Jagged Inflections

Marian Ionescu of the band Direcţia 5 has had his first painting exhibition this year at the largest contemporary art fair in Romania, Art Safari. He then exhibited at ARCUB. Here’s one of my favorite paintings of his show there. It’s titled Urban, and for some reason reminds me of Keith Haring’s lines. It also speaks to me of how we try to impose rational lines onto a city to oppose its organic growth, and how at the end the fabric of that city is a jumbled mixture of lines that make up a palimpsest of its urban history.

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Urban, 200 x 180 cm

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Urban, Detail

Cristian Pentelescu, The Gate

Here’s a work I saw at Senso Gallery in Bucharest last fall, and the beginning of a poem I wrote about it.

I’ve seen warm marble in Bernini’s Rape of Persephone
—Where Pluto’s hand sinks into her flesh—
Pregnant marble in Brancusi’s Beginning of the World
—Where an ovoid rests on a polished steel plate:
The material world and its metaphysical alter in bud—
Marble draped in lavish folds in Michelangelo’s Pietà
Diaphanous in Giovanni Strazza’s Veiled Virgin

But I’ve never seen marble quite so soft and elastic
As that of Cristian Pentelescu’s in The Gate
Or if I did, I don’t remember—

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Cristian Pentelescu, The Gate, Marble, 35 x 20 x 18 cm (13.8 x 7.9 x 7 in)

 

Marcel Guguianu, Muse

Saw one of Marcel Guguianu’s Muse sculptures at Artmark in Bucharest last fall and was quite taken with it, so much so that I returned to the exhibition hall (the new space they have for showcasing contemporary art) to take a whole slew of photos of her in addition to the few I took the first time. Enjoy.

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Marcel Guguianu
Muse
Bronze
18 x 8 x 6 cm (7.1 x 3.1 x 2.4 in)
Pre-sale estimate: €600–€800

Old Age: Suffering Takes Over

As part of the White Night of the Galleries (September 30), the alternative gallery space at Dr. Iacob Felix no. 72A hosted an installation called Road, about the road of life.

The piece that intrigued me the most, despite its simple concept, showed a family photo and a number of medicine package inserts, blisters of pills and prescriptions pinned to an old light brown overcoat. The garment was hanged from the ceiling and a side wall, and underneath it was a pile of medicine packets, pill bottles, and blister packs. The label read Bătrânețea (Old Age), by Rene Răileanu.

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The piece, with the medicine signifiers replacing the body of the person, made me think how in our old age we’re shaped by suffering and how the fact that we’re still standing under that coat is due to the many medicines we take, medicines which help numb that suffering but which, in many ways, take over our identity as we become more and more concerned with our health, talk often about our ailments, and are perceived through the lens of our illnesses by others. And then there the family portrait at the top–what most of us hold most dear in our waning years.

Rene Răileanu is mostly a figurative painter. If you want to see some more of his work, here’s his website.

Vlad Basarab, Earth People, at Amzei Market Makers

Walking about Amzei Square yesterday evening, I stopped at Amzei Market Makers to see their current exhibition (curated by Beti Vervega and Mădălina Mirea). One of the artists included in the show was Vlad Basarab (b. 1977, Bucharest), a graduate of the Ceramics section of the University of Alaska Anchorage, as well as of two M.F.A. programs in the U.S, currently a Ph.D. student in visual arts at the National University of the Arts in Bucharest.

Vlad Basarab is mostly known for the clay books in his Archaeology of Memory series. You can see a photo on ArtOut, accompanying Mădălina Panduru’s interview with the artist, and a video on YouTube, showing in 4 minutes and 31 seconds the way one of these books dissolves under the week-long attritive action of water. In the interview, Vlad Basarab explains that he has left the pages blank in order to allude to oblivion and absence, and to stimulate the viewer to imagine what might have been in those books. Along the same lines, the disintegration of the book suggests the loss of collective memory. For more info in English on Vlad Basarab, see this page from the online art portal Modernism.

I didn’t get to see his books yesterday, but the works he did contribute to the show were rather strong, too. They were called Oameni Pământ nr. 1 (Earth People no. 1) and Oameni Pământ nr. 2 (Earth People no. 2), and played with his favorite media, the elementary materials of earth, water, and fire. I thought they were quite inspired. Here they are.

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Earth People No. 1
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Earth People No. 2

 

 

The Virgin Mary Covered in Wax Drips

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Found this sculpture in the Old Town last night, as part of Bucharest’s tenth edition of the White Night of the Art Galleries, which included a ten-year retrospective at ARCUB. Titled simply Madonna, it’s a work from 2014 by Michele Bressan (b. 1980, Trieste, Italy), who has been residing in Bucharest since 1993.

I’m showing it because this Virgin Mary covered in wax drips made me think of her as carrying our prayers as a light burden . . .

Here are some more shots of her from today.

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Daniela Donțu’s Portraits

I saw two portraits by Daniela Donțu at the Elite Art Gallery a few days ago, and was quite struck by her technique and aesthetic. Here’s Stări (1) (States [of Mind] (1) ) and Gânduri (Thoughts).

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For some reason I couldn’t identify right away, I found these paintings mesmerizing. It took some photographing of old photos to realize what has drawn me to Donțu’s work, States [of Mind] (1) in particular. It’s the way the fluid handling of paint creates the suggestion of reflection-filled layers, as if you were looking at the man through a series of windows—or veils of affective memory.