artist / participant
15 October - 28 November, 2020
Tim Van Laere Gallery presents the fifth solo exhibition of Adrian Ghenie, featuring nine new paintings and three new charcoal drawings.
Adrian Ghenie was born in 1977 in the Romanian city of Baia Mare. He graduated from the Art and Design University of Cluj-Napoca and now lives and works in both Berlin and Cluj. In 2015 he was selected to represent Romania at the 56th Venice Biennale. His work is in important public collections worldwide, including: The Hermitage, St Petersburg; Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA), Antwerp; S.M.A.K., Ghent; Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Metropolitan Museum, New York; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Long Museum, Shanghai; SFMOMA, San Francisco; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Adrian Ghenie’s work is characterized by a remarkable wealth of pictorial fragments with a flowing and hallucinatory spatial arrangement that results in a collage-like gathering of distinct pictorial motifs, a hedonistic sensuality and an innovative, radical and eclectic interpretation of the most diverse subjects.
Ghenie’s extensive knowledge of our history in all its various facets reveals itself in the different motifs: ranging from obscure historical stories via mystical narratives about profane figures to the mythologizing of his own figure. For example, his work Medusa, 2020 combines aspects from the history of Nazi Germany with Greek mythology, while the artist interweaves his own figure with an art-historical reference in Self-Portrait with Picassoesque Background, 2020 and reinterprets the work of Henri Rousseau in Untitled (After Henri Rousseau), 2020. By exploring different historical and artistic narratives and at the same time undermining them in his work, Ghenie brings feelings of vulnerability, frustration or longing to the fore and challenges our collective memory to reflect also on the human aspect behind these stories.
Adrian Ghenie combines different aspects of historical painting techniques. For instance, he demonstrates an expert mastery of baroque chiaroscuro, but also of the expressive use of paint that is a feature of abstract expressionism. He combines these technical skills with a profound interest in the activation of symbolic meanings behind specific images. A conceptual component that was important for the Dada movement as well as for the Flemish primitives and Flemish baroque masters. Ghenie’s interest in Flemish art history has left several traces in his work, which contains various references to Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Jan Van Eyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Paul De Vos and Frans Snyders. He has also drawn inspiration from the hunting scenes of Flemish baroque painters for Park Scene, 2020 and The Hunter 3, 2020. Ghenie has a profound affinity with Antwerp, which he calls ‘the battleground of painting’.