetta
Pontives 83
9046 Ortisei (Bolzano)
Italy
www.dorisghetta.com

 

 

 

The Keen Observer is the first presentation in Italy of the renowned master of the Cluj School of Painting, the 78 years old painter Cornel Brudascu, in dialogue with the 26 years old artist Alin Bozbiciu, represented by Doris Ghetta Gallery.

This exhibition aims to explore the relationship of trust and mutual admiration between the master and his young disciple that is based on their common passion for painting, and also, on their deep affection for their canine companions.

Investigating the complex mechanisms of identification of the young artist with the master, and also of the master with his youngest student, this dialogue searches for the common features that underlie their decision to portray each other in their work, often accompanied by their dogs.

A source of inspiration for many artists of the Cluj art scene, such as Victor Man and Mircea Cantor, master Brudascu is known for his highly painterly and poetic canvases. Choosing simple themes as flowers, landscapes, and portraits, Brudascu’s paintings wrap his compositions in an aura of mystery that subtly refer to the painting of old masters.

While Alin Bozbiciu’s works address scenes of everyday life, his works never fully reveal themselves to the viewers. While the painterly technique bares clear references to the one of the master, by occulting intentionally the subject, Bozbiciu’s works become specifically contemporary. Focusing on a close study of the relationship between people and animals, his canvases instill a strong feeling of intimacy, revealing to the viewer to a new type of sensibility.

The selection of works that compose the exhibition aims at underlining that the relevant and beautiful things in life are very close. To reach them one should only become a keen and patient observer.

 

Mirror Stage, Seven Studies of Composition. Works by Cornel Brudascu and Alin Bozbiciu

Mirror Stage, Seven Studies of Composition
 
Works by Cornel Brudascu and Alin Bozbiciu 
Curated by Maria Rus Bojan

Opening: Thursday, November 27, 18-21 hrs
Exhibition dates: November 27, 2014 through January 31, 2015 

Le Plafond
Hazenstraat 28
1016 SR, Amsterdam
The Netherlands
 
Exhibition organized by Le Plafond and MB Art Agency in the framework of the Amsterdam Art Weekend, 2014.
Le Plafond is a project of Stigter van Doesburg and Martin van Zomeren.

Portrait of a Generation

 

Cornel Brudascu exhibition, 31st Oct. 2013 – 24th Nov. 2013, @Spatiu Intact, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Curator: Maria Rus Bojan

Portrait of a Generation is the first personal exhibition dedicated to the early works of painter Cornel Brudascu, one of the most influential artists in Romania and especially in Cluj, a mentor of many young artists. Along with his friends and colleagues Ana Lupaş and Mircea Spătaru, Cornel Brudaşcu is an emblematic figure of the 1970s neo-avant-garde, as well as one of very few Romanian artists whose early works can be assimilated to Pop Art. Known mainly through the myths that circulated about them and their work, this group of artists active in Cluj in the 1970s contributed to a radical change of paradigm—in both conceptual dimensions and artistic expression—that created a favorable context for artistic innovation for the generations to come.
This exhibition proposes the first historical restitution of Cornel Brudaşcu’s creation of the epoch, by bringing together a selection of rather unknown paintings from the collections of the museums in Cluj and Zalău. The exhibition opens up new perspectives aimed at providing a better understanding of the spiritual and conceptual aspects of his creation. It is therefore not by accident that this first personal exhibition of Cornel Brudaşcu bears the very suggestive title Portrait of a generation, since one of his preferred subjects of the period was the portrait. His compositions include portraits of his peers such as artist Ana Lupaş – the de facto leader of her generation, sculptor Mircea Spătaru, painters Nicolae Maniu and Ion Munteanu.
Assuming that time has a sense and thus also a material content, these compositions refuse to reveal the specific features of the persons in the portraits, therefore individualizing and objectifying them, opting instead for rendering a specific Zeitgeist that sheds a strong light on the group’s spirit of togetherness and cohesion. The only individual portrait in this selection is that of Ion Munteanu (the prematurely departed friend of the artist), a work that contains a conundrum as it questions how to conserve the spirit of the deceased person through a visual articulation that consequently indicates the dominant tendencies and spirit of their times.
In terms of pictorial representation, the portraits use a visual vocabulary that is partially based on Pop Art, although the artist interprets the subject in a highly personal manner. While it seems that Cornel Brudaşcu did not fully comprehend the aesthetic principles of this artistic movement, the artist had a good intuition about the contemporary changes in visual paradigm therefore introducing in his works visual elements appropriated from the Western advertising imagery and the experimental photography. The German magazine Pop Corn and other publications received occasionally form abroad served as his main sources of inspiration, along with the discovery of solarized pictures that were extremely appreciated in his circle.
Other two works included in this selection, “Young Men on a Building Site” and “Traian Vuia”, bridge the gap between artist’s earlier interest for pictorial innovation, and the next phase in his creation that focuses strictly on the artistic expression despite the obvious ideological themes imposed by the political power of the day. While looking to these paintings, the viewer might be confused by the artist’s decision of not clarifying his position about these subjects and the manner in which he has chosen to paint them. However, the colors make the painted surfaces to vibrate and the clash between the various type of artistic gestures are meant to release spiritual “energies”, articulating in this way a new kind of pictorial discourse that is conceptual and not mimetic.
Later, like many artists of the same generation, Cornel Brudaşcu’s interest had turn towards hyperrealism and, in the recent years, towards a highly personal expression that leans on the pictorial representation of the grand masters of universal painting. Although the exhibition gathers only a small number of his works, it allows us to understand the stylistic evolution of the painter, opening at the same time a world of pictorial expressions that are able to convey the philosophy and the truths of his generation.

Text by Maria Rus Bojan, available here.