At the end of February this year, an event-exhibition opened in Cluj-Napoca – entitled Out of Blue, in a space opened quite recently (2022), namely Biju Gallery. The gallery promotes young artists who work predominantly in traditional mediums such as painting or graphics (Mircea But, David Farcaș, Victoria Sadovnic, Adela Giurgiu, Sebastian Nasta, Mirela Moscu etc.) but occasionally inserts more experimental artistic endeavors in individual or group exhibitions, such as the solo show by Nicolae Romanițan – Tomorrow in the battle think on me, curated by Horațiu Lipot, or the group exhibition Nightscapes within NAG 2022 which included a selection of works by artists Roxana Ajder, Luana Cloșca, Camilia Filipov, Oana Năstăsache, Nicolae Romanițan and Matei Șigăreanu.
Out of Blue, curated by Géza Dabóczi, is an exhibition dedicated to artistic visions materialized exclusively in painting, more precisely a predominantly figurative painting, which gravitates around corporeality and the interpreted landscape. The artists present in this project belong to different generations and represent an eclectic group from the perspective of artistic approaches: Alex Bodea, Robert Bosisio, Mircea But, Andrei Câmpan, Andrei Ispas, Vittorio Marella, Lucian Popăilă. The curatorial vision reveals the deliberate fact that Out of Blue aims to illustrate the deeply human perspectives of a reality that is propped up to be progressively more sterile through technology and artificial intelligence.
The perception that painting is seen as a warmer interpretation of reality as opposed to digital media can be seen as clichéd, but not necessarily irrelevant, as painting as a visual medium has survived throughout all artistic currents and still remains present in the vast majority of major international events (examples: Anselm Kiefer and Marlene Dumas at the Venice Biennale 2022).
Out of Blue can be received as an apologia of painting and is assumed curatorially as such, but beyond this aspect I would say that the exhibition is primarily a eulogy dedicated to humanity and a world lived in privacy, far from the predictable noise of urban reality contemporary. The selected works gravitate around technical virtuosity and an intimate pictorial perception, the vast majority of them being relatively small in size, paneled in a warm light environment. It is arguable to what extent the painting is sufficient on its own and does not need a conceptual support such as an interdisciplinary installation. What can be criticized is the predominantly retinal appearance, but not devoid of expressive substance.
The figurative compositions exhibited at Biju Gallery explore a dynamic of the perception of the art object – viewer, evoking a rhythm opposed to the almost instantaneous reception of a digital image. Evoking the everyday in temporally suspended frames, the paintings invite the viewer to a more thorough, progressive exploration of the image, leading to meditative states that evoke intimacy. Out of Blue does not perform a descriptive reading of a reality through the filter of the pictorial image, but outlines a starting point of a reality encoded within the sensory. The painting in this exhibition does not necessarily start from photography, but appeals to memory and subjective impression that erodes redundant details, preserving the intensity of experiencing a moment suspended in time and space.
The fine visual connections with metaphysical and Pre-Renaissance painting (Duecento, Trecento) in Andrei Câmpan’s works (Landscape I, II), the pointillist gems of Mircea But (Walnut tree, Untitled), the pictorial gesture that becomes atmospheric for Andrei Ispas (Untitled, Snowless morning) – outline distinct perspectives on the landscape theme. The works of Lucian Popăilă – Planet, Spinning planet become a minimalist counterpoint between the two poles around which the exhibition gravitates, namely: the landscape and the human figure as constitutive elements of a tangible reality.
The compositions aimed at corporeality belong to artists Robert Bosisio (Untitled I), Vittorio Marella (Head of a man, Ilia) and Alex Bodea (Woman with iPhone). The type of image that Robert Bosisio explores is predominantly figurative, shrouded in an atmospheric blur of great finesse – a way of working that outlines a very personal brand, almost lyrical from a pictorial point of view. Vittorio Marella approaches small-scale portraiture, like the great masters Van Eyck or Petrus Christus, pursuing technical virtuosity by outlining a state of silence. Alex Bodea is in an artistic stage where she explores a corporeality stylistically inspired by the work of Hieronymus Bosch and Antonello da Messina. The artist inserts an unexpected element into a Renaissance-inspired composition from an aesthetic point of view (Woman with iPhone), which creates a link between old and new, between classic and contemporary, namely a smartphone. The ambivalent dialogue: ironic and poetic – which takes place between the light of the moon and the light of the phone – describes the intimate pictorial universe of an artist who always manages to balance her sensory side with the cerebral one.
Out of Blue takes shape as a curatorial project that aims to promote contemporary artistic visions in painting, thematically exploring classic subjects that have endured over time throughout all artistic currents. Thus, the curatorial vision invites to an exploration of spirituality (still) found in the everyday, creating an intimate setting through which the viewer can perceive precious details in carefully constructed micro-universes.
The art show Out of Blue, curated by Géza Dabóczi took place at Biju Gallery in Cluj-Napoca during 24.02 – 30.03.2023.
Translated by Bogdan Scoromide
Ada is a Graduate of University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca and has a PhD in Visual Arts (2019), conceiving a research thesis entitled "The Human Body as Image and Instrument in Contemporary Art....