Painterly Affinities: Cornel Brudașcu and Alin Bozbiciu
December 5th 2022 – December 19th 2022
4 Cromwell Place,
London SW7 2JE
Co-curated by Maria Rus Bojan and Thierry Morel, this intimate exhibition is an orchestrated visual experience that brings together portraiture and figurative compositions. Charting the artists’ master-apprentice relationship and their subsequent abiding friendship, it includes several portraits they have made of each other, their everyday surroundings, dance performances, as well as paintings that express their shared love for dogs. A prominent figure in Romanian art since the 60s, Cornel Brudaşcu (b.1937) witnesed the country’s tumultous transition after the violent overthrow of the Communist government in the 1989 Revolution. One of the mentors of a group of younger figurative painters known internationally as the Cluj School, Brudaşcu’s influence on subsequent generations of Romanian artists is profound.
A room dedicated to his early work at the landmark exhibition The World Goes Pop at London’s Tate Modern in 2015, brought international recognition but Brudaşcu is mainly known for his painterly and poetic canvases which reference art history and allude to Old Masters. Painterly Affinities presents a number of these recent works – figurative oil paintings in dark hues which showcase the artist’s distinctive brushwork. Sensual touches and gestural accumulation lead to the construction of a surface where there is a fusion between the figurative and the abstract. While Brudaşcu’s works are of small size and give a sense of a painterly continuum, Alin Bozbiciu’s (b. 1989) canvases are large, gestural and performative. Bozbiciu’s subjects are always captured in action as distorted figures tormented by existential dilemmas. His portraits and self-portraits exude an expressive quietude, their presence being deepened by the spontaneous brush gestures and blurred shapes in the background. Taking the viewer through various narratives that are intentionally approached by the artists in similar ways, the exhibition presents a visual experience that highlights the symbiosis between them. While containing a wealth of references to art history, mythology and philosophy, the works on show are also intimately linked to their personal and shared experiences. It allows us to understand the ongoing master – apprentice dialogue through painterly techniques while at the same time conveying strong feelings of intimacy, friendship and mutual admiration.
Cornel Brudaşcu lives and works in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Selected exhibitions include: Secret Wing, ArtEncounters Biennale 4th edition, Timisoara (2021); Collection display, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2021); HABITER L’INTIME, Fondation Thalie, Brussels
(2019); Flesh and Bone, PS120, Berlin (2019); Ex-East, past and recent stories of the Romanian Avant-Garde, Espace Niemeyer, Paris (2019); Une saison roumaine au Centre Pompidou, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018); Life – A User’s Manual, ArtEncounters Biennale 2nd edition, Timisoara (2017); Cornel Brudaşcu, Plan B, Berlin (2017); Parfum 79, VNH Gallery, Paris (2017); The Wanderers, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York,(2017); The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern, London (2015); Burning Down the House, 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2014); Keen Observer, Galleria Doris Ghetta, Ortisei (2014); Mirror Stage, Seven Studies of Composition, Cornel Brudaşcu & Alin Bozbiciu, le Plafond, Amsterdam (2015); Salonul de vara, Plan B, Cluj (2012); East of Eden – Photorealism: Versions of Reality, Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest (2011); Romanian Cultural Resolution, Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig (2010); The Museum of Painting, The National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest (2005). His works in collections including Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musee d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), Bucharest, National Museum of History, Bucharest, Contemporary Art Museum Galati, The Art Museum Cluj-Napoca.
Alin Bozbiciu lives and works in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He graduated from the Painting Department of the Cluj University of Art and Design in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include: It’s by touching the feathers of a bird that I find the best way to paint human skin at Galerie Suzanne Tarasieve, Paris (2020); Mimesis: (Re)imagining the Real at the Municipal Gallery Dworcowa, Wroclaw, Poland (2018); Theater as Life, (2017) and After The Sacrifice, (2016) Galerie Untilthen, Paris. He has participated in group exhibitions: Secret Wing, at the fourth edition of the Art Encounters Biennale, Timisoara (2021), Us and Dogs, Dogs and Us, Panstwowa Galeria Sztuki, Sopot, Poland (2021); Time is the Game of Man, the third edition of Art of the Treasure Hunt in the Chianti region, Borgo San Felice, Montalcino (2018), Life as a User’s Manual, the second edition of the Timisoara Art Encounters Biennale (2017), Disruptive
in public collections include: Musee de la Chasse, Paris and Q Contemporary Collection, Budapest. His works are part of many important private collections across Europe, Asia, America and South America.
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 Brudaşcu,
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 Muresan 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 the recent 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. Maria Rus Bojan is a founding member, as well as the chairman of the board of European ArtEast Foundation. Since 2008 she runs MB Art Agency, a platform for curatorial projects and artistic consultancy dedicated to Eastern European art.
Dr.Thierry Morel is a curator and art historian and was educated in Paris and Oxford. In 2013,
he curated the award-winning exhibition Houghton Revisited and edited and contributed to
the catalogue Houghton Revisited: The Walpole Masterpieces from Catherine the Great’s Hermitage. In 2015, he co-curated Francis Bacon and the Masters at the Sainsbury Center and the Hermitage Museum in 2015. In 2021, he curated the exhibition and installation The Majlis: A Meeting Place at the Abbazia of San Giorgio Maggiore as part of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale. He also wrote several books and produced plays and films, among them “Private View” a ten-part series of TV documentaries on Art Collectors for Time Warner. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Hermitage Museum Foundation (USA) and was until 2022 a trustee of the Sir John Soane’s Museum in London. Thierry Morel is based in London and Venice