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Romanian contemporary art

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Oana Farcas

Oana Farcas: Romanian contemporary painters

Born in 1981, Oana Farcas is one of a newer generation of Romanian artists associated with Cluj, where she began her studies in 1999.

Farcas describes her work as "my own private collection of bits and pieces of recycled memories and visual information".

While this approach to art-making has become increasingly, even predictably, routine, Farcas consolidates this sense of an "imaginary museum" by frequently producing miniature works alongside larger pieces.

These tiny paintings assume various roles; as hand-held objects, curiosities, or jewel-like momentoes.

Displayed in cabinets or vitrines, their proximity and arrangement within a discrete, self-contained space allows for particularly intimate viewing and narrative potential.

Oana Farcas: Romania, contemporary art
Oana Farcas

Serban Savu

Romanian painting today: Serban Savu

Born in 1978, and educated in Cluj-Napoca from 1996-2001, Serban Savu is one of the better known representatives of recent Romanian art, as well as arguably among the most talented.

His paintings depict ordinary Romanians at work and play in equally ordinary surroundings tinged with omnipresent urbanity.

Motorways bisect nondescript riverside vistas; unremarkable streets are dominated by bland, communist-era architecture. Even the most apparently rural of his landscapes are agricultural, destined to supply the towns and cities which somehow feel close at hand (Savu's flat horizons give nothing away, refusing to indicate what might lie beyond).

Serban Savu

Yet despite the dreariness of the locations in which he chooses to place his figures, Savu's subjects seem unoppressed by their surroundings, sunbathing, swimming, working, walking; all providing a glimpse of the resolutely quotidian.

Nevertheless, Savu's impressive figuration blinds us to various manipulations. His technique of isolating figures within wide expanses of land or cityscape creates dramatic compositions powerfully at odds with the mundanity of his subject matter. We assume, too, that his works depict the present, when in fact most could easily portray the communist Romania of twenty years past - Savu specifically keeps temporal markers hidden.

In a continual elision of past and present, he transforms all manifestations of the utilitarian and ordinary into moments that surpass the sum of their parts.

Romanian contemporary art: Serban Savu

Victor Man

Romanian contemporary art and painting

Victor Man's painting, sculpture and installation alludes to Transylvania's folkloric and mythical traditions while simultaneously constructing its own universe of esoteric significance.

Perhaps inevitably, it's a stance that also nurtures popular associations with the land of Vlad the Impaler: packs of wolves, animal pelts, ghostly forms and eroticised imagery are a staple of works that seem dark in just about every sense.

Victor Man

But Man's practice stubbornly resists interpretation, despite indicating that threads of specific meaning support his work- his generally small-format paintings are often conceived as groups rather than single works, for example.

Hinting at worlds and systems beyond familiar experience, the artist's development, in particular, of paintings on glass that reflect the viewer as well as spectral forms produced by the play of light, wrap spectators in the uncomfortably uncanny: clusters of association that insinuate rather than narrate in the usual way.

Art now Romania: Victor Man
Images © Victor Man

Marius Bercea

Marius Bercea: Romanian art now

Born in 1979, and a graduate of Cluj Art Department, Marius Bercea draws inspiration from what he describes as "an intensely personal archive" of memory, artefacts and oral history.

In marked contrast to much other Romanian painting, however, the scenes Bercea records are filled with light and innocent good humour. Playful recollection drawn largely from childhood is depicted with an attendant glow of nostalgic warmth.

Yet Bercea's washed-out chromatic scale not only evokes the distance of memory, it hints, too, at its subjectivity, the possibility of its failure to accurately envisage the world.

Bercea is paradoxically elegiac and critical, closely mirroring the stance (and indeed technique) of many Eastern European artists.

Romanian painting now
Marius Bercea - new painting from Romania and the Cluj School
Images © Marius Bercea

Romanian art now: continued >

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