November 7, 2009 - National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest - Adrian Ghenie
November 7, 2009

Adrian Ghenie

Pie Fight Study VIII, 2009. Oil and acrylic on canvas, 38×33 cm. Courtesy Haunch of Venison, London.

Adrian Ghenie
November 19, 2009 – February 14, 2010

Curated by: Magda Radu

2-4 Izvor Street
050563, Bucharest (Romania)
Wednesday – Sunday, 10.00 – 18.00
Tel: +40 21 3189137
info [​at​]

The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest presents the first survey exhibition of paintings by Adrian Ghenie (born 1977), the well-known Romanian artist who lives and works in Cluj and Berlin. The exhibition underscores the way in which Ghenie has been developing a consistent engagement with issues such as memory and history, by subjecting his artistic practice to a process of continuous renewal and experimentation.

Ghenie is an ardent researcher of the history of the 20th century, being preoccupied with unearthing forgotten narratives, marginal events and seemingly insignificant details in order to compose a visual vocabulary that is both compelling and uncanny. The subject matter does not revolve around a single set of concerns, and yet the different themes of Ghenie’s paintings seem to connect. Spectral presences of Hitler and Lenin, collective bodies of anonymous, defaced people – are all there to reveal the feebleness and inconsistency of our memory. The failure of modernity brought about by the catastrophes of the Second World War is seen in conjunction with the rise of modern forms of entertainment such as cinema, another major topic for Ghenie.

From the strong effects of chiaroscuro reminiscent of Caravaggio to the frieze-like compositions that bring to mind David Hockney’s alignment of disconnected elements alluding to a theatre set; from an indebtedness to the tradition of Renaissance painting, visible in the rigorous construction of the picture space, to the uninhibited handling of paint that recalls the gestural freedom of abstract expressionism – Ghenie incorporates a multitude of references and idioms that do not result in a gratuitous postmodern game, but rather evince his commitment to investigate the possibilities of painting, while at the same time problematizing it. Although his work displays a belief in the contemporary relevance of painting, Ghenie seeks to delve into the conceptual tenets that have undermined the legitimacy of the medium. The artist revisits key moments in the history of modernism that prompted the declaration of the death of painting. He invokes the figure of Duchamp – the foremost enemy of paint and colour who rendered the painting obsolete through the introduction of the readymade into the field of art – as well as the first International Dada exhibition in Berlin which exhibited signs declaring that art was dead.

Currently on view at MNAC:
Irina Botea, “A Moment of Citizenship”
Curated by María Inés Rodríguez
Until January 24, 2010

Forthcoming exhibition:
Szabolcs KissPál, “One by 1″
Curated by Raluca Velisar
November 26, 2009 – January 31, 2010

Szabolcs KissPál (born in 1967) lives and works in Budapest. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Bucharest, featuring works that survey his entire career so far. His installations and videos explore the relationship between sight and subjectivity, apparent in his earlier works, while the more recent productions interrogate the relationship between representation and power, the image manipulation and the mediation of reality.

In the Artist Talk preceding the opening, KissPál will present his most recent works that are on display at Ernst Museum, Budapest.

National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest
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