Drawing for Oneself
The exhibition combines two complementary visions that invite us to probe our interiority, offering possibilities to reconfigure and de-naturalize human identity while presenting an obsession with corporeality and embodiment as a primary gesture. “Drawing for Oneself” opens as an intense study of bodily fractures in the personal and collective imaginary through the works of Florina Coulin and Ion Grigorescu – speculative cartographies of human subjectivities. Florina Coulin’s practice is placed in this duo as a study of the human body. Her drawings, selected from various work periods, both before and after she left Romania, capture a world of the subconscious at the intersection of corporeality and the encounter with the environment. Recomposing an inner rhythm and language through speculative mappings of bodily hierarchies, Florina Coulin resorts to a resemantization and questioning of female identities. All this, against the backdrop of fragmented landscapes evoking meditative images gathered around the circle as a projective point of convergence of visual explorations of incomprehensible crossings between metaphysical and tangible worlds. Complementarily, the practice of the visual artist Ion Grigorescu — a continuous leap over the last decades between public and private histories and realities — gathers, this time, around an intensive study of the human body. His drawings reveal fragmented bodies, revealed between automatism and delayed reactions, combined with everyday activities that have become almost unfamiliar. Ion Grigorescu’s practice encourages a re-cartography of the internal landscape, a re-construction of a (non)conforming world. An analysis of automatic gestures and dynamics, the repetition of forms and spontaneous appearances, subject to an acute degradation, leads to a crossing of the perpetual conflict between the flow of knowledge and that of external social norms. The sketches in the artist’s personal notebooks from 1979-1981 harbour biomorphic, organic forms, rearranged fragmentarily to expel the self from everyday constraints from normative automatisms. At first glance, the practice of the two artists, with similar imagery and approach intertwined over decades of communication, opens up to the public as a ritual invitation into an intimate, shared universe.
Florina Coulin (b. 1947) studied painting at the Nicolae Grigorescu Institute of Fine Arts in Bucharest (now the National University of Arts in Bucharest) from 1965-1971, class of Prof. Octavian Angheluță. After finishing his studies, he was assigned to the High School of Fine Arts in Ploiesti (now the “Carmen Sylva” College), where he taught until 1974. During that period she participated in national and international group exhibitions (in Moscow, Barcelona, Sofia, Stockholm), and in 1975 she became a member of the Union of Fine Artists of Romania. In 1977 she married the scenographer Georg Coulin and moved to Germany, where she continued her artistic career. In 1980 she became a member of the Augsburg Artists’ Union and participated in solo and group exhibitions in Villefranche (France), Munich, Vienna, Istanbul, Iowa City (USA), among others. In Romania, Florina Coulin has also had solo exhibitions at Galeria Curtea Veche (2006 and 2007, Bucharest) and participated in the group exhibitions “Ion Grigorescu and Friends” (Mogoșoaia Palace, 2003), “This part that seems to need to come out through a place in my body” (Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest, 2019, touring in an extended version at Cultuurcentrum Strombeek Grimbergen, Europalia Arts Festival Romania, 2019). She lives and works in Augsburg, Germany. Florina Coulin’s works have been acquired in private and state collections; first grap graphic art, until 1977 by the State Museum of the R.S. Romania, then in Germany, by the Painting Collections of the Bavarian State, Munich, Wertingen Art Collection, Contemporary Art Gallery of Schwabia, Oberschönenfeld, etc.
Ion Grigorescu (b. 1945) lives and works in Bucharest. Considered one of the most significant representatives of the experimental and conceptualist art in Eastern and Central Europe, Ion Grigorescu developed throughout his career a complex artistic practice, difficult to frame from a one-sided perspective. His practice encompasses various media – painting, photography, film, private performance, installation – in documenting aspects of reality which include his own body, family and daily life, as well as the social and political context. His works from the ‘60s and ‘70s, provocative and subversive, search for the contradictions inherent to the ‘objective’ facts, criticising the Communist regime and the dictatorship before 1989. His more recent work acquires spiritual and religious connotations, producing at the same time a critique on the institution of art itself. His works have been shown in exhibitions at the National Museum of Art, Romania, Stedelijk Museum, MoMA New York, New Museum New York, Vienna Biennale 2015, Berlin Biennale 2010, Venice Biennale 1997 and 2011, Documenta 12, to name just a few, and they are in public collections such as Kontakt Art Collection, Vienna, Austria, MUMOK – Museum moderner Kunst, Vienna, Tate Modern, Galeria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea – GAM Torino, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Vehbi Koc Foundation, Istanbul, MoMA, New York, Deutsche Bank AG, London, etc.
Text by Irina-Ana Bobei
The exhibition can be visited in the Ivan Gallery at Atelierelor Malmaison on Calea Plevnei 137C, corp B, Et. 1, until 16 December 2023, from Wednesday to Saturday between 13-18, and otherwise by appointment.
Photo credits: Cătălin Georgescu