Works by 13 Romanian artists are on display at the Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris. The fashion house is showcasing the artistic experiments of a country that it has long considered a fertile land for creative expression.
By Oana Vasiliu
The creativity of Romanian artists has come to worldwide attention. During the years of political oppression, their work remained experimental and confidential; however, once this period came to an end, they were quick to assert their identity, bursting onto the international art scene. “The visibility and the buzz created by Romanian contemporary art have made this exhibition possible, as local artists are a notable presence worldwide,” Mihai Pop, the coordinator of the Plan B Gallery, which represents artists from Cluj in the Paris expo titled Romanian Scenes, told BR.
The exhibition features a selection of works by artists from Bucharest and Cluj who have shaped the art scene over the past 40 years. Bucharest was chosen to recruit the older generation of artists, who maintained a vibrant creative energy through the dark years. Geta Bratescu evokes the theme of travel; Ion Grigorescu bears witness to a bygone era through drawings and photographs; Ioana Batranu paints abandoned interiors; while Bogdan Vladuta creates near-monochromatic urban worlds.
In Cluj, the young generation of artists have adopted academic painting techniques. Dan Beudean uses graphite; Mihut Boșcu Kafchin creates a giant-scale universe; Simon Cantemir Hausi covers his tracks in his portraits and landscapes; Oana Farcas bathes her paintings in light; Ciprian Muresan adapts works of literature through his drawings; Sergiu Toma uses phantasmagorical symbols; Serban Savu paints the views from the window of his studio; Mircea Suciu dresses social criticism in a subversive universe; while Adrian Ghenie uses portraits to explore essential issues surrounding power and oppression while playing with clichés related to the history of entertainment.
As a Louis Vuitton representative said, “The past and the future stand comfortably in one another’s presence and imagery reigns. Paintings of bygone eras – symbols of the resistance to the dictatorship’s oppression – are like so many reinvented images that, despite exacerbated globalization, continue to have a potent impact.”
Although most of the Romanian artists on display are big names on the international art market, none of the exhibits is for sale. “Some of the works of art were made especially for this exhibition, while some were brought from private collections. The space that Louis Vuitton provides is purely educational and cultural,” added Pop.
The gallery is situated on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, above Louis Vuitton’s flagship store. The exhibition will run from October 10 to January 12, 2014. The Paris exhibition was curated by Herve Mikaeloff.