Essay on limits
Hussenot gallery is pleased to announce the first solo show of Serban Savu.
Savu is one of a young generation of artists from Cluj, in the north of Romania, He is part of a group which also includes Victor Man, Adrian Ghenie and Ciprian Muresan who trained together at the Academy there, and since 2005 have emerged rapidly onto the international scene.
Serban Savu is a figurative painter. His skilfully rendered canvases capture the daily existence of contemporary Romanians at work and leisure.
Savu's subjects are the everymen and -women of Romania. Some of the men are at work, shirtless, mixing concrete or foraging through heaps of scrap metal. Some figures wait expectantly; for what, the viewer is not informed.
Their identities, Savu suggests, are rooted in a head-down, steadfast desire to survive, to make the best of an existence perpetually at the brink.
These urban landscapes, which Communism promised to pave the way to the future, have, in the course of a decade, become relics. People, however, must continue to live in them. The architecture's physical decay reflects its economic uselessness and in this painting, the Romanticism devalues the present in favor of the elevated and the remote.
These paintings also speak to the failed utopian ideas in Communism
There is nothing radical about Mr. Savu's art. It is the opposite of cutting edge, which seems to be its point. Emblems of past promises for a utopian future and scenes of a present still poisoned by those promises exist on a continuum in these wry but unlaughing, beautifully painted pictures.