Mihai Nicodim Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s third solo exhibition by Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan.
Ciprian Muresan was only twelve years old during the Revolutions of 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Growing up amidst the advent of capitalist Romania, Muresan experienced a culture warped between two distinct ideologies and a nation’s heavy-handed race to modernize after years under Communist dictatorship.
Though highly autobiographical, Muresan’s work more distinctly finds its purport through the physical practice itself; his forms (drawing, sculpture and videos) act as allusive and quietly trangressive cultural translations. Coming from the stringently academic pedagogy of a childhood in pre-revolutionary Romania, Muresan’s art education was solely that of fetishized transcription, copying the canon of Western Art with no conceptual entrance to content. Today, Muresan’s work subverts these years of repetitive training, transposing them through a critical, conceptual lens. Muresan’s practice immerses itself within the mitigation and appropriation of historical literature, theory and criticism by way of meticulous rendering. Using drawing as a tool for investigation, obsession and worship, the work embodies a viewpoint which is sardonically aware of it’s illustrative roots, using this format as a droll entry-point into Muresan’s own identity politics.
For his new exhibition, Muresan has created a series of drawings in two parts. First is a set of twelve drawings taken specifically from press the artist received upon the debut of his photograph, ‘Leap Into The Void (Three Seconds Later)” (2004). The work was direct reference to Yves Klein’s seminal photograph ‘Leap Into the Void’ (1960), picturing the artist mid-flight, swan-diving into a cobble-stoned Parisian street. Muresan’s image re-stages the photograph, post-flight: the artist is face down in a similar looking Romanian street, seemingly a corpse. Muresan’s re-interpretation of the work is an allusion to the freedom and scope of Klein’s artistic environs transposed against the infinitesimal breadth of his own in Romania.
For the exhibition, Muresan has made twelve graphite copies of his own image ‘Leap Into the Void (Three Seconds Later)’ directly from press clippings, articles and reviews after it’s initial debut in 2004. Omitting all text, the renderings hover in varying placement on the plane, metaphorically searching for place and context within their re-appropriation. Choosing to copy his own work as represented in a periodical or publication, the artist re-affirms his search for place within the tenants of Modernism and the West. Muresan was once quoted as saying that the difference between his artistic world in Romania and that of Klein’s Paris is conceptually embodied in those three seconds between the leap and the fall.
The second part of Muresan’s new exhibition is a series of larger drawings created through layered graphite montage. Super-imposing multiple renderings from monographs into large, one-page macro-texts, Muresan creates a new history for the storied visuals he copies. Unable while growing up to have encountered first-hand the Masters’ works he now copies, Muresan’s current practice further reflects upon realities that most imitation is done from an already second-hand source. Such distance and disassociation imbues Muresan’s drawings with an uncanny sense of being without place. Borrowing both from populist comic stylings as well as early Renaissance drawings, the lushness of his cosmologies are as seductive as they are inhibited. These second and third-hand resources have become a staple within Muresan’s process, compiling visual bastions of information culled from books on artists and theorists such as Bas Jan Ader and Martin Kippenberger. For his current exhibition, Muresan has made two drawings extracted from academic texts on Western Art History. Loaded layers of imagery intersect with text and grey matter within these new works, reflecting the artist’s ongoing search to collate the disconnect between ourselves, our present and the history that defines us.
Ciprian Muresan (b. 1977, Romania) lives and works in Cluj, Romania. Recent exhibitions include, ‘Stage and Twist’, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, PL (with Anna Molska) (2013), ‘Stage and Twist’, Project space, Tate Modern, London, UK (with Anna Molska) (2012), ‘Ciprian Mureșan’, Wilkinson Gallery, London, UK (2012), ‘Recycled Playground’, Centre d'art Contemporaine, Geneva, CH (2012) and ‘Six Lines of Flight’, SF MOMA, San Francisco (2012).