Subjective Geometries

18 November 2022 – 27 January 2023

00COV_Subjective Geometries_instalation_view_Lowrez40

Artists: Arantxa Etcheverria, Irina Dumitrașcu Măgurean, Machteld Rullens, Mihaela Hudrea, Oana Nastasache, Vanessa Singezia, Virginia Toma

Curated by: Maria Rus Bojan

Location: Sector 1 Gallery

Proposing a host of narratives that poetically reflect on the topology of visual space, the exhibition Subjective Geometries investigates the complex dynamics between geometry and perception in the work of seven contemporary women artists. Imagined as a fluid structure that radiates on multiple levels of interpretation, this survey presents a dazzling diversity of conceptual and aesthetic strategies that reveal a renewed interest in the purest forms of abstraction.

The works in the show, by seven female artists, are subjective responses to contemporary life, presenting a visual lexicon that echoes a vast range of influences, from mathematics and computer technologies, to philosophy and sacred geometry, cosmology, quantum physics, complexity theory, color field painting, chemistry and architecture. This feminine artistic perspective comes to confirm that there is no supremacy or gender barrier when it comes to abstraction, but the same drive in pursuing novel experiments, using new materials, and finding the purest artistic expression of lived experiences.
Occupying the realm of the purely visual and the conceptual, Arantxa Etcheverria (b.1975, France, lives and works in Bucharest) is fascinated by the dramatic shapes of the modernist architecture, which she encounters in her adoptive country Romania. Unexpected architectural geometries, such as the shapes of windows and doors, angles of precipitous walls, or curving staircases are transfigured into sculptural volumes with tactile surfaces and painterly compositions where restricted palettes of colors soften their “hard edges”. These geometrical reconfigurations are more than studies of forms in space, they are visual resolutions that synthesize the experience of the poetic space.

Irina Dumitrașcu Măgurean (b.1985, lives and works in Cluj-Napoca) practices a photography that addresses the realms of the non-representational, focusing on various experiments that capture ephemeral moments in a continual interaction of light and space. Her works are minimal geometric compositions, where magnified details, lines, forms, and textures narrow down existing elements of reality until they become independent, abstract matter. Revolving around the intensity of light and the perception of the intangible, her Polaroid photographs evoke the need for a poetic reconciliation of nothingness with reality, for becoming a situation, a state or even poetry in its pure state.

Machteld Rullens (b.1988, lives and works in The Hague) works with sculptural elements that have a strong connection with the history of painting and architecture. Her painted cardboard boxes are color fields organized in various shapes and geometrical compositions, as well as three-dimensional sculptures with textures corresponding to different colors. By juxtaposing large areas of melting colours that seemingly float parallel to the work’s surface in an indeterminate, atmospheric space, Machteld Rullens creates dramatics effect that sublimate their sense of intimacy and soft monumentality.

Mihaela Hudrea (b. 1989, lives and works in Cluj-Napoca) depicts an imploding—or expanding—universe, creating painterly abstractions that seem to explain how technology recalibrates our perception of the world. As she affirms in her artistic statement “my abstract painting asks for a blending of perception, intuition and knowledge, a dose of collective wonder combined with scientific enquiry regarding our place in the Universe”.

From a more analytical perspective, Virginia Toma (b.1983, lives and works in Bucharest) draws on mathematics, transcribing linear geometries in obsessive grids “that develop thinking processes which unfold in calculated mechanisms that precede the artistic process”. Playing with proportions and quantities, symmetry and the abstract notions underlying geometry (such as the point, the line, the surface), the artist develops networks of generative spaces, engaging all the structural elements in a vivid dialogue.

Telluric colors perfectly balance sharp geometric surfaces in the paintings of Oana Năstăsache (b.1991, lives and works in Cluj). She abstracts elements from still lives or landscapes, and nurtures a fusion of the abstract forms with physical representations, while also alternating gestural marks with angular forms in warm rhythmic compositions that convey a natural sense of beauty. Refined, highly intuitive, and sophisticated in their simplicity, her paintings are aesthetic attempts to tame these sometimes aggressive contrasting surfaces by finding visual solutions where they coexist harmoniously.

Vanessa Singenzia (b. lives and works in Cluj-Napoca) follows an intuitive approach to ceramics, by allowing the sculptural to overwhelm the conceptual through diverse strategies that play with textures and the different tactilities of the used materials. Her works, which include both functional objects and abstract sculptures, are each infused with levity, humor, and character, developing a striking formal language backed by innovative conceptual and technical solutions.

Highlighting these individual artistic experiences synthetized in forms that function as veritable matrices of knowledge, the exhibition Subjective Geometries offers us the chance to reconnect to the new ideas and contents currently emerging in contemporary creation. From the sensitive perception of everyday architecture to the space of geometric intuition, from the space of myths and symbols to the artistic and metaphysical space, this exhibition articulates a poetic space where creation acquires universal values. (Maria Rus Bojan)

Maria Rus Bojan is a Romanian art critic and independent curator living and working in Amsterdam. During her 30 year career, Maria Rus Bojan organized international projects including seminal figures of the Romanian art scene, such as Ana Lupaș, Cornel Brudașcu, Ion Grigorescu, Paul Neagu, as well as contributing to the debut of today’s most successful artists from the new generation including Victor Man, Adrian Ghenie, Ciprian Mureșan and Alin Bozbiciu. Her long-term collaboration with German artist Ulay (1943-2020) led to the publication of the authoritative monograph “Whispers”, which was awarded the AICA Netherlands Prize in 2015. She curated Ulay’s first international retrospective at Centro Parraga Murcia, 2005 and contributed as an expert to his retrospectives at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2016, and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 2020. Maria Rus Bojan has been a co-curator of Performing History, the Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial in 2011. Between 2017-2020 she has curated three retrospective exhibitions and was editor of several publications dedicated to the renowned Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. She was the curator, together with Bogdan Ghiu, of the exhibition “Secret Wing”, developed within the framework of the 2021 Art Encounters Biennial in Timișoara and is the curator together with Thierry Morel, of the upcoming duo exhibition “Painterly Affinities: Cornel Brudașcu and Alin Bozbiciu” at Cromwell Place, London in December 2022. Maria Rus Bojan is chairman of the European ArtEast Foundation, and since 2008 she runs MB Art Agency, a platform for curatorial projects and artistic consultancy dedicated to Eastern European art.

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