Favourite Games

Sándor Bartha, Flaviu Cacoveanu, Cristina David, Mihaela Hudrea, Simona Runcan, Iulia Toma, Cătălin Velea


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Ivan Gallery is delighted to invite you on Friday, February 25, 6-9 pm, to the opening event of the group exhibition “Favourite Games”, presenting works and interventions by Sándor Bartha, Flaviu Cacoveanu, Cristina David, Mihaela Hudrea, Simona Runcan, Iulia Toma, Cătălin Velea.

The exhibition takes shape around the intuitive dialogue between the selected artworks, sharing a  mutual attitude towards art-making based on experimental and conceptual processes. The “Favourite Games” represent strategies for exploring, re-imagining, and ‘improving’ reality by the artists’ own rules, with artistic gestures that confer different meanings, possibilities and chances to objective deeds and data. The “Favourite Games” are non-competitive and light, games in which there are no opposite sides, no judges, no scores.

The game starts with a series of etchings by Simona Runcan from 1973-1978, titled “Children Games”, a well-defined and limited body of works from the beginning of her career that renders still-lives with various ‘games’ invented by the artist: “The Game with Spools”, “Sailor’s Game”, “Game for Tuesday”, “Game for the 1st of January”. Simona Runcan’s games aren’t childish games at all, but rather graphic-pop art experiments with mysterious repetitive elements, in the specific manner of her conceptualist practice. The abstract landscapes created by these cylindrical ‘spools’ placed in space according to some unknown rules evoke sceneries of indecipherable, encrypted games.

Cristina David’s installation with playing cards, “Happy End for Herman”, 2013, brings forth a mathematical resolve for a game of cards that obsesses – and eventually drives mad – the German officer Herman, the main character of the short story “The Queen of Spades”, written by Aleksandr Pushkin in 1833. The deck of cards is prepared by the artist after an algorithm that ensures complete chances of winning, thus being able to heal Herman’s obsession and rewrite the short story’s tragic and unfair ending.

In the proximity of these rather explicit ‘games’, Cătălin Velea’s soft sculptures made of sponge during the past year introduce into space beings and characters flowing from his inner affective world, created from transformed unconventional materials, and from the artist’s passion for fashion and design. The fragmentary and hybrid creatures are pieced together from figurative elements inspired by daily, human life, as well as from the animal realm, such as the ‘panther’ with references to antiquity and cartoons, likewise.

The drawings “Celestial Events. Grandpa’s Possible Dreams” created by Sándor Bartha in recent times, 2021-22, explore forgotten corners of the trans-generational subconscious, revisiting childhood remembrances in a Surrealist manner, under the influence of the altering effects of memory. The site-specific text intervention refers to another grandfather and to other dreams,  recontextualised at present in the exhibition after the original 1995 intervention presented at Grabner House in Arad.

Iulia Toma’s new installation, “SAYA, the wrapped scabbard”, 2021, presents a memorial of feminine and feminist resistance in a series of reinvented scabbards. Inspired by the Japanese culture of samurai-women, the scabbards created by the artist carry inside their textile wrapping  specific narratives entwined in the process of their making, from wrapped, and sometimes sown textile spirals of fragments of clothes, scarfs, carpets, strings, that sequentially record, throughout time, subjective experiences, chronologies, and histories.

Mihaela Hudrea explores the universe of essential geometric shapes in minimalist compositions investigating the mechanisms of visuality and perception. Her 2022 paintings, “Around the Sun” and “Moonfall”, are inspired by interplanetary connections, the nature of time and the human being on a cosmic level.

Flaviu Cacoveanu’s interventions more than often access an area of conceptual deconstruction, experiment and temporary, apparently absurde gestures. The “Sculpture” interactive installation, 2018-2022, brings forth a certain type of sculptural anti-monument with performative features, activated through the visitors’ collaboration in spontaneous, random configurations of language games. “Chess for Snails”, 2016-2022, offers the mesmerising experience of watching a game of chess in the animal kingdom of snails, with equal and undifferentiated players, who ignore the rules of the game and advance at their own pace.

The team of the exhibition: Marian Ivan, Diana Ursan, Robert Băjenaru, Ștefan Balint.

Photos by Cătălin Georgescu.

The exhibition can be visited in Ivan Gallery’s space inside Atelierele Malmaison on Calea Plevnei 137C, B side, 1st floor, until 8th of April 2022, Thur-Sat 3-7 pm, or by appointment outside the visiting hours. 

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