Robert Muntean

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Robert Muntean – Solo Exhibibition - The hardcore of beauty

  • 4 Apr 2014 — 31 May 2014

This exhibition will present works on canvas and works on paper by Austrian artist Robert Muntean. It follows on from a 2013 group exhibition entitled ‘the birth of cinema…and beyond’, at rosenfeld porcini, London.

One of the most important moments for the modern tradition of painting took place in the first two decades of twentieth century Vienna where artists like Klimt, Schiele, Gerstl, Moser, Schoenberg and Kokoschka created a vibrant revolutionary approach to painting and drawing, which was completely independent to what was happening in France and Russia. The rich palette and expressionistic drawing of the human figure was part of one of those magical moments which in the course of history has every so often come together in a particular town and epoch. Vienna at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth was the home of Sigmund Freud, Hans Hoffman and Hugo von Hoffmannstahl as well as all the visual artists mentioned above; they managed to create a new vision for society, which spread across all the arts.Notwithstanding the fact that Robert Muntean is now living in Berlin, he considers himself an Austrian painter and is very conscious of the strong tradition he comes from. After the ‘happenings’ of Nitsch that involved both performance and body art by various photographers and conceptual artists alike - Muntean went head on into the Viennese legacy. His painting ‘An Austrian Painter’ is taken from a well-known photograph of Schiele looking into a mirror; the palette immediately recalls that of Kokoschka and Moser, whilst his strongly angular construction of the image and division of space takes up the cubist tradition in a contemporary manner. Muntean's paintings have a formal complexity built up from multiple layers of applied paint, yet without a build up of material the surface remains uniform and flat whilst revealing a great depth. His formal approach includes a wide variety of hues and shades often of the same colour - in particular his use of green. The complexity of Muntean’s pictorial language merits repeated viewings; ones sees how daring the juxtaposition of his colours, constructs the image itself. The painting ‘Medici’ begins with two diagonal red brush strokes across the middle of the picture, although the dominant colour becomes surprisingly green. With some of the works such as ‘The Austrian Painter’ and ‘Sebastian’, the narrative is buried beneath the layered brush strokes and reveals itself over time; upon first impression an abstract work, yet Muntean is as original in this guise as he is as a figurative painter.

Robert Muntean, Leone 2014

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