The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, May 21, 2018

Architecture of the former Soviet Union dominates new exhibition at Blain/Southern
Marius Bercea at his studio in Cluj, Romania.

LONDON.- The imposing architecture of the former Soviet Union dominates many of the paintings featured in Remains of Tomorrow, Romanian artist Marius Bercea’s debut exhibition at Blain|Southern.

Initially these edifices appear like props in a futuristic movie – Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) offers an immediate point of comparison. This is further enforced by the verdant landscapes in which they sit, an environment where bathers plunge into crystalline swimming pools while others stare in apparent wonderment at the giant, modernist designs surrounding them. However, closer inspection reveals the buildings to be crumbling, the whitewashed concrete degraded with age and neglect. And while the skies in some paintings are an idyllic blue, most are an ominous, sulphurous yellow, hinting at a terrible Chernobyl-like disaster, or worse.

Growing up in Cluj, the Transylvanian city which has seen a flowering of artistic talent over the last decade, Bercea experienced communism only as a child – he is now 32, and was 10 when the USSR disintegrated. However, its architectural remnants are inescapable. The irony of these buildings, he observes, is that their begetter, Le Corbusier, was an idealist who saw architecture serving the needs of a deserving populace. While this vision was quickly perverted by the communist and fascist regimes of the post-war period, which adopted and then corrupted these forms to aggrandise and enforce state tyranny, they remain a paradox, representing forces of light and darkness.

Such buildings feature prominently in the two largest works of the exhibition, yet in these Bercea pursues broader themes. The Hierarchy of Democracy (2011) explicitly references Bruegel’s genre painting The Sermon of St John the Baptist (c. 1566), in which the Flemish artist chose to focus not on St John, but the crowd around him, all attired in contemporary dress. In doing so, Bruegel underscored the shift away from kings, queens and noblemen towards an ascendant mercantile class, a protean act which anticipated the ascent of the common man and the age of democracy. But Bercea’s painting is ambivalent about evolutionary leaps; alongside people enjoying the easy spoils of consumerism are potent signifiers of the old regime, the church and even vestiges of the monarchy. A fractured society, depicted here as a heap of broken images.

Truths with Multiple Masks (2011) might be considered a companion work to The Hierarchy of Democracy, inasmuch as it explores the processes of the democratisation of art. Described by Bercea as a ‘fresco of transition’, it features an assortment of apparently unconnected tableaux: a fetishistic blow-up doll balanced on a wooden stool; a man sat upon what could be a minimalist sculpture; a bird of prey peering inside a pram; a bear’s head; an upturned trombone; a light bulb. Is this a critique on the familiarity of conceptual art? An observation of its acceptance by a mass audience? In any case, what bursts through this work and the other canvases featured in this exhibition, is the triumph and enduring promise of painting.

Curated by Jane Neal.

Today's News

September 8, 2011

Christie's announces sale of the legendary jewels from the collection of Elizabeth Taylor

Sotheby's London to sell an exceptional private collection of 20th century Italian art

Sotheby's Hong Kong to hold Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Autumn Sale

Acclaimed Hong Kong collection of Ming loyalist art on view at Metropolitan Museum this fall

Curators make hard choices at 9/11 Memorial Museum memorializing the attacks

China warns museums to tighten security after series of embarrassing thefts

The Brooklyn Museum installation Ten Years Later: Ground Zero Remembered now on view

German Artist Christian Jankowski premieres new film in exhibition at Lisson Gallery

Portland Museum of Art's chief curator accepts director position at Shelburne Museum in Vermont

Artists working in various media open exhibition at Nature Morte Gallery in Berlin

Rare scented chess set & a Spassky signed board for sale at Bonhams chess & games auction

Installation works by leading artists Liam Gillick and Susana Solano opens at Irish Museum of Modern Art

Sotheby's London to host exhibition of Fine Archaic Chinese Bronzes from Compton Verney

G Fine Art begins 10th anniversary season with Maggie Michael: There is No Rising or Setting Sun

Smithsonian American Art Museum announces Bresler endowment to support curator position

Architecture of the former Soviet Union dominates new exhibition at Blain/Southern

Finest collection of 1960s DC war comics to be offered at Heritage Auctions

The Baltimore Museum of Art presents exhibition of Baker Artist Awards 2011 Winners

Kunsthaus Zurich extension to open in 2017

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful