For Whom the Bell Tolls
snapshots from an enlarged Oradea context

Citadel City Art Gallery, Oradea, Romania September 3, 2020

Laszlo Ujvarossy, Paradisul sau Europa e a mea (In Paradise or Europe is Mine), 1984, mixed media

For whom the bell Tolls is the title of a novel that Ernst Hemingway published in 1940 and in which the American author immerses us in the atmosphere of the Spanish Civil War. This title was chosen because the exhibition wants to gather, under the same roof, artists who worked in this city in an emblematic period of history (1980s), but also others that destiny has linked in one way or another to Oradea. The book tells of a young American mission, involved in the International Brigades who shares daily life of a group of Republicans guerrilleros behind the front lines. Like the American author, this exhibition pays homage to the engaged artists, members of Atelier 35, the Youth Cenacle of the Union of Fine Artists, seen from a certain historical perspective. Their individual or collective approaches were a continuation of the historical Western neo-avant-garde. In the 1980s, their ways of working were not mimicked, but they explored needs to distance themselves from the Romanian capital. The approach of this epoch from the point of view of the venue is conclusive, because it reveals a series of substrates without which, certain works or artistic positions, cannot be fully understood. The heterogeneous works of these artists were less motivated by belonging to a broad international artistic context, but rather related to a self-definition that was appreciably resistant to the official artistic system, strictly determined by the communist regime in which forms of expression were traditionalist and propagandistic. To these historical figures from Oradea of the 1980's we joined some well-known personalities whose fate linked them to this city and also artists from a newer generation, whose work seemed to us in a qualitative continuity of the predecessors.

Alexandru Antik, Vioara Bara, Sandor Bartha, Anca Brânzaș, Ioan Bunuș, Mircea Cantor, Tibor Fekete, Dorel Găina, Aniko Gerendi, György Jovián, Ferenczi Károly , Gyöngyi U. Kerekes, Ioan-Aurel Mureșan, Ciprian Mureșan, Dan Perjovschi, Ioan-Augustin Pop, Csongor Szabó, László Ujvárossy