"Pie Fight Study 2" by Adrian Ghenie, 2008

Galeria Plan B: “Pie Fight Study 2” by Adrian Ghenie, oil on canvas, 55 x 59 cm, 2008 (© Adrian Ghenie)

From the Liverpool Biennial 2008 website:

Adrian Ghenie is a young Romanian painter whose works demonstrate his fascination with history and the trauma of dictatorship. The sources for his images are derived from a combination of his own personal memories and from historical books, archives and both documentary and fictional film.
Ghenie plunders visual history via disparate avenues – archives, history books, cinema, painting, YouTube and Google – to build his dense, multi-layered paintings. His preparations are intriguing in their ebb and flow between fact and fabrication. Once images are selected from different modes of representation, Ghenie creates collages with printed images that are overworked and embellished in paint. Sometimes he turns stills into cardboard models, creating a kind of mini film set, tangible, with shifting light and relative scale. (read more)

What interests me in the particular painting shown above, is the cream: 1) it’s not so much covering the face as it is the face itself, unrecognizable, undone, unordered and 2) it’s used in such a way that it seems to exhibit the quality of the medium itself: in this case: oil painting. This face “defaced” by a cream pie seems to be inviting me to think about the fact that it’s not a face, but the painting of a face. This kind of reflection ―the way the medium tends to show itself for what it is― is often view as a characteristic of modern art. The fact that the character in Ghenie’s painting seems to lose his identity in the process makes it even more interesting. In a way, it’s reminiscent, of what happens to the character played by Robin William in Woody Allen’s movie Deconstructing Harry (1997)

At the Galeria Plan B there are 24 more artwork by Ghenie. Here are some more resources on the Internet about him:

  • Nicodim Gallery: 18 artworks.
  • Re-title.com has 10 artwork. The biography it offers is copied from the Liverpool Biennial website.
  • The Saatchi Gallery offers a short blurb on the artist on the occasion of “the first survey exhibition” of his paintings at The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest.
  • Art Tattler offers more artwork along with a short, original essay on the artist inspiration and projects.
  • Adrian Ghenie is currently being represented by the art gallery Haunch of Venison (member of Christie’s International). The gallery website offers a short original essay along with 18 artworks (Flash needed, HTML version is not working properly).
  • Nolan Judin (a Berlin based art gallery) offers a short, original introduction to the artist along with 11 artworks.
  • The Tim van Laere offers 14 artworks among which there a 2010 “Selfportrait”. There’s also a photo of the artist.
  • Last but not least, Matt Price a “a contemporary art writer, editor and curator based in London and Birmingham” has written a lengthy essay about Adrian Ghenie which was published in the April 2010 issue of Modern Painters. The article untitled “Out of the Zoo” is available online over at Artinfo.com.

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