Ion Grigorescu’s first solo show at Ivan Gallery presents videos and photographs of some of the artist’s public and private performances from the ’80s until present date, alongside new paintings from 2022. The artist’s objective captures daily activities, intimate experiments, and artistic events: a night concert inside a church in 1985, the performance with public “The Limit of the Visual Field” from 1999 at Mucsarnok, Budapest, Hungary, a private yoga routine from 2011, a personal ritual of honouring the water at Rasca, Romania, in 2018, the daring action of fixing the roof of his house by himself in 2018-2019. Alongside these, an important piece of the exhibition is represented by the documentation of Ion Grigorescu’s first international solo show, “Meal for a Dead Culture (Mahlzeit für eine tote Kultur)”, at Schauplatz für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Vienna, 1993, a dynamic, in progress exhibition, with changes and transformations recorded by the eponymous video. The new paintings, created by the artist on the occasion of the present exhibition, place the history of painting in a subtle dialogue with performance:
“Historically speaking, painting used to need two, three, or more models that the painter chose in accordance to the theme, while socially living the subject of the painting before and during applying the brushstrokes.
Art used to require the consent, the contribution and the performance of models, thus the artist was indebted to them, as well as to the Muse.” (Ion Grigorescu)
Ion Grigorescu (b. 1945, Bucharest, Romania) developed throughout his career a complex artistic practice, difficult to frame from a one-sided perspective, encompassing various media – painting, drawing, photography, film, private performance, object – in documenting aspects of reality which include his own body, family and daily life, as well as the social and political context. He studied painting between 1963-1969 at the Fine Arts Institute in Bucharest, and joined the Romanian Artists’ Union in 1971, while always maintaining a somewhat marginal, critical position towards the official artistic system of the time. His works from the ‘60s and ‘70s, provocative and subversive, searched for the contradictions inherent to the ‘objective’ facts, criticising the Communist regime and the dictatorship before 1989. In early 1980s he renounced his public artistic career, due to the increasing censorship and constraints of the Communist regime, dedicating to church mural painting restoration instead. After 1989 he resumed exhibiting, his multi-faceted endeavour perpetually resisting any attempt at summarising, being just broadly characterised by the artist’s inexhaustible experimentation and his extensive use of references, from psychoanalysis, Yoga and Buddhist philosophy, Orthodox Christianity, art brut, cinematography.
His works have been shown in exhibitions at the 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 most recently in the Kathmandu Triennale 2077, the 4th edition, Nepal.
The exhibition can be visited in Ivan Gallery’s space inside Atelierele Malmaison on Calea Plevnei 137C, B side, 1st floor, until 21st of May 2022, Thur-Sat 3-7 pm, or by appointment outside the visiting hours.
Installation shots by Cătălin Georgescu.