Artist: Ioan Sbârciu
Curator: Bogdan Iacob
25.01.2007 – 18.02.2007
Opening: 25.01.2007 at 07:00 pm
The “Cinder Forest” series is one the most recent artistic projects carried out by Ioan Sbârciu, a projects that is explicitly built up from the starting point represented by the social, political, economic and nonetheless media phenomenon of Roşia Montană, the drama of man and mostly of the nature from this area of Ţara Moţilor, which had become unexpectedly and sadly famous. At the same time, the works gathered within the project are also revisiting some of the thematic and stylistic issues which are significant for the sensibility of the Cluj-based artist, issues to be found also in other artistic endeavours spread along his prestigious carrier. Among those there can be emphasized the interest in landscape painting as painterly genre, a problematic but still relevant one in contemporary artistic world, in the Transylvanian landscape as topos particularly dear to his artistic sensibility, the gestural painterly rendering and the refined oscillations between the figurative and the abstract realm, the tensed balance between the force of the painterly gesture and the slightly melancholic mystery of the atmosphere generated as result of that gesture’s action
An artist both prolific and of remarkable conceptual complexity, capable of being lyrical and of proving technical mastery just as well, the painter Ioan Sbârciu shows in the “Cinder Forest” works an exceptional ability of approaching the political realm in a manner very different from the usual formulas of artistic protest, noisy and unfortunately too often irrelevant, both at the social and of the personal level of perception. Thus, the painter succeeds in expressing critical stance regarding the social or political facts without this impeaching his works to embed an aesthetical dimension, tackled without hesitation or shyness. He is stating with each of his works the determined belonging to a conceptual paradigm pseudo-aphoristically but poignantly formulated by Patrick Mimran: “Art doesn’t have to be ugly to look clever”. On the contrary, as convincingly demonstrated by Ioan Sbârciu’s painting, aesthetical quality can be one of the most inteligently used supports for reflection. In other words, what his paintings are proving is that having a coherent and / or critical attitude does not necessarily imply being artistically blind to sensitivity, that the aesthetical experience generated by the specific expressivity of a work of art does not exclude reflexive echoing; in the end, that the art which is aiming to and succeeds in generating aesthetical experience is not one that needs to be ontologically or ideologically excused.
“Cinder Forest” acts as making use and proving a sovereignty, one still extremely important for the nowadays artist, manifested in treating with hermeneutic freedom the data provided by reality and in transforming those data in resources of an imagistic production able to incorporate and disseminate its own specific meanings. The image or images produced by the artist thus become able to surpass the limited status of simple and explicit reaction to a social event, to a political evolution. So, for Ioan Sbârciu, the social and political drama of Roşia Montană is not one of strictly intrinsic interest. The Roşia Montană phenomenon is not used in the reductive manner of a simple pretext for being critical in relation with an episode from the recent history of a (pseudo)capitalist Romania. In the painterly rendering of the artist it becomes a contextually individualized epitome of a cosmic scale drama with psychological and sensible correspondences. In this perspective the “Cinder Forest” seems to be for the artist also an expression of the intimately felt regret caused by the evanescence, the burning out of the mystery in the world. It is this a contemporary world (and country, Romania) that he seems to feel like witnessing in their process of getting “civilized”, a process carried out in the name of profit and efficiency; it is an order of the civilization which can conquer (nature, for example) but is more and more seldom able to charm or exhilarate (the primordial sensibility of human being), a cultural paradigm that tends to transform beauty and ineffable into revolute if not totally dull values.
Curator: Bogdan Iacob