7 Parallel 7
Artists: Bernard Ammerer (Austria), Marius Bercea (Romania), Bernhard Buhman (Austria), Suzana Dan (Romania), Markus Dressler (Austria), Markus Proschek (Austria), Alexandru Rădvan (Romania), András Szabó (Romania), Sorin Tara (Romania), Iv Toshain (Austria), Simona Vilău (Romania), Iuliana Vîlsan (Romania), Klaus Wanker (Austria), Letizia Werth (Austria).

Curator: Diana Dochia (Romania) and Ileana Dubovan (Austria)

10.04.2008 – 18.05.2008 Bucharest / 04.09.2008 – 04.10.2008 Vienna

Opening: 10.04.2008 at 06:00 pm at 3/4 Gallery (National Theater Bucharest) / 04.09.2008 at 07:00 pm at MOYA Vienna (Museum of Young Art Vienna)

The project is organized by Anaid Art Gallery in collaboration with Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest (MNAC) and Museum of Young Art Vienna (MOYA)

7 parallel 7, parallel lines

For this exhibitions-format ’7parallel7′ the exhibition is conceived in terms of a parallel: 7 perspectives by young artists from one counntry from the former Eastern Bloc are confronted whit works 7 young artists from Austria.

According to the Euklidian Geometry, the parallel consists of at least straight lines that are situated in one plane and they do not have a common intersection – whit the exception of the intersection in the infiniteness. In between the two lines there is the interspace (that distinguishes the parallel line from the straight line) which makes the autonomy and independence of the two lines evident. But it is also apparent that each line depends on the other in their being as a parallel and therefore they exist as a single entity as well. Furthermore they are trevelling in the same direction.

Bearing these associations with the geometric whit the geometric parallel in mind: is there an interaction between the elements of young art from the former Eastern Bloc and Austria? Are there transferable elements?

In the current exhibition ’7 parallel 7 – Romania – Austria 2008′ on the first parallel line the positions of 7 young Romanian artists are introduced. On the opposing line there are placed the works of the 7 artists from Austria. Are there really no common intersections in this confrontation like in the geometrical parallel? If there are intersections which are they? In what sense is Romanian young art autonomous , how far is Austrian young art independent? Which are the different, which the common elements? Are there common directions and movements?

Equipped with these associations gained from the Euklidian parallel to find that out one can decide to stay in the space between the lines and compare the works of the Romanians with those of the Austrians. But we can alternatively also follow the first line in order to inspect the Romanian works first. After having done that one can do the same on other linewhith the Austrian works. We recommend at least both methods because the question of the existence and significance of a specific regional culture is equally important as the questions for the existence and significance of unifying elements, a possible unity in Europe.

This exhibitions aims to reach a general conclusion if possible. Even though the exhibitions format ’7 parallel 7′ never underestimates the importance and the value of each individual work as artistic creation and in its historical context as well as the artist as an individual. The project focusses on a comparison of the pictures and attempts to place them in a art historical context involving social and societal-political dimension. Based on the artisitc position , thies exhibition contributes to the European discussion on unity and varieties in a common and diverse Europe in a globalised world.

A confrontation of art from the former Eastern Bloc whith the Bloc from the West creates communication amongst the confronted parties, animates relations, assists clarification and supports actively exchange and enrichment and at best understanding, mutual consent and agreement. And this is not only the potential benefit for the confronted on parallel – this is also the benefit for any other party in the environment of the parallel, that is to say every visitor to the exhibition. This substantial contributions can be made by art and indeed, this is the aim of this exhibition.

Kolja Kramer, Director MOYA, Vienna

In our mentality there is an artificial tension delayed, of a certain type of radicalism, which contests or even condemns an artistic traditional technique – painting – in favor of new media, considered to be more favorable to an artistic expression synchronized with contemporary society.

My personal belief is that this deterministic perception of the relationship between tools and results is inadequate and even unwholesome. A balanced judgment, an analysis free of preconceived ideas can diminish, if not even evacuate this kind of violent parti-pris. Moreover, the young artists’ exhibition from Bucharest and Vienna is a convincing reason in this sense. Of course, there is a diversified register in the way in which these artists relate to the present. In my opinion, what seems to me more important is that the artists from the young generation resort with ease to the mechanisms of painting through barefaced approaches and through their works they can communicate, sometimes polemically, with the superstitions of the pictural techniques, without giving up its possibilities, proving that it did not lose it vitality. Their paintings are more than once ironic and auto ironic, it can cause – in order to banter them – mythological themes as well as kitsch iconography, it can move from the unexpected formal invention with allusions to the cartoons or animation to the formulas which remind of surrealism, but is occasionally capable to be more radically inventive both in themes and mechanisms.

It seems to me that MOYA initiative of organizing such an exhibition under the form of an international dialog can become more than an opportunity to reflect over the virtues or limits of a technique, making us discover new talents and – maybe – new perspectives.

Mihai Oroveanu, Director MNAC, Bucharest

Boundless: A dialogue between Paintings

During the last ten years phenomena like so called ‘Nueu Leipziger Schule’ or the contemorary Chinese painting with shooting stars like Zhang Xiaogang have finally led to the new self-consiousness of ‘Slow Art’ and its technical accomplishment. Gerd Harry Lybke, supporter of the famous Leipying artist Neo Rauch, offers an explanation: ‘At some point in time the museum visitors simply got tired of looking at the twenty-minutes videos and of being regarded as philistines for being unable to hold out to the end’. Others find an analogy to the ‘retour a l’ordre’ of the 1920s, and point to the fact that insecurity comes in as a trigger for the present trend towards the figurative. Whichever way, the Neo ‘Neue Sachlichkeit’, the Magic Realism, the Cynical Realism and a number of other ‘isms’ of the present figurative trends in art have proved themselves adequate as an instrument for the contemporary statement, outgrowing thus the status of a mere fashion trend.

With this developement in mind we have invited young Romanian and Austrian artists to dialogue between their works of the last three to four years. We have conciously refrained from using categories or any ‘best of’ lists. Out of an open minded position, full of curiosity, uneasiness and questions, we have chosen seven contemporary painters from each of the two countries who were able to show a coeherent Weltanschauung and diversity in their approach to painting as a medium and the figurative solution. It was interesting to see how tradition and historic destiny proved responsible for allergies, preferences or need to recover lost ground in these two countries – the one still exposed to transition and self defining processes, the other having already gone throught this. The mapping of ‘regional’ processes and possible specificity in the European cultural space in a world endangered by loss of diversity due to globalisation is not aimed only at stylistic solutions, but also at socio-political analysis and the present human image, especially of the postmodern urban hero and his environment.

Austrian artists often have a sober view of society and their protagonists are sometimes – as in Klaus Wankers’ work victimes of isolation and emptiness hidden behind the idylic facade of prosperous society. In a world of narcissistic self-promotion image and identity are determined by advertisment and media manipulation, and so his characters are torn between idealisation/heroisation – suggested by the use of sfumato – and anonymity. Bernard Ammerer’s young people build a contrast to this sad coolenss, as they make a dynamic impression, but they inhabit a cryptic and to the viewer irritating setting. Most of these dramatic stories – that could be continued in each viewer’s mind – have been inspired by photo shootings, but the main point of interest is the oscillation between observing abd being observed. Old photographs are Letizia Werth’s starting point in presenting ‘frozen moments’ of perishable realities, that belong now to a ‘collective memory’.

In our mass media defined society we are exposed to an iconography fed by a boundless production of images, in which cartoons, tv, advertisments, and internet co-exist with reproductions from the history of art. Contemporary artists can/will not avoid this flood of images, on the contrary, they want a free exchange with it. And so, elements of the visual language af Van Ryck, for example, the Renaissance, Mannerism of Surrealism are often used as starting points. Going beyond copying historicstyles Bernhard Buhmann consciously uses anachronismin his portraits of his contemporaries paintings full of virtuosity and explicit dramatism. Flowing interfaces to abstraction and Surrealism are questioned in Markus Proschek’s new series of paintings. Using ‘new open air painting’ as a starting point, Markus Dressler is relativating and sabotaging reality – by his giants cat- in a poetically ironic way. The controversial world of Iv Toshain is a comment on today society. At the same time aggresive and vulnerable her work unites by a dynamic of its own sentimentaly and kitsch, utopia and danger, the realistic and the virtual.

Ileana Dubovan, Art Project MOYA, Vienna

Parallel worlds

After 1980 marked by the “death of art”, “death of aesthetics”, “death of philosophy”, “death of painting”, the 90s were to discuss again about all these concepts and not only that the art wasn’t dead but it would come back with an amazing virulence and would regain its rights. The 80s strongly marked by the institutional critique were to be followed by the boom of the contemporary arts museums of the 90s. At the beginning of the 21st century the figurative painting would be more and more strongly affirmed and assumed. The new generation of Romanian artists which appeared after the 90s will outline by means of interpenetration with New Media and with the globalization’s effect, a well defined discourse obtained by combining the elements which will give birth to some renewals at a thematic, linguistic and perception level. The new generation of Romanian artist would detach itself from clichés, having the courage to affirm the social, political and economic dimension of art. After a long period of inactivity, the new generation had the courage to describe, to criticize, to take attitude towards the world in which it lives and with which it confronts. The figurative would become a tool in the framework of this art purged of conventions and canons. A new reality is installing, invaded and contaminated with images taken from media, with scenes from daily life, from the social and political area, outlining a new Romania, torn apart between what it used to be and what it will be, a changing society in permanent transition.

“7Parallel7″ maps two geographical areas, two societies, two mentalities, two different development environments, which form together a single vision in the frame of a United Europe, of a globalized society. Gathering fourteen artistic personalities chosen on the base of resemblances but yet different, the exhibition focuses and tackles the problems of the contemporary society. It is stated not the power of changing the society, but the courage and freedom of describing the world we are living in and underlining its drawbacks when we speak either about a questioning of religion and the absolute truth as it is happening in Alexandru Rădvan’s works without launching an ideology or imposing valuable judgments or about old maps on whose surfaces Tara not only interferes and revives past events, but he also reacts to the present conflicts.

The photography often becomes a tool of interpretation of the image in the frame of figurative painting. Having as start point photography or digitally processed images, András Szabó and Marius Bercea will develop two different artistic lines both at image representation and thematic level. András Szabó’s hyper realistic works which often sketch episodes from a world located at the limit between real and unreal are totally different from Marius Bercea’s works outlined through neo-expressionist elements often overloading the sensory pleasure of the textures.

Combining elements from today’s world and fragments from a world long forgotten, Iuliana Vîlsan describes her own story. The dream gains psychoanalytic dimensions exploring the most remote corners of the unconscious. Simona Vilău is interested in the integration of mythologies in the contemporary art, in the reinterpretation and the recontextualization of the myth. Suzana Dan’s works will decipher the image of the superheroes from cartoons or the intervention on canvases painted by superposing texts and images.

Diana Dochia, curator Anaid Art Gallery, Bucharest

Press Release – 7 parallel 7, 2008