Lust for Light
Suprainfinit Gallery / BUCHAREST (Romania)
15.11.2018 – 02.03.2019
Lust for Light is a long overdue solo exhibition of Andrei Chintilă, an artist whose work unpardonably still remains in the shadows of history of art. The 16 paintings plus one photograph that feature the exhibition encapsulate two decades, starting with 1985 in Romania and moving over into the 1990’s when the artist relocated to Belgium for a few years.br> Adrian Guță, art historian and critic, himself immersed in the 80’s generation, places Chintilă on its front line alongside artists like Ghoerghe Rasovsky, Ioana Batrânu or Vlad Iacob, profoundly marked by post-modernism in full swing associated with poets and short story writers. Vlad Iacob Listening to Music (1985) belongs to the trajectory defined by anti-establishment impulses, conducive to reframing the Romanian figurative art under the influences of German and American neo-expressionism. Iacob, a close friend of the artist, is perhaps paradoxically depicted with dark skin. Under the ferocious, blazing, summer sun, bodies change shades and enjoy a particular type of freedom associated with the youth on prolonged holidays by the Black Sea and 3 alternative lifestyle on the camping beaches of 2 Mai, Vama Veche or Sfântu Gheorghe. Fascinated by this oasis of freedom, Chintilă dedicates a series of paintings depicting bodies dancing effortlessly on the beach in a state of bliss filled with sexual energy.br> The women of this exhibition are mostly depicted alone in various poses ranging from Siren of the Seas, an oil painting almost impressionistic in its technique with a pop twist, an instantiation of timeless glam or they react to the male gaze at a party, as in Ecstasy, Separation and Blue Velvet where some light pop art directions are visible. In Boys on 2 May Beach (1992) adhoc ‘communities’ are formed by young, athletic men hanging out on the beach in these mundane, snapshots like representations, reminiscence of Paul Cézanne’s The Bathers (1905) only not with women as artist subjects. If Chintilă allows for some of his characters to turn almost black, Madness Study depicts what seem to resemble to an Afro-American boxer during an era when Muhammad Ali was making headlines across the world. Chintilă’s attitude is innocent of cultural appropriation since ante ‘89 Romania was responding to other ideological stimuli.br> Chintilă’s flirting with pop art is subtle and quite a provocation given the context he operated within still under the influence by the divide between high and low art. Lust for Light suggests that this divide collapses while the heat, violence, rhythm and velocity collude to impress upon the canvas a state of transgression.
Text written by Mihaela Varzari