Among the artists trained at the School of Cluj, where he comes from, Sándor chose an art genre that has shaped him, in the last decade, a unique profile among the other colleagues of his generation: still life. An original option, if we think that the dominant trend of contemporary art today goes towards conceptual and processuality, and less towards the technical and aesthetic purpose of the artwork. Moreover, the very concept of “work of art” is facing a profound crisis, at least according to the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben, who even went further and imagined that the work of art is threatened today to be replaced by an “absolute performance, a process in which the action itself would menace to substitute the artwork ”.
Juhos Sándor launches a complete reverse bet in this exhibition: what would it be like if contemporary art would return to the work of art, with all that it implies in its original sense, and especially technique and composition? How could an artist today work like a Flemish painter, and yet be deeply contemporary? For Juhos Sándor this challenge is the utmost advantage: this is his moment to demonstrate in this series of still lifes an extraordinary sample of technical refinement and compositional skill, while revisiting at the same time the major patterns of our contemporary imagery.
Sándor is a 17th century painter teleported in the 21st century: his works are exclusively oil paintings, to him “technique” and “virtuality” mean mastery of perspective, reflection experiments and transparency, overlapping layers and angles of light and chiaroscuro obtained with exclusively pictorial means.
If for the commissioners of the famous still lifes from the past these works offered most of the time an image of their social status and well-being, the sense of abundance in Juhos Sándor’s paintings is quite different: at a careful glance, living birds are here in porcelain, brightly colored beads overlap the grains of a grape, as if to swallow their vitality, transparent surfaces substitute water, which gains different consistencies, of silvery mirror, at times, dense, blue, paint-like surface, at others… In Juhos Sándor’s works the meticulously constructed details, the contrasts between surfaces and various transparencies, the objects are so alive, that you can start to believe that their world could be more real, perhaps, than the world we are looking from …
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).
Curator: Irina Ungureanu
Juhos Sándor, Abundance
Estopia Art Gallery Bucharest
Opening: Thursday, November 14th, 6.00 PM
The exhibition will be open from: November 14th, 2019 – January 10th, 2020