Opening: 14.11.2019

Exhibition: 15.11.2019 - 18.01.2020

Tudor Oltean’s exhibition It all started with a drawing is one of a series of studio-exhibitions through which Quadro 21 Gallery is displaying the current stage of development and interests of a number of young artists.

Visitors encountering the works of Tudor Oltean are confronted with three areas of expressive art: diagram, sculpture/object, and charcoal drawing. Traditionally, sketches represent an intermediate stage that the artist employs in order to arrive at a work of art. If we regard the creative process as unfolding in a narrative sequence, the sketch is the culminating point, the step that precedes the coming into existence of the object. The drawing, painting or sculpture, by contrast, captures a moment of resolution in which the artist achieves clarity of feelings and ideas, corresponding to the dénouement of the artistic process. However, in the three types of works that Tudor creates he eschews any hierarchical ordering or narrative sequencing of this kind, allowing the spotlight to fall on the process nature of his entire approach, in which these stages are autonomous.

The exhibition It all started with a drawing is indeed dominated by drawing, which, in line with this mode of visual thinking, takes on the role of object. The artist’s preoccupations in terms of form are affected by his interest in particular developments in society. Whereas in the past he situated himself as a passive recorder of daily events, the works we have here are a subjective response to the reality of an isolated environment, that of violence and prisons. In order to capture the unique interplay between regulations imposed on a group and individual behaviours, he becomes an active observer of this world. This dynamic is transposed into a non-figurative visual language in which the relative positioning of forms captures feelings and emotions linked to particular fragments of lived experience. Every drawing takes up symbols belonging to the semiotic field of this world. By a process of almost compulsive repetition, the symbol becomes a motif that holds the compositions together.

Displayed without an intermediary, the works pull the exhibition space in around them to create an installation, using it as an immediate support. Geometrical motifs drawn in charcoal come to configure a codified visual language that resembles a board game, with a role or a rule matching each form or formula. Thus, we can identify the players: the victim, the person punished, the person who imposes the punishment, and the punishment itself, but the power relationships are left open. - Roșca Diana

About the artist:

Tudor Oltean, born in Gilău, Romania in 1993, lives and works in Cluj-Napoca. He completed a Master’s programme in the Ceramics, Glass and Metal department of the Decorative Arts and Design Faculty of Cluj University of Art and Design in 2017. His exhibition Black Market was held at Launloc in the same year, and in 2019 he took part in the group exhibition From the belly of a circle comes out a square at MATCA.