Museum of Art Cluj-Napoca: MODERN TALKING

Museum of Art Cluj-Napoca
FEBRUARY 15 – APRIL 15, 2012


Sonia Almeida (PT); Mark Barrow (US); Baldur Geir Bragason (IS); Vittorio Brodmann (CH); Ana Cardoso (PT); Aline Cautis (US); Radu Comsa (RO); Ann Craven (US); Francesca DiMattio (US); Ida Ekblad (NO);

Enzo Giordano (IT); Heather Guertin (US); Davíð Örn Halldórsson (IS); Ingunn Fjóla Ingþórsdóttir (IS); Jacob Kassay (US); Gilda Mautone (IT); Florin Maxa (RO); Dan Măciucă (RO); Elizabeth Neel (US); Ylva Ogland (SE); Paloma Presents [Urs Zahn & Roman Gysin] (CH); Zak Prekop (US); Jo Robertson (UK); Małgorzata Szymankiewicz (PL); Patricia Treib (US); Daniel Turner (US); Garth Weiser (US)

Special project:
Sarah Ortmeyer (DE)

Nicola Trezzi and Daria D. Pervain, in collaboration with Ewa Gorządek, Helena Kontova, and Giancarlo Politi

Piaţa Unirii nr. 30, Cluj-Napoca, Romania |

The Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca is hosting the group exhibition entitled "Modern Talking", featuring contemporary artists whose works are challenging the conventions of painting and its legacy. Through the work of the invited artists, the visitor will be able to re-conceptualize the traditional acception of painting, which is no longer restricted to the oil-on-canvas formula, but offers a multitude of other alternatives.
Fabric, metal, found objects, conceptual statements, flamboyant actions, installations and sculptures, all of these are putting forward an extended understanding of the medium; today, painting is expanded, painting is overall.

The conscientious visitor is kindly invited to decipher metaphors and push interpretation beyond the conventional words that are either "written with ink on paper" or constitute text messages, emails, whispers, blogs, facebook walls or graffiti.

Is text messaging a modern way to communicate? And maybe so is writing on a facebook wall or twitting? Julie Boukobza's blog tries to find an answer by posting online various conversations between anonymous individuals. The title of the blog, Modern Talking, and the concept behind it have so far proved so inspirational, that the German artist Sarah Ortmeyer, who had created the logo for the blog, was glad to come up with the poster for this show, as well.

Baldur Geir Bragason’s installation is in fact painting on canvas with the difference that the canvas has become a series of tri-dimensional objects. Several containers are now a support for wildly flourishing shapes made of bubble wrap and other materials commonly used for the purpose of wrapping and packing paintings.

Urs Zahn and Roman Gysin (invited by the Swiss collective Paloma Presents) have chosen an ironic commentary about the medium of paintingand its outcome embraces the form of an installation featuring several objects, including two presents that the artists have given each other. It is all about a painting which doesn’t exist, a painting that is "not present".

Ida Ekblad, who is known for her works reminiscing the COBRA group, translates a "painting" by a welded iron structure adjoining a series of objects found in Prague and a composition made of pillows.

For Daniel Turner, the painting is a cocktail of encased tar, Campho-phenique, transparent vinyl, and wood. For Ana Cardoso, it is simply sewed fabric which is mounted on a stretcher. For Ingunn Fjóla Ingþórsdóttir, a series of strings creating geometrical motifs.

Radu Comsa, invited to the show together with Florin Maxa and Dan Măciucă by Daria Pervain (co-curator of "Modern Talking", alongside Ewa Gorządek, Helena Kontova, Giancarlo Politi and myself), turns the paintinginto an excuse for a never-ending experiment. Sometimes blatant and sometimes ashamed, Radu Comsa’s work is a rip-off of all that is considered serious painting. He is a farceur who likes to play.

They are all trying to test the limits of our common-sense reality, as a painting may, in their interpretation, be either figurative or abstract oil-on-canvas, but also installation or video.

For Ylva Ogland, painting is like talking. In her view, the difference between real things and things that are "just painted" is no longer relevant. The artist had been painting all her life, abandoning the medium only for a couple of years to become a Marcel-Duchamp-style curator and work in a collective called Modern Talking. Ylva Ogland's practice was seminal for the central concept of this show, and its title represents a homage to her curatorial experiment.

"Modern Talking" is about the connection between painting and curating, which are traditionally listed as antonymic activities within the field of contemporary visual arts. Painting is generally viewed as a reflection of the Romantic artist, of the bohemian individual who was able to create art by means of magic in a studio filled to the ceiling with canvases. The quasi-hermetic artistic language of the paintings was by no means meant to
be fully understood or accepted by the masses. On the other hand, curating is still denied the status of art by most of those who are considered experts. Under these circumstances, there is a question which naturally
comes to mind: Why shouldn't we consider organizing exhibitions and painting two faces of the same coin?

Nicola Trezzi, co-curator

exhibition space: 59-61 Henri Barbusse street,
400616, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
mailing address: 12 Horea street, ap. 10,
400038, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

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