Zeno X Gallery is pleased to present Bleeding Heart, the fourth solo exhibition by Mircea Suciu (b. 1978, Cluj) in Antwerp. The show includes thirteen paintings offering an overview of the recent developments in his work.
The exhibition takes its title from the derogatory (political) term for a person considered to be excessively soft-hearted or liberal. Before surfacing in conservative rhetoric as a term of disparagement for more liberal politicians, the term was used in religious writings and iconography in reference to the heart of Jesus Christ and was found in literature to describe sincere emotional outpourings. As an artist, Mircea Suciu is deeply fascinated by humankind and its actions. Through his art, he seeks to understand the world around him and to process it until he reaches a conclusive result.
The human condition is the main focus of his work. Suciu is intrigued by the tragedies human beings inflict upon each other but also by humankind's frailty as well as its ability to constantly adapt and evolve. Through his work he refers to and reflects upon the histories of violence, oppression and abuse of power which he connects with the current state of humankind. His images are meant to push the viewer to meditate upon history in order to arrive at a feeling of compassion with the depicted subject.
The artist often works in series, returning to themes which he continuously seeks to improve. One of these is the reinterpretation of Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas, which was painted at the height of the Spanish Golden Age. Looking at this work from a twenty-first-century perspective, one can no longer ignore the topics of colonialism and racism, the effects of which are still with us today.
Another prominent theme in this exhibition is the still life. Inspired by his seventeenth-century predecessors, Suciu adapts well-known vanity motifs such as skulls and dead birds to further explore his interest in human behavior. Humanity is defined by contrasting actions, from cruelty to grace, from acts of aggression to sympathy or compassion.
The artist also draws upon more recent art-historical and cultural references such as minimalism, pop art and cinema to create his highly unique visual language. These sources are interpreted and translated into a personal idiom where figuration and abstraction complement and enhance each other. Technically too, his work is rich and multilayered. Over the years, Suciu has developed his own graphic style, one that incorporates different media and which he calls 'monotype'. After transferring a photographic image onto the canvas, Suciu applies both acrylic and oil paint. The monoprint allows him to balance the composition while the paint adds colour and texture to the work.
Both visually and technically, Mircea Suciu aims to break away from the classical idea of composition as a unitary, compact representation of a single subject. Through this seemingly eclectic choice of imagery, he strives for iconicity in a world that is dominated by all sorts of images. For him, an iconic image combines meaning as well as materiality. His work reminds us that there are no simple answers to complicated questions. It is a constant quest to understand and take control of the contradictions of the human condition and to find beauty and balance through a multitude of perspectives.
Mircea Suciu has held solo shows at SAC Bucharest and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest. He has participated in various biennials and triennials, including the Bruges Triennial, the Gwangju Biennial in South Korea, the 4th Prague Biennial, 11th Istanbul Biennial, 16th Vilnius Painting Triennial and the Timisoara Biennial. His work has featured in several group exhibitions, such as MARe, Museum of Recent Art in Bucharest, Kunstmuseum Bochum, Weserburg Museum in Bremen, Museum Beelden aan Zee in The Hague, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Espace Louis Vuitton in Paris, Fondation Francès in Senlis, Maison Particulière in Brussels, MODEM Center for Modern and Contemporary Art in Debrecen and Mucsarnok Kunsthalle in Budapest.
Press release courtesy Zeno X Gallery.
With his latest solo show now on view at Zeno X Gallery, Mircea Suciu discusses his approach to capturing the psychological undercurrents of now.