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April 12th 2023 – April 30th 2023

Squero Castello
Salizada Streta 368,
April 16th 2024 - July 14th 2024

Zuecca Projects and the European ArtEast Foundation are proud to present Estranged from Nature, a solo exhibition by Ioan Sbârciu, one of the most important figures of the Romanian contemporary art scene. Amsterdam-based international curator Maria Rus Bojan curates the exhibition together with Alessandro Possati, Director of Zuecca Projects. Estranged from Natre will be on view at Squero Castello in Venice, from April 16th to July 14th 2024.

The exhibition is supported by AFCN*, Romania and it is organized in partnership with Artewiser, MB Art Agency and Sector 1 Gallery. Osea Interiors, Electroglobal and UniCredit Bank Romania are the kind sponsors of the show. The exhibition will be followed by an extensive catalogue produced with the support of Banca Transilvania.

Conceived as an adjacent response to the theme Foreigners Everywhere of the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2024, this presentation focuses on Ioan Sbârciu’s visionary artistic creation and his large pictorial spaces that address issues of estrangement, loss and resilience. Bringing together the artist’s most ambitious work to date, Estranged from Nature offers a coherent overview of his recurrent themes since the nineteen-eighties, inviting reflection on the multiple forms of alienation that correspond to the complex nature of our times.

Neither figurative, nor entirely abstract, Sbârciu’s monumental landscapes engage with almost everything that weighs upon us at the present – the fate of the Earth, the closeness of calamity, and the urgency of redefining of our approach to nature. Mystery and matter are delivered in a rush of poetic illumination, in an explosion of color that is masterfully spread on a vast expanse of canvas.

As a painter, Ioan Sbârciu carved a unique path in the history of Romanian art, through this particular ability to orchestrate painting as a continuum field of forces and energies, spread over immense surfaces and complex color networks. In three interrelated series of paintings successively entitled Cinder Forest, Transylvanian Lights and Infinite Landscape, the artist imagines poetic spaces that are as much real as they are fictional, saturated by mystical beauty, but also charged with the emotional dimension of a melancholic past. Histories of memory and hope are transcribed onto the canvas through performative rituals that invoke the redemptive nature of art to overcome the effects of a trauma.

Building upon his powerfully gestural neo-Romanticist expressionism, the artist creates works that become physical topographies in their own right, forged from tactile media including remains of matter such as ash and sand. Generated by immediate experience, these paintings are redemptive; attempting a recovery of a lost past and bucolic land, but mainly emphasizing the infinite power of matter to be reborn in new forms, beyond the rational and the known.

*The project does not necessarily represent the official position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN shall not be held liable for the project’s content or any use to which the project outcome might be put. These are the sole responsibility of the beneficiary of the funding.


Ioan Sbârciu (born in 1948, Feldru) lives and works in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He graduated from the Painting Department of the “Ion Andreescu” Institute of Fine Arts in 1973, and held different teaching positions before starting his academic career in 1990 at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca (UAD), where he acted successively as Head of the Painting Department, Dean, Rector and Chairman of the Senate of the University.

He was the professor of all the artists associated with the Cluj School phenomenon, from Adrian Ghenie to Victor Man, Marius Bercea, Mircea Suciu, Serban Savu and many others.

Sbârciu’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions and projects, including: National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest (2019); BOZAR, Bruxelles, Belgium (2019); Sant’Antonio Abate, Matera, Italy (2019); Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2019); Eurojust, The Hague, The Netherlands (2019); The Art Museum Cluj (2018); Romanian Cultural Institute for Humanistic Research, Venice, Italy (2018); Sector 1 Gallery, Bucharest, Romania (2018); Fondazione Mena, Rome, Italy (2017); Hugo Voeten Art Center, Herentals, Belgium (2015); Accademia di Romania, Rome, Italy (2015); Tarohei Nakagawa Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2010); Kunsthalle Koeln, Germany (2003); Dresdner Bank Gallery, Stuttgart; Kunsthalle Manheim, Germany (2001).

Major group exhibitions include: Brukenthal National Art Museum, Sibiu (2023); Art Museum Cluj-Napoca (2023-2021); Fine Artists Union Gallery, Sibiu (2022); Palace of Culture, Iasi (2022); Macadam Gallery, ICR, Paris, France (2022); Museo Valtellinese di Storia e Arte, Sondrio, Italia (2020); Sector 1 Gallery, Bucharest (2019); Bistriţa-Năsăud Museum, Bistriţa (2017); MNAR, Bucharest (2017); Galeria Neon, Wroclaw, Poland (2017); Pecsi Galeria, Pecs, Hungary (2017); Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York, USA (2017); Galeria za Szklem, Art Academy Wroclaw, Poland (2016); Art Safari, Bucharest (2015); Astra Museum, Sibiu (2015); Fortino di Sant’Antonio, Bari, Italy (2014); Fondazione Maimeri Milan, Italy (2011); Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Lethaby Gallery, London, UK (2009); Universidad del Pais Vasco, Bilbao, Spain (2008); MODEM Debrecen, Hungary (2008); The Prague International Biennial, Czech Republic (2005); The Meotte Foundation New York, USA (2003); Romualdo del Bianco Foundation, Florence, Italy (2003); The Public Gallery of De Nederlandse Bank, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2001).

His work is included in Museums, public and private collections in Romania, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Canada and USA.