Estopia Art Gallery is pleased to invite you on Thursday, February 11, from 4.00 to 9.00 PM, at the opening of the group exhibition Innocence, showcasing 8 Romanian contemporary artists: Angela Bontaș, Lucian Brumă, Andrei Ciurdărescu, Andrada Feșnic, Juhos Sándor, Sergiu Laslo, Antonina Manda and Ada Muntean.
When we are no longer children, we are already dead – these words of Brâncuși are at the origin of the theme of this exhibition, built around the “Cinderellas” of artistic discourse, far too often exiled at the outskirts, (too) often considered obsolete – innocence, candour, ingenuity.
Articulated on a dual concept, which brings together both the imaginary and the stylistic representation of innocence, featured in various registers, some contradictory, and far from aiming to solve the inherent ambivalences of the theme, the exhibition presents itself as a kind of succession of “samples of candour”.
Similar to the display cases that compose the Museum of Innocence built by Orhan Pamuk in Istanbul, starting from his own novel – a clear proof that fiction can build reality brick by brick – each selected work of this exhibition has its own “innocent story”. From the simulation of the child’s drawing made by Angela Bontaș in The Little Prince (“The Little Prince is not blond, says the artist, it’s me, it’s you …”), to the solar-utopian garden in Andrei Ciurdărescu‘s paintings, where the natural and the artificial intermingle in a seductive game of perspectives, the duplicitous candour of Sergiu Laslo’s works or the visual narratives of the figure and shadow, elaborated by Lucian Brumă, to the manifesto of the supremacy of human face as a depository of the “pores of soul” in Antonina Manda‘s hyper realistic paintings, the difference between these approaches of “innocent representation” are stemming from the artists’ own imaginary. But the flashes of “happy spaces” are counterbalanced by their obscure counterparts, where the painful end of innocence is sensed or has already taken place, as it occurs in Ada Muntean’s uncertain corporealities, touched by an insatiable hunger for metamorphosis, in the refined underwater reverie of Andrada Feșnic, which refers to a subtle dialogue with Emir (Kusturica) and René (Magritte) or in Juhos Sándor’s disturbing inanimate representations – a kind of static natures of the post-innocent era.
Angela Bontaş was born in 1972, she lives and works in Bucharest. She studied Sculpture and Scenography at the University of Arts in Bucharest and is interested in painting, drawing, installation and performance. She has a special affinity with children’s drawing, as she is convinced that only an innocent look can save us from deforming our perception of reality. She has been a founding member of Rostopasca group, together with Nicolae Comănescu, Dumitru Gorzo and Alina Pențac, and later on with Alina Buga, Florin Tudor and Mona Vatamanu, with whom she exposed, between 1997 and 2001, both in Romania, as well as in France, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and the US. In 2011 she has exhibited at ARTOP Galerie, Lille, France. She participated in numerous group shows, among which Liberté, Egalité, Sororité, Atelier 35, She – Affective Exercises, Galateca Gallery, Pudendum Femininum, Alert Studio, Bucharest, 2020; Ex Catedra Masculum and Torid, Arthub, Bucharest, in 2019; Măcinat, Museum of Romanian Literature, Bucharest, in 2018; War Correspondence, Bucharest Art Week, Știrbey Palace, Bucharest, in 2017.
Born in 1976 in Bârlad, Lucian Brumă lives and works in Bucharest. He studied Painting at the George Enescu National University of Arts in Iași, where he earned his BA and MA. He is currently a PhD candidate at the National University of Arts in Bucharest. He presented his works in solo shows, such as No(w) Filters for Memory, Estopia Art Gallery, Bucharest, in 2020; Testimonies of an Unlived Life, Borderline Art Space, Iași, in 2017; Think about the Box, Aparte Gallery, Iași, Samādhi, Nicolae Tonitza Galleries, Bârlad, in 2016 and Rules out of the Game, World Bank, Bucharest, in 2014. He participated in group shows, among which Blurred Is the New ID, Estopia Art Gallery, 2020; ARTIST Art Salon, 2019; Drawing Salon, Accademia di Romania in Roma and National Contemporary Art Salon, MNaR, Bucharest, in 2018; Erotica, Pallady Gallery, Iași, in 2017, and Reality Levels, Aparte Gallery, Iași, 2015, among others.
Andrei Ciurdărescu was born in 1984 in Orăștie, he lives and works in Cluj-Napoca.
In 2014 he earned his PhD in Visual Arts from the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca. In 2015 he won the “Vasile Pârvan” postdoctoral scholarship at Accademia di Romania in Roma, Italy, where her worked and lived for a year. “Like a baroque scenography, filtered by the light of regional painting, I recompose on canvas elements and spaces displayed in a personal order, by means of paradox and utopia. Objects and characters are reunited in a logic of the absurd as if they were engaged a theatrical scenography, while speculating on the sensations, feelings, fears and mystery of the encounters between the objects, the public and the artist”. His works have been featured in solo and group shows, such as Il faut cultiver notre jardin, Centrul de Interes, Cluj-Napoca; Jeune Création Européenne Biennale, Hjoerring / Como / Paris, 2020; Icons of Utopia, Arthalle Gallery, Bucharest, 2019; Four Points of Enclosure, MATCA Art Space, Cluj-Napoca, 2018; Apocalypse after Conchita, A+Project Space, Cluj-Napoca, 2018; Io nel giardino, Boccanera Project Room, Trento, Italy, 2016; 4Spaces – Common Ground, Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica, Venice, Italy; 2016; Giardini splendore. Belleza ferita and Neomappa Roma la Accademia di Romania in Roma, 2015; Luc Tuymans in a Dialogue with Călin Dan, Fundația Culturală Spațiul Intact, Paintbrush Factory, Cluj-Napoca, 2014; Vanguardias y periferias, La Neomudejar – Centro de Artes de Vanguardia, Madrid, 2014; Cutting Edge II, Museum of Art, Cluj-Napoca, 2013. He is currently a lecturer at the Painting Department, University of Art and Design, Cluj.
Andrada Feșnic was born in 1987 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where she lives and works.
She studied Painting at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, where she earned her BA in 2016 and her MA in 2018. In 2015 she won an Erasmus mobility at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. The A+ Project Space housed the artist’s solo exhibition Aftermath in 2018, at Centrul de Interes, Cluj-Napoca. She presented her works in a series of group shows and international projects, including a performance as part of the project Performing the Unconscious, Freud Museum, London, in 2015. In 2019 she presented her first solo show, Fractured Realities I, with Estopia Art Gallery in Bucharest, followed by Fractured Realities II at Estopia Lugano and Not Natural, Estopia Bucharest, in 2020. For Andrada Feșnic, painting is a true experimental field defined by the overlapping of layers, the collage painterly effect and the carefully orchestrated decomposition of figurative elements.
Born in 1993 in Cluj-Napoca, where he lives and works, Sergiu Laslo studied Painting at the University of Arts and Design in the same city. In 2019 he presented his first solo exhibition, Lighting Grey, at the Estopia Art Gallery, in Bucharest, receiving public and critical acclaim, followed by Stolen Moments, featured the same year at Estopia Lugano. Since 2017, he has taken part in various group shows in Romania and abroad, including Going East at the Romanian Cultural Institute in London; in Cluj, at the Bombastic Cultural Space and Workshop Launloc, DIY (Do It Yourself), Gara Mică Cultural Space; Paintings and Jewelry, Wine Notes, and Close Encounters of the Ninth Kind, City Art Space and Double Tree at Hilton; Rebellive Art / Conscious, A fashion-infused Art Zine, in Budapest, and I Don’t Emanate Carbon, Halucinarium – Triaj creativ, in Bucharest.
Juhos Sándor was born in 1974 in Cluj-Napoca, where he lives and works.
“All artists are crazy, and we don’t want crazy people in this house”: faced with such a daunting ultimatum from his family, Sándor initially attended the High School of Electrotechnics, worked as a bookbinder at Imprimeria Ardealul in the early 90’s and even earned a diploma of welder / tinsmith before finding a path in art. The 2000s found him ready to assume becoming a certified artist: in 2003 he graduated in Painting from the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, and in 2005 he obtained a master’s degree in the same specialization. Until 2009 he was the initiator, founder and co-curator with Kudor Duka Istvan of the Bulgakov Gallery, where many of the artists who are today part of the Cluj School have exhibited in those years. The same year he defended his PhD thesis titled Representation of the Human Figure in the Virtual Space. 2008 is the year when Sándor retrospectively sets the transition from the romantic status of “hungry artist” to what was to become in the following 10 years his dominant visual mark: still life, a genre that would gain him a special profile among the artists of his generation. He presented his work in solo exhibitions, in Cluj, at Korunk Studio Gallery (Mixed Antimedia, 2011); Kaja Tanya (Paintings and Butterflies, 2014); Bazis Contemporary, The Paintbrush Factory (Death of Hummingbird, 2015), and Nano Gallery (Fragile Equations, 2015, and Act Anima, Nano Gallery / Center of Interest, along with Andras Szabo, in 2017). Estopia Art Gallery presented two solo shows, Abundance, Bucharest, 2019, and Lucid Dreams, Lugano, in 2020.
Antonina Manda was born in 1990 in Chișinău. She lives and works in Bucharest.
She graduated in Painting from the National University of Art in Bucharest, where she earned her BA in 2013 and her MA in 2015. She presented her work in solo shows in Bucharest, such as Katyusha, U Art Gallery, 2018, and Children Faces, Artut, in 2016. She participated in group shows at Muzeul Castelul Corvinilor, Hunedoara, 2021; National Salon of Contemporary Art (Centenary), Summer Salon, Metropolis Art Collection, Bucharest, and Moldovan Salons, Bacău / Chișinău, in 2018; Visual Arts Center, Bucharest, 2017; DIPLOMA Festival and Sala Dalles, in 2015; Palace of Parliament and US Embassy, Bucharest, in 2013. Hyperrealistic painting is overlapping, in Antonina Manda’s works, on a deeply personal style, that the artist defines as the technique of making the souls’s pores visible: “I am fascinated by the human figure, says the artist, by the experience, the mystery, and the feelings that the human face conveys, because the man is at the centre of God’s creation and for him God created the world. At a time when we are bombed by images of all kinds, the human face is often ignored, or forgotten, in favour of a multitude of worthless landscapes and material objects, which are devoid of soul, but which have tired and weakened the soul”.
Ada Muntean was born in 1987 in Cluj-Napoca, where she lives and works.
In 2009 she graduated from the Graphics Department of the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, where she later earned her MA, in 2011, and her PhD Visual Arts, in 2019. She was a recipient of university scholarships at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, UK, and Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland. In 2015 she undertook an internship at Peckham Platform in London, and Plan B Gallery in Berlin, in 2016 Among her solo shows: Corporealities. Uncertain Bodies, Estopia Art Gallery, Bucharest, 2020; Relativity, a duo show with Andreea Anghel, Nano Gallery, Cluj-Napoca; Blackout. [Follow The White Rabbit], NEW NOW Art Space, Frankfurt and Sabotage: Deconstructing The Unforeseen – Camera, Centrul de Interes, Cluj-Napoca, in 2018; Dot Fever. Future Memories, duo show with Mathias Bar, open studio, Cluj; Fluid Identity, FIVE PLUS Art Gallery, Vienna, in 2017. She has participated in numerous exhibitions and group projects, including Blurred Is the New ID, Estopia Art Gallery, Bucharest, in 2020; Woman, All Too Woman, Museum of Art, Timișoara, and Join the Dots, Imago Mundi, Salone degli Incanti, Trieste, Italy, in 2018; Process Terminus, Art Encounters, Timisoara; With | out Guidelines, Launloc Gallery, Cluj-Napoca and ARTOPIA, Vienna, in 2017; Open16, Peckham Platform, London; Resurrected, FIVE PLUS Art Gallery, Vienna; Learning & Unlearning – Înecați_Panta Rhei, Plan B Gallery, Cluj-Napoca in 2016 etc. In 2010 she exhibited in the photographic project Superbia, at the New Gallery of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Venice, presented at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.
February 11 – April 3, 2021
Opening: Thursday, February 11, from 4.00 – 9.00 PM
Artists: Angela Bontaș, Lucian Brumă, Andrei Ciurdărescu, Andrada Feșnic, Juhos Sándor, Sergiu Laslo, Antonina Manda, Ada Muntean