Saturday, 12 September 2009


Adrian Ghenie
born in 1977 in Baia Mare, Romania; lives and works in Cluj and Berlin

"The work of Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie demonstrates an enduring fascination with European history, addressed through ideas relating to memory, trauma and extremism in the Twentieth century.

A strongly progressive narrative runs through the artist's work. The sources for his images are derived from a combination of his own personal store of memories and from historical books, archives and film - both documentary and fictional. The weaving together of personal histories with collective memories makes for a psychologically disturbing encounter on the part of the viewer, who may experience a sense of unease or an uncanny jolt of recognition as he surveys the paintings. According to Carl Jung this is because they are being encouraged to draw from 'the reservoir of the experiences of our species'; Ghenie compares this experience to passing through a series of rooms. The first room, or 'upper level of the subconscious', contains images and offers situations familiar to many, the successive rooms or deep subconscious hold a person's darkest private fears.

While Ghenie may have derived inspiration from the dark times of 20th Century European history, his attention to detail and ability to create convincingly real interiors for his protagonists finds its roots in his love of Northern European Renaissance painting. The textures of walls, cupboards and floors are carefully observed and faithfully translated by Ghenie; the intimacy of the domestic scenes heightened by the familiar clutter of human detritus. Ghenie's paintings are never prescriptive but rather open to a multitude of possible interpretations. Figurative imagery is buried within drips and pours of paint, scraped and weathered surfaces, which perhaps represent contrasting states of clarity, fluidity and erosion. Ghenie seems to suggest that history and memory are never fixed, but rather in flux.

Adrian Ghenie (b.1977 Baia-Mare, Romania) graduated in 2001 from the University of Art and Design, Cluj (Romania), and lives and works in Cluj and Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include ‘The Flight into Egypt’, Nolan Judin, Berlin (2008), Plan B, Berlin (2008), Tim van Laere,Antwerp (2008) and ‘Shadow of a Daydream’, Haunch of Venison Zurich (2007/08). Important recent group exhibitions include Liverpool Biennial (2008), ‘Expanded Painting’, Prague Biennale (2007) and 'Cluj Connection', Haunch of Venison, Zurich (2006). Ghenie has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Museum of Modern Art in Bucharest (2009) and SMAK, Ghent (2010)." (HAUNCH OF VENISON)


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