Written by Alexandru Polgár
We are pleased to present Romanian artist Marius Bercea's first solo exhibition in Japan, The Far Sound of Cities, at MAKI Gallery / Tennoz II, Tokyo.
The series of new paintings on view continues two decades of prolific exploration in imaginary landscapes of modernist inspiration, explored through layers of color, architecture and bodies. Intended to recuperate a meditation on past signs of new times, Bercea's paintings connect to a larger context. In a period in which time stands still from more than one point of view, his extremely dynamic works attest to the need of liquefying the well-known mantras of historical interpretation. As such, they allow for a unique perspective on the actual lived experiences of political regimes, with their projected artistic auras ordered to differentiate them from what was before.
The Far Sound of Cities drives this meditation to secluded spaces of isolation. Characters of youth are suspended in anticipation, spending their time together, talking, resting, enjoying a prolonged leisure that seems, however, to have become somewhat tiresome and heavy. The environment is obviously that of a home labyrinth of forms, vegetation, patterns, ever changing colors and everyday objects. People are lost in these luxuriant settings, rotating in carefully arranged groups and positions, changing their haute couture outfits influenced by both fashion design and cinematography. The spaces are transitory, as if the characters are readying for a celebration, one which never takes place as there is nowhere to go. This feverish tension lends a strange nostalgia upon their faces – a calm happiness of being immersed in sadness.
The atmosphere, precisely calculated and meticulously developed by Bercea's painterly eye, retains a somewhat didactic experience: the lesson of an always delayed freedom, as if flowers or plants – ever recurring motifs in his works – are forced, just as the youngsters portrayed, to stay in the bud. Paradoxically, this situation is counter-pointed by the changing seasons one can glimpse through the various windows, contributing to the permanent feeling of an unavoidable pressure that radiates from the paintings through the gazes in awe. Rich in literary and musical motifs, the exhibition title itself being borrowed from a poem by Rimbaud, the surgical construction of situations reaches its peak here in Bercea's oeuvre.
The longing in the eyes of the characters is, in fact, that of the painter himself. A nostalgia for something that will not happen, a beauty of life and youth condemned to be born in terminal times. No divine apocalypse, but a very profane ending to things as we knew them, where all we are left with is posing as our own disappeared future.
Press release courtesy of MAKI