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b. 1977, Romania

Adrian Ghenie Biography

A stalwart of the international art scene, Berlin-based contemporary Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie paints partly figurative, partially abstract, richly textured paintings that grapple with deep, dark personal and historical states of mind.

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Born in 1977 in Baia Mare, Romania, Adrian Ghenie studied at the University of Art and Design in Cluj—Napoca, Romania, graduating in 2001. After working as an artist in Vienna and Sicily, he returned to Cluj to establish Galeria Plan B with Mihai Pop in 2005. Initiated as a platform for the presentation and development of contemporary art, Galeria Plan B established its second space in Berlin in 2008.

Ghenie borrows stylistically from across the art historical canon, from the sombre, dramatic chiaroscuro of Renaissance painting, to abstract expressionist experiments with texture and surface.

The use of a palette knife instead of a brush forms the basis of Adrian Ghenie's technique; pouring and dripping paint and making broad marks with the knife on the painted surface. The resultant paintings combine realistic figurative elements with varying degrees of fragmentation and abstraction.

The intensity of the abstraction is tied to the subjects of the artist's works. A complex interplay between the historical and the personal, Adrian Ghenie's paintings examine the psychological state of individuals, principally figures of historical influence.

Among Ghenie's historic muses are cruel instigators of great suffering, such as Hitler, Lenin, Nicolae Ceausescu, and infamous Nazi war criminal, Josef Mengele. Others, of a less violent persuasion, include ground-breaking figures such as evolutionary scientist Charles Darwin and artists like Vincent van Gogh and Marcel Duchamp.

Ghenie's distinctive practice quickly stood out on the international art scene, attracting the attention of institutions and influential collectors. His paintings have rapidly increased in value on the secondary market since first appearing at auction in 2011. Adrian Ghenie's Nickelodeon (2008), an ominous two-part painting acquired by François Pinault in 2009 for approximately €60,000, sold at Christie's for £7.1 million just seven years later.

Alongside various gallery and institutional exhibitions across Europe and America, Adrian Ghenie has participated in various international biennials, including the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, where he represented Romania.

Adrian Ghenie Solo Exhibitions include:

The Battle Between Carnival and Feast, Palazzo Cini Gallery, Venice, Italy (2019); Adrian Ghenie, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Málaga, Spain (2014); Pie-Fights and Pathos, Museum for Contemporary Art, Denver, Colorado, United States (2012); Adrian Ghenie, Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (2010); Darkness for an Hour, Haunch of Venison, London, U.K. (2009); Adrian Ghenie, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest, Romania (2009); If You Open It You Get Dirty, Galeria Plan B, Cluj, Romania (2006).

Adrian Ghenie Keith Group Exhibitions include:

La Brique, the Brick, Cărămida, La Kunsthalle Mulhouse, France (2019); Cher(e)s Ami(e)s, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2016); Mapping Bucharest: Art, Memory, and Revolution 1916—2016, MAK Vienna, Austria (2015); Six Lines of Flight: Shifting Geographies in Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA (2012); Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Light Bulb, The Pace Gallery, New York (2011); BERLIN SHOW #1, Galeria Plan B, Berlin (2008); Cluj Connection, Haunch of Venison, Zurich, Switzerland, (2006).

Michael Iwrin | Ocula | 2020

Adrian Ghenie Featured Artworks

View All (24)
The Impressionists by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieThe Impressionists, 2020Oil on canvas
220 x 300 cm
Pace Gallery
Mr Turner by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieMr Turner, 2020Oil on canvas
200 x 300 cm
Pace Gallery
Gauguin with Cowboy Hat by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieGauguin with Cowboy Hat, 2020Oil on canvas
100 x 70 cm
Pace Gallery
The Haystack by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieThe Haystack, 2020Oil on canvas
140 x 280 cm
Pace Gallery
The Uncle 4 by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieThe Uncle 4, 2020Oil on canvas
230 x 240 cm
Galeria Plan B Contact Gallery
Study for The Storm 2 by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieStudy for The Storm 2, 2017Collage on paper
22.6 x 18 cm
Galeria Plan B Contact Gallery
The Collector by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieThe Collector, 2008Oil on canvas
200 x 290 cm
Galeria Plan B Contact Gallery
Nickelodeon by Adrian Ghenie contemporary artwork
Adrian GhenieNickelodeon, 2008Oil and acrylic on canvas
230 x 420 cm
Galeria Plan B Contact Gallery

Adrian Ghenie Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Adrian Ghenie, The Hooligans at Pace Gallery, New York
Closed
20 November 2020–27 February 2021 Adrian Ghenie The Hooligans Pace GalleryNew York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, UNIQUE at Parkett, Zurich Exhibition Space
Closed
12 September–18 December 2020 Group Exhibition UNIQUE ParkettZurich Exhibition Space
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Basel by Berlin at Galeria Plan B, Berlin
Closed
19–27 June 2020 Group Exhibition Basel by Berlin Galeria Plan BBerlin

Adrian Ghenie Represented By

Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Pace Gallery New York, London, Geneva, Palo Alto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing

Adrian Ghenie In Ocula Magazine

Frieze Viewing Room: Five Artwork Highlights Ocula Insight Frieze Viewing Room: Five Artwork Highlights By Ocula Advisory, New York

Ocula's Advisory team review the highlights in Frieze Viewing Room.

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London Auction Sales Down Despite $30m Hockney Splash Ocula News London Auction Sales Down Despite $30m Hockney Splash London, 18 February 2020

The third highest price fetched by Hockney at auction contributed to over US $500 million in sales.

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Adrian Ghenie In Related Press

The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale Related Press The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale 30 April 2019, The Art Newspaper

There are hundreds of exhibitions in Venice during the Biennale. Alongside the main exhibition in the Giardini and Arsenale, there are 90 national presentations, many in nearby pavilions in the Giardini and in spaces around the Arsenale, but also dotted throughout Venice. Then there are the official collateral exhibitions in museums and galleries...

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