Ghenie typically plans his compositions using collaged, cutout imagery printed from online sources. More recently, he has employed a similar strategy in his drawing practice, creating multifaceted surfaces by erasing and reapplying charcoal to paper. Over two decades, Ghenie has established a fragmented pictorial language which straddles past and present, memory and myth, and abstraction and figuration.
Born in Baia Mare, Romania in 1977, Ghenie studied at the University of Art and Design in Cluj Napoca before graduating in 2001. After working as an artist in Vienna and Sicily, Ghenie returned to Cluj again in 2005, co-founding the exhibition and production space Galeria Plan B with artist and curator Mihai Pop. A significant venue for representing Romanian artists, the gallery housed Ghenie’s first solo exhibition in 2006.
In 2008, Galeria Plan B opened a second space in Berlin, an expansion which led Ghenie to divide his time between the two cities, before settling in Berlin in 2013. In 2015, he represented Romania at the 56th Venice Biennale with his exhibition Darwin’s Room.
From the start of his career, Ghenie’s paintings have explored the psyche of historical figures, particularly those perpetrators of violent tumult such as Hitler, Göring and Nicolae Ceausescu. These figures, their likenesses typically lifted from historical sources, are often staged in dark, dramatically lit spaces informed by Ghenie’s interest in cinema and his admiration for Francis Bacon. His Pie Fight series of paintings fuse the slapstick of 1920s silent comedies with shadowy moments from the past century. ‘What interests me is the texture of history,’ Ghenie has said.
Ghenie’s work has attracted exponential interest since his first appearance at auction in 2011, with his seminal painting Nickelodeon (2008) selling at Christie’s London for just over £7 million seven years later. His work continues to gain momentum on today’s market, with his recent works fetching record-breaking prices at auction.
Crawl under your desktop, out of line of windows to avoid heat flash Burns, falling plaster