Secret History Serban Inoescus’s first exhibition explored Inoescu’s Romanian heritage through an exploration of myth, folklore and childhood tales. Serban Ionescu continues that examination with DEMETER a provocative exploration of the tale of Vlad Tepes/Dracula.
DEMETER -THE GREEK GODDESS OF HARVEST AND THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH. DEMETER, ALSO THE RUSSIAN SHIP THAT BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, EMBARKED FROM TRANSYLVANIA UPON HIS JOURNEY WEST. FOR THIS EXHIBITION, PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES WILL BE DEPICTING HISTORIC AND MYTHICAL CYCLES OF VARIOUS TRANSFORMATION OF VLAD TEPES/DRACULA’S HISTORY INTO A MIGRATORY MYTH
The myth serves as an allegory of migration, integration, transformation, and subjective memory. He recalls tales of Vlad Tepes/Dracula from his Romanian, cultural perspective – Ionescu fully knows how the history has been remade and re-told, he examines how the myth and it’s transformation has migrated into a cultural icon through film and literature and how Hollywood has defined and redefined the myth as it has seeped into our collective cultural consciousness.
In a hyper, fully exhausted visual world, Ionescu presents a series of fresh ideas that work to expand our vision of modernity in the twenty first century. Questioning temporal meaning, he presents investigations at a critical moment in our contemporary world. Ionescu explores the de-stabilizing force of human emotions on systems of representation. He conveys his enduring concerns with the complexity of memory and meaning, the implications of ambiguity and stereotype for social, historical and metaphysical understanding. His process a distinctive, freestyle dance which “starts with an idea that more often than not goes on to become something else”.
Quasi-human sculpted heads with graphic marking like ancient … warriors abound. Some impaled on steel rods, challenge the conventions of perceptual representation by compelling us to read both the recto and verso at the same time. Ionescu’s canvases painted with sumi ink are strong illustrative works fused with myth, metaphor, and contemporary life, filled with graphic imagery and pageantry. The artist scrawls words and images across the canvas; providing the viewer with his signature lines that include ‘faux real’, ‘the errorist ‘,’Vagabond 007’. The work is a landscape of familiar language, where ships and mythological characters abound. “The paintings are drawings in the sense of writing.” There is no blending just strong bold assured lines that tell a story. Confining himself to a limited palette of back, white he presents a cacophony of ideas and relationships.
A master at installing a new visual quality that makes us so uneasy, that so shocks our perceptual habits …Everything has his own particular signature of commingling—sophistication in the guise of banality, circumspection and innovation brought back into an everyday language of bizarre elements screwed together. Compositions saturated with prosaic content are witty and direct. Canvases filled with dark humor, macabre sometimes are ‘drawn’ in a playfully grotesque confrontational style. Featuring scrawled text, visual codes or mutants, monsters and serial killers all entangled in provocative humorous tales of mystery, peril and bizarre twists, Ionescu’s strange yet familiar incredible world is filled with parody that amuses and delights.
A film, DEMETER accompanies the exhibition. It is a visual presentation of dreams and transformation.
Revealed in this body of work is a visual edginess and freshness, which transcends and undermines traditional values. Ionescu manages to dismantle and reconfigure paradigms found throughout the cultural landscape and make us chuckle a bit at the same time. Serban Ionescu challenges the viewer to examine closely, what is being presented. What is discovered is something more that just the novelty of quick witted, often-dark humor. There is host of unique universal ideas presented in a manner that sets up a whole new standard.