Until June 9th, "Another East" Romanian Cultural Institute Exhibit, Gallery RIVAA

On Saturday, May 18th, the Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association welcomes Another East, organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute, to the gallery at 527 Main Street. Everyone's invited to a public opening reception from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Details about the exhibit are provided by the Institute. 

The Romanian Cultural Institute in New York is pleased to announce the group exhibition Another East, which runs May 18 through June 9 and which features the works of eleven artists, all professors from the Painting Department of the National University of Arts in Bucharest.
 Another East reflects the specific discourses that have formed around and through the Painting Department of the University of Arts in Bucharest.

Curated by Catalin Balescu, and accompanied by a text written by art critic Cristian Robert Velescu, the exhibition brings together a group of professors that have been, and continue to be, a crucial influence on multiple generations of Romanian artists.

The exhibition oscillates between figuration and abstraction; while some of these artistic practices display their complete autonomy from the politics of representation by embracing the history of Abstraction, others incorporate a figuration inspired by mythologies, religion, as well as from the secular every day.

Furthermore, the exhibition is an open invitation for the visitors to reconsider their preconceptions of an East they think they know, in order to experience an unquestionably less familiar East – one that is authentic, alive and transformative nonetheless. For instance, Cezar Atodiresei, revisits the pioneering language of abstract art through geometric, decorative, and intensive explorations of surfaces, to conduct research on urban architecture and to reveal the idea of ‘the citadel’ as the true theme of ‘the artist’. Similarly, Marcel Bunea, inspired by Plato’s incorruptible Realm of Ideas, is interested in chromatic exercises and in the universality of geometry, elevated beyond the rational laws of nature. George Mircea and Mircea Sarbulescu also have a more classic approach to painting: their paintings, through their decorative qualities and the bold use of textures and colors, can be perceived as post-impressionist adaptations, contemporary through their subject and topography.

The youngest artist in the exhibition, Andrei Tudoran, breaks from abstraction and uses photorealism as a mimetic and deceiving effect, only to further create alterations, glitches, or superimpositions directly on the paintings. His brushstrokes and his palette of colors, are in dialogue with the work of his former professor, George Moscal, whose work in the exhibition, draws closer to surrealism, by collapsing illusions of space, landscapes, and flat visual elements.

Similarly, oscillating between abstraction and figuration, and further using mixed media in  layered compositions to highlight this contrast, are Petru Lucaci and Ion Anghel, two painters who have had a long history of using photography, respectively found objects in their work.

Meanwhile, the painters Alexandru Radvan, Catalin Balescu and Traian Blodea (student of Balescu, prior to becoming himself a professor at the University) adopt a fully figurative approach. They show a keen interest in surrealism, mythologies, and religious iconographies, working through their distinctive formal styles, to reinterpret and even challenge these narratives.

The exhibition layers multiple visual local traditions that have been fused together with major Western art historical canons. Most importantly, Another East proposes a bird’s-eye view on a specific academic and temporal context, which brings about a diversity of strategies that alternate between abstraction and figuration. These strategies have served as tools for multiple generations of artists, for interpreting, adopting, as well as critically considering the period of Modernism and Post-Modernism in relation to Romanian art discourses, and more specifically, in relation to the discourse surrounding the University of Arts in Bucharest.