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The exhibition “VOLTO” presents different aesthetic visions and artistic methods within contemporary drawing, in the context of the interrogation about the face motive and its evocative connotations. The medium of drawing became in the last years a very frequented and central discipline in contemporary art praxis because its personal, intimate, subtle, fragile nature as well, as because of its extremely rich evocative aura. Drawing like writing enables spontaneous improvisations and frequents un-definitive and un-finished shaping, while the freed imagination, the radical fantasy open dimensions of infiltrations in different territories of experiencing realities. Drawing liberated itself from any public obligation of creating definitive formations, from any institutional demand of monumentality and material solidity, from any conventional hierarchic systems and representations. While shaping figures from our most intimate and hidden inner universe, drawing is keeping an almost anarchic, uncontrollable, spontaneous dynamism, a somewhat disturbing uncertainty and a magic fluidity of images.

Marine Joatton: O.T., 2017, 20,6×29,5 cm / photo: Zsuzsa G. Heller

Anya Balyat Giunta: Analytical-engine Games 6, 2011, 27×21 cm / photo: Zsuzsa G. Heller

The subversive intimacy and a certain – even if latent – autobiographic character of contemporary drawing allows the artist to stay in his hidden studio, to be highly personal, secret, private and non-institutional, to work on his one-person projects, to write – or draw – his “journal intime” without accepting morally obligatory standards of any political network and of any collective communication system, it enables to the artist to find the first form of a new, personal, never explained, never precisely described concept of shaping, to let him freely enter in the uncontrolled space for uncontrollable imaginations and dreaming, to follow obsessive routes of inner forces, to catch enigmatic, mysterious evocations, with one word: to give him completely to his own interim, vulnerable, provisory poetical immanency. The innocent, provocative freshness of drawing, the beauty of immaterial, intelligible sensibility, the enigmatic power of empathic competence of the lines create the suggestive force of the weakness, the subversive effectiveness of fragility and uncertainty. Drawing is the celebration of the subversive sensuality of the “prima linea”, the total realization of the evocative intensity in small, anti-monumental, anti-hierarchical dimension; the revelation of the hidden terrains of soul.

The exhibition “VOLTO” is dedicated to an old, large, at the same time familiar and enigmatic subject: the face. Given the unique, significantly personal, principally singular, unrepeatable, irreplaceable, in-exchangeable character of the face, it is almost inevitably identified with the external appearance of a person, with the image of an individual. The interrogation of meaning and message of the face as a central motive of any personal narratives, the questioning of the enigma of the visible, sensual, physical, touchable, living part of the human body or the experience of the the un-visible, imaginative, metaphysical, intelligible fiction of the image of the human as well, as the obsessive, psychological, pathological aspects of the regard of the Other are themes of the works by the six invited artists of this exhibition.

Erich Gruber: Lagermax, 2012, paper, mixed technique, framed, 37×28 cm / photo: Zsuzsa G. Heller

The oeuvre of the Rumanian artist Radu Belcin, the Russian-born French artist Anya Belyat-Giunta and the Austrian artist Eric Gruber transmit in a very subtle, not at all spectacular way the intriguing presence of certain uncontrollable forces and energies, which reveal a dark realm of our reality. Radu Belcin’s somewhat gloomy, somber drawings manifest the feeling of permanent uncertainty and instability, the power of certain unexplainable forces, which transform and reshape the familiar motive of humane face. The calm objectivity of his images paradoxically even stimulate the radical phantasy which opens free fields of wild associations. Anya Belyat-Giunta’s strange, eccentric faces and figures are disturbing embodiments of dream-like hallucinations, which reflect deep, often hidden memories, projections, imaginations, unsupportable experiences and emotional crises. The narrative of Anya Belyat-Giunta’s drawings shows an anecdotic richness and contextualizes her imaginary in literary, poetic micro-cosmos.  Eric Gruber confronts us with extremely perturbing, highly troubling images of faces of beings between human and animal, between familiar and shockingly unknown, mixing in this way a dream-like irrationality with an almost scientific observation of the real. At the same time, his drawings let them understand as the appearance of the Other, of the Stranger, who is permanently with us, who is living in us.

In the oeuvre of the Italian artist Ugo Giletta, of the Hungarian artist Aron Gàbor and of the French artist Marine Joatton the face motive appears in a rather historic, mythological, philosophical contextualization. While Aron Gàbor emphasizes the slow, silent, mysterious process of becoming form, in which the idea is getting his definitive shape, which seems to be shining lonely in the empty space, presenting the defined entity against the undefined emptiness of the abstract universe, Ugo Giletta fills the empty faces with singularity and identity, without connecting this identity with a particular person, with a private history, with a personal narrative. There is no owner of these particular singularities, rather the singularities are getting a visual entity, a raison d’être, a suggestive visual presence, without being representations of individuals, without being portraits of concrete persons. Aron Gàbor presents the inevitable tendency toward the form, as the crystallization of the defined elements against the undefined nothingness, Ugo Giletta presents the possibility of creating entities, which are getting their identities and visual entities, without being persons with their own particularity.

Áron Gábor: Meditation about the Head 10, 2017, mixed technique, 35×25 cm
photo: Zsuzsa G. Heller 

Radu Belcin: Mind trap 4, paper, charcoal, 65×50 cm
photo: Zsuzsa G. Heller

Marine Joatton’s strangely simple, almost archaic, timeless faces are echoing the most direct way a certain historical contextualization of the motive. The late Romanesque frescoes as well, the early Renaissance Madonna images as well, as the provocative simplicity of the early Expressionism seem to be considered in the shaping process of Marine Joatton. She doesn’t reduce the physical appearance of the particular models, she doesn’t have the ambition to create abstract icons from concrete individuals, but to find an archetypical image of a certain kind of human, whose gender and age are as much part of their individual identity, as the cultural symbol-forms connected with their images. In this sense, Marine Joatton goes on the road of contextualization of the image as cultural, historical production, in which the personal, accidental, hic et nunc realities will be part of a more complex, larger communal, socio-cultural reality, without loosing the very specific, singular, enigmatic intensity of the concrete entities of the image.

Ugo Giletta: O. T., paper, pastell, 27×20 cm
Photo: Zsuzsa G. Heller

All the six invited artists are aware of the complexity of the subject as well, as the heavy cultural historical context. At the same time, they work with this motive in a completely sovereign way, which opens new territories of the radical phantasy and activates new, vivid, unconventional connections between different fields of experiences. Their work is convincing because of the suggestive poetic intensity and intellectual complexity as well, as the radical sensuality, which all guide us to re-visiting the narrative of the face motive.