Born 1977 Baia-Mare, Romania
Lives and works in Cluj and Berlin
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.
Cinema’s aesthetic preoccupies Ghenie, particularly the moment cinema developed its own unique qualities: when scenes were created, seen and understood as nothing but filmic – movement, light, structure, genre, and moments repeated in different productions to the point of cliché that could not be separated from that medium, just as the surface and qualities of a Caravaggio can only really exist in paint.