It’s been some time since the international artistic phenomenon, “The School of Cluj”, brought the attention of the art world. One would wonder what has been going on since, and more importantly, how do the artists now relate to the past and how do they approach their art with such a precedent set before them, a golden standard.
It seems that, for a time, at the begininng of the phenomenon, most of the artists were connected through a similar conceptual practice and themes, such as the reconciliation of the past with the present, especially if we are to think about Romania’s history with communism.
An interesting situation is created with the “new” artists born in Romania’s post communist democracy, putting them in a place from where it’s temporaly impossible to have lived it through, but close enough for its mark to be felt still. If in the beginning, when the leading artists first emerged in the international art scene, their main inquiry was about the past, for them a very much alive past that for the artists of newer generations is only felt indirectly, like a sort of awareness, then one inquiry left to be had is “where do we go from here?”.
Even if one is not interested in politics or history in an active way in his process of creating, we can agree that no one exists in a vaccum, the context appears through in one way or another, even the personal histories being the result of a collective one.
With the shifting of the emphasis from a collective history to a more personal one, we can witness the birth of a wider range of different intrests and individual methods of creating, pumping ever new blood into the art scene of Cluj, reflecting some interesting aspects of our times and maybe an anxious hope about the future.
In this group exhibition hosted in Trento by Boccanera Gallery titled AFTERLIFE. A New Beginning, Cristian Avram invited the artists Oana Cervinschi, Marius Ghita, Amanda Maier, Cătălina Milea and Andriana Oborocean to come together in a show of different imaginariums and practices in order to leave their own mark in this new life for artists working and living in Cluj.
It is neither a defiance nor a continuation of the past phenomenon but with a setting in the art world’s attention it can certainly be a new beginning.
Cristian Avram‘s (Alba-Iulia, 1994) works, at first glance, follow a rather classical approach to painting, with life-like depictions of everyday objects and scenes, extracted form personal experience. However, his striving does not stand within the depiction itself (which acts more like a trigger and a pretext in creating various shapes and relations, filtered in such a way as to purge away anything thats not essential), depiction being just a means to an end in creating visual metaphors that encapsulate the truthseeking of the inner world, turning the personal outwards into universal, the impossible into possibility. In his subjects Avram often plays with reflections, uncertainty and the duality between the interior and exterior, the paintings themselves acting as portals, a way of looking through into something else, or maybe, even a mirror that reflects a different kind of reality, a different way for the viewer to see.
Oana Cervinschi (Zalău, 1998) is a painter who finds inspiration in art’s history and literature that reflect the motif of solitude, of human intrinsec nature and the arelationship with his surroundings. In her works, she tries to depict the subject of personal space, choosing interiors that are meaningful to her, with which she developed an intimate connection, especially scenes of everyday life in which she captures the way in which the extraordinary can infiltrate even in the most ordinary places and situations. The human figure is usually fugitive or absent from her paintings, denoting a sense of isolation. Her works can be seen as a honest representation of the cotidian life, of mundane objects and activities, that are universal and to which people can relate to, regardless of their socio-cultural backgrounds.
Marius Ghita‘s (Satu Mare, 1999) paintings carry with them a considerable feeling of nostalgia, owing to his strong bond towards childhood and the places of days past, such as the parental home. While at work, Ghita is in a process of perpetual questioning and slef discovery, shifting his perspective from experience to imagination, as leaving the latter to fill the gaps of memory, through an allegorical research of the known and unknown, the human and the doubtful. He employs techniques of traditional painting in constructing enviroments that contain the human loneliness and hinting at the obscurity of perception. In his settings, the landscape is as much alive as its characters, coexisting seemingly through a relational and chromatic symbiosis.
Amanda Maier (Oradea, 1996) is a photographer whose explorations consist mainly in the medium of polaroid instant film. She works in series, which can be described at times as photographic diaries, as Fragments of time, a puzzle of feelings set in an Renaissance-like ambience in the city of Venice. This journal initiated from the idea of a memory: an ephemeral state at a certain moment of time, which one desperately tries to cherish, but it inevitably fades. Most instant photographs in this series portray a mysterious feminine silhouette captured in various intimate situations. Another series, titled In Blue showcases a diary of instant photographs, taken in an aquatic environment. The water enhances the unique distortions in each photograph, granting the illusion of enchanting gestures. While the photographs kindle the idea of freedom and peace, their frames suggest the undoubted captivity of the human being in the grasp of time.
Cătălina Milea (Bistrița, 2000) prefers to work with a classic medium like oil paints or dry pastel, on medium sized surfaces in order to establish a more intimate relation with the viewer. She can be described as a hunter for meaning, driven by her sensibilities into the unexplained, painting the absurdity of everyday appearances and exploring the uncannines of being. In the process of building her imagery she finds inspiration in various sources, from mythology to Middle Ages bestiaries. With her dominant field of research in Magical Realism, contradiction becomes one of the main keys in understanding her vision. All of her characters are displayed in a tragic irony scenario, often in a phantasmal fashion. In many of her works, there can be seen different types of organic patterns combining the pictorial with the decorative as an agent of transition between the world of reality and that of fantasy.
Photography and video are Andriana Oborocean‘s (Transnistria, 1995) main tools accompanied by others, such as sewing and sculpture. She build works designed to generate psychological and emotional responses, exploring topics related to identity, vulnerability and affective touch between people. It is common for her to make use of both organic elements from nature and technology, often displayed together alongside mystical, ethereal elements. Each of her work embodies a personal, almost surreal esthetic.
Title: Afterlife. A New Beginning
Opening: October 08, 2022
Ending: November 19, 2022
Organization: Boccanera Gallery Trento
Curator: Cristian Avram
Place: Trento, Boccanera Gallery Trento
Address: via Alto Adige 176 - 38121 Trento
Opening 07.10.2022 - 18:00 - 21:00 / 6PM - 9PM
More info on this website: https://boccaneragallery.com/