Dimitrios Antonitsis: Sarmale with Ketchup / SABOT Gallery, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
March 21 – May 5, 2012
Sleek show fitting the sleek space of Sabot and breathing contemporary air into the Transylvanian folklore.
A graduate of the New York Film Academy and a former fashion photographer, Antonitsis is keenly aware of the different ways reality can be manipulated or exaggerated. (Tina Sotiriadi | Art in America, April 2002)
The Folklore, as a term of Dimitrios Antonitsis’ personal vocabulary, is invariably concerned with the practice of handcrafts. Always manifesting a soft spot for the discarded and the rejected, the artist easily fell for the triviality of Romanian fleamarket-stands, where he purchased used ceramic pots and vessels, woven rugs and bedspreads, and even some coarse wood-crafted decorative objects. These forsaken, modest artifacts became the chosen ingredients for his challenging task of pursuing a juicy aesthetical discourse and transforming them into his own contemporary dish.
The mundane titles “Sarmale with Ketchup” (for his solo show at Sabot), and “Panache de Papanași” (for the concomitant exhibition at the Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca), should be therefore read as an act of resisting social formatting.
Antonitsis uses his latest sculptural work as a sharp metaphor for leisure, fun and luxurious consumption. Bonus, a giant canine treat in aluminum and Bunny Labyrinth, a kids game silk-screened on a woven rug comment on our complicated and troublesome relation with over-achievement, social power and reward. His aesthetic language stretches from an attractive and minimal object making to an overcharged and exaggerated folklore design, always responding to the goal of articulating the concepts as accurately as possible. After all, Antonitsis is an artist who feels responsible for bringing truth to his audience. He can be wrong or misunderstood, but he must struggle to reflect reality in a way that speaks out the truth, whether we comprehend it or not.
Artist and curator, Dimitrios Antonitsis is the founder of Hydra School Projects, a cutting edge international platform for the visual arts set up in an elementary school on the Greek island of Hydra.
Radu Comşa / Things as they are, SABOT, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
20 January - 18 February 2012
When Giorgio Vasari wrote the “Life of Artists”, the notion of the authorship was finally acknowledged in the field of visual art. It was being used for quite some time previously, but never before had it been so clearly defined.
Since then, authorship has become more and more connected to branding and marketing, and the trend is going towards a point when they will have become indistinguishable. I don’t mean to demonize these concepts. Yet, we would be blind if we ignored the fact that nowadays artists are compelled to build their own brand, that above everything else they need to nest into a style, which is something familiar, repeated and recognizable. In other words, they have to brand themselves.
The whole notion of the “death of the author” didn’t really damage this status quo. On the contrary, it added strength to the idea of authorship. The artists have thus survived their own artistic death. Still, it is clear that they have simultaneously turned themselves into products of the capitalist society, much like Coca-Cola or the one dollar bill.
Everyday, Radu Comşa is fighting his way out of the aforementioned scenario. His work – or rather his modus operandi, his life style – is continuously contradicting the situation I just described. The fact that he has been working in the city of Cluj - with its cozy little coterie where everybody peeks at each other’s work - didn’t help much.
STEFANO CALLIGARO / For not turning all my nothing into something, SABOT, Cluj-Napoca
7 October - 12 November 2011
now imagine the water
it being transparent and clean
not only in a glass
but as a pond
as the ocean
imagine as if it were all things
some simple shapes a bunch of photos
an untold story
two angles perpendicular
a wooden brick
the bag that’s hanging on your shoulder
a nice warm summer
somehow the waves are moving
somehow they do
now imagine a snowball not bigger than your fist
solid compact white pure
and turn it
feel its weight
its bright-lit colours nicely shaped
keep yourself busy
stretch out your hands
let fall into the water
Stefano Calligaro (Cividale del Friuli, 1976) is an Italian artist living and working in Rotterdam. His work revolves around intuitive and simple gestures, hermetic elements, and shapes. The outcome is usually a floating idea, an object, a note, or just a trace almost hidden to our view. Recent exhibitions include Plants, rocks and a fish inhabited pond, Wcw gallery, Hamburg; Quiet is the new loud, Hotel Mariakapel, Hoorn; Lobby, Cell project space, London; and The object of the attack, The David Roberts Art Foundation, London.
www.hardfolk.it / www.pforpond.com/private1.htm
exhibition space: 59-61 Henri Barbusse street,
400616, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
mailing address: 12 Horea street, ap. 10,
400038, Cluj-Napoca, Romania