February 1, 2008 – March 8, 2008
With Stuff, the first solo show in Berlin by the Bucharest-based artist Dan Perjovschi (b. 1961), Galerija Gregor Podnar offers a look at the artist’s rich and multifaceted creative process. A major spatial installation – inspired by the floor piece Perjovschi realized for the Romanian national pavilion at the 1999 Venice Biennale groups dozens of drawings on a vinyl surface that covers the gallery floor. Along with this installation, a kind of Wunderkammer displays the artist’s graphic strategies in all their diversity. On the one hand, there are postcards, faxes, drawings on paper, drawings on blackboards, diorama projections, and even newspaper inserts (the taz series from 2005) – forms through which Perjovschi’s thought-writing manifests itself; on the other, we see, in logical arrangement, the numerous notebooks, or Diaries, from 1998 – the scores of sketches Perjovschi made in preparation for his 1999 Venice installation.
Although Dan Perjovschi trained to be a painter (at the George Enescu University of the Arts in Iasi, Romania), his work has since the early 90s developed into a prolific drawing practice, focusing in particular on satirical drawing. By reducing his medium to its most elementary expression – the clear line – Perjovschi endows his sketches with maximum legibility, which as a result brings his drawings closer to the act of writing. The notions of drawing and writing are, indeed, inseparable in the artist’s work. But if clarity, spontaneity, and immediacy are so typical of his sketches, his finished drawings represent the most direct materialization of a thought. Seeking more to communicate something about the world rather than simply to aestheticize it, Perjovschi’s thoughts develop in response to current events that affect the artist’s immediate environment, such as the reconstruction of cultural identity in post-communist Romania, although inspiration can also come from topics in the international media. Ultimately, Perjovschi’s art presents us with a gaze that is both ironic and acerbic. Unsparing toward the popular clichés circulating in the news media, he raises questions about politics, religion, the role of the individual in the collective, and the relationship of the global and the local. Nor does he neglect the inherent contradictions in the socio-economic domain where his work is viewed, i.e. the art world. To expressions of violence and extremism, Perjovschi opposes laughter and mockery as the safeguards of free thought and the free expression of thought.
Since his intervention at Manifesta 2, in Luxembourg in 1998, and his presentation at the Romanian pavilion in Venice the following year, Dan Perjovschi has received widespread recognition internationally. He has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne (2005), Tate Modern in London (2006), and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2007). This year he will also take part in the Sydney Biennial.