Galerie Ron Mandos opens solo exhibitions of works by Renie Spoelstra and Pavel Grosu

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Galerie Ron Mandos opens solo exhibitions of works by Renie Spoelstra and Pavel Grosu
Installation view. Courtesy of Galerie Ron Mandos, Amsterdam. Copyright © The Artists.

AMSTERDAM.- Galerie Ron Mandos is presenting a new solo exhibition by Dutch artist Renie Spoelstra (1974). Her new charcoal drawings of volcanic landscapes create a disquieting presence. The images of beaches, forests, and glaciers are sometimes barely discernible. As they hover on the verge of complete darkness, Spoelstra gives them a highly charged, cinematic quality and a sense of intensified feeling. Nordic Noir refers to the genre of crime fiction in Scandinavian books and films.

Renie Spoelstra | Nordic Noir
Renie Spoelstra’s drawing process always begins with a journey. For close to a decade, she has travelled to coasts, lakes and beaches throughout North America and Europe. Recently she visited the volcanic islands of La Palma and Iceland, looking for landscapes that evoke overwhelming existential feelings. Once she has found these locations, she films the scenes, and by using the stills from the footage, she is able to move on to the next phase of conveying a personal representation of a geographic location. Her work is never about the locations she depicts – no matter how beautiful they are. They are always about triggering emotions and associations that sharpen our senses.

Spoelstra uses film footage as a starting point for her charcoal drawings. The suede like and velvety texture is achieved by the many layers of charcoal, which are skillfully positioned on top of each other to re-create an almost cinematographic scene. The balance between darkness and soft beams of light is rendered through the many shades of black and grey, creating a notion that something may be lurking below the surface.

Her new series of charcoal drawings consists of seemingly random images of Scandinavian landscapes that could be the ‘in between shots’ of a Nordic Noir TV series. The randomness of these images demystifies our romantic conception of Scandinavian landscapes, which coincides with the degradation of nature through climate change and mass tourism, often incited by blockbuster movies that draw large groups of people to original film sites. For her newest work, Spoelstra is bothered by a cruel paradox: “In my heart I am a true romantic who prefers to flee into nature, but hot topics such as mass tourism (through boredom and decadence) and climate change cast a dark shadow over this urge.”

Renie Spoelstra studied at St. Joost, Breda and at the Academie Minerva, Groningen. She has exhibited in the Netherlands and abroad, notably at institutions like the Albertina, Vienna; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Her work is included in renowned collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; MACBA Barcelona; Stedelijk Museum Schiedam; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Amstelveen; Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar; the Guerlain Fondation, Paris, and many other (private) collections.

Galerie Ron Mandos is also presenting the first solo exhibition by Moldovan artist Pavel Grosu (1991). Since his graduation at the Art University in Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Grosu has created a mature body of work which has amassed critical international attention. Masterly trained in figurative painting, Pavel Grosu embraces the rich legacy of the old masters, whilst creating unsettling painterly collages and compositions that are anchored firmly in the present. Grosu’s work asks us to contemplate what, and where, is time, and how do we exist within it.

Pavel Grosu | Lost in Time
Curated by the Amsterdam based Romanian art critic and curator Maria Rus Bojan, the exhibition Lost in Time presents a selection of new works that explore the world of dreams, illusions and memories. His compositions propose ambiguous scenarios and sometimes absurd situations which evoke a reality that is uncanny, sometimes hermetic and compressed in a silent time-space. Pavel Grosu’s works depict various scenes and portraits in which the subjects appear to be frozen in time and trapped in an illusory world, evoking an uncertainty about the future.

Suspended in an undefined place, the resulting effect of ambiguity allows these works to look like juxtapositions of different fragmented realities. The artist deploys digital collage as a tool for building complex, carefully thought out compositional structures which are later translated into paintings. Challenging the many facets of representation through his surreal association of elements, Grosu engages with the topic of the multiple realities we are living in and proposes a possible escape. These works confront the viewer with a rather confusing blend of visual stimuli, a disconcerting and disquieting mosaic, a collage made of life that reactivates meaning. Lost in Time is a lyrical meditation on time and its segmentation; about the strange perception and awareness of its nature.

Pavel Grosu was born in 1991 in the Republic of Moldova. He currently lives and works in the Romanian city of ClujNapoca, where he is completing a doctorate at the University of Art and Design. Last year marked a breakthrough in the artistic career of Pavel Grosu. The esteemed collector’s duo Susan and Michael Hort acquired multiple paintings for their incredible contemporary art collection that focuses on supporting young artists. His new solo show at Galerie Ron Mandos marks yet another step in his international career.

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