Colouring the Grey


Talking about grey

Besides the concepts that turned into clichés like “New Europe” or “Behind the Iron Curtain”, during the last five years an Eastern cultural product was wonderfully revealing itself under the tag of ”school of grey realism”.

Grey can be found as a characteristic of contemporary Romanian art as well, as a colour of transition from communism to capitalism, as a state of mind of confused people, as a symbol of an entire society in search of itself. Grey is also a charismatic choice-of-colour to represent these troubled times, coming from states emerging and (some) joining European Union, after 40 years of taking side of the Soviet Union. On the other hand, this preference is partially entitled to be opted, as Eastern European contemporary art takes, without even spelling it loud, an anthropological role, thus becoming a reservoir of memories, an archive and a refuge for history to speak out and for artists to actively get involved in society. Therefore, it looks like art has lots of reasons to be covered in grey.

Without polishing or aesthetically improving reality (realism showcases the surrounding reality depicted without the use of any particular style), the emerging artists choose either to close-up capture the old habits of people who have lost (or won…) the battle against the “machines”, or to large-view represent the communist as a reference system. They sometimes decide to talk about the aching present as well.

But the loss of a system based on centralised power as communism, its replacement with a long 20-year transition and the arrival of the recent worldwide financial crisis of capitalism have created, in our Eastern Europe, a reality which looks more like an imaginary one. And because Romanian emerging artists choose to speak in their art about traumatic realities of past and present, there appears a strange feeling of an unreal world embodied in those works, a state of a parallel world for the outside viewers (abroad art specialists and audiences).

Talking about colour

Within recent years, Western European art markets and spectators have been well accustomed with the (grey) works of the Romanian artists from ”School of Cluj”, as these were circulated quite a lot across the exhibition places like museums, galleries, cultural centres etc. The special approach of colour of this School’s pupils has attracted lots of attention and expertise comments. On short term, this advertising of Romanian artists is very welcomed and appreciated. Furthermore, on a medium and long term, a diversity reach is needed, variety in terms of colour, technique, theme and concept but also in other arts (sculpture, that has not ended at Constantin Brâncuși, conceptual art, video art, performance etc.)

Having drawn near our proposition, we acknowledge we have been scouting, discovering, monitoring and promoting some high-profile Romanian artists, in the last 5 years, all over Romania. We call them the Second wave of Romanian contemporary emerging artists and we invite you to explore them: Bogdan Rațã, Dragoș Burlacu, Francisc Chiuariu, Zoltan Bela, Aurel Tar, Ana Maria Micu, Cãtãlin Petrișor.

The artists cover quite extensively different parts of Romania, by actively securing important hot art points in the country: Bucharest, capital of the country (South), Timișoara (North- West, Banat), Bacãu (East, Moldavia), Craiova (South, Valahia), and Cluj-Napoca (Central).”

text by Cosmin Nãsui via