Victor Man: Vestigial specialization on its way out
02 June – 07 July 2007
The Johnen Galerie presents the young Romanian artist Victor Man (born 1974) for the first time in Berlin with a solo exhibit. Along with Dan Perjovschi and Mircea Cantor, Victor Man belongs to a group of young artists from Romania, which has already attracted considerable attention worldwide. Born in Cluj-Napoca and raised under Romania’s communist system, Victor Man witnessed the increasing decay and ultimate disintegration of this social order. Man´s work is affected by the tension between the local living conditions in his home town Cluj-Napoca and Western influences he has been gathering on his trips and studies for example in Israel.
Victor Man’s images resist complete decryption. They are determined instead through intuition, by the desire they provoke to understand Man’s suggestions. Man chooses the motifs at the center of his work on the basis of a particular significance. Man exposes the representative potential of his samples by liberating them from their context. His works convey the feeling of something that we should recognize, his installations seem like places where clues lie hidden. Man precisely instills his motifs with a more general relevance. Thus he connects the personal visual logic, the individual perceptions of the observer, and a collective memory of images.
At the Johnen Gallery, Man presents a new installation. A leaping stag is the motif of a glazed oven tile lodged in one of the gallery walls, another wall holds a small deer antler. Man shows the tile in reference to the demolished neighborhoods of his hometown, that have been torn down and replaced by blocks of modern buildings during the 80ies. In this way, the image connects social upheaval, personal memories and contemporary reflection, which appear as an isolated fragment in the gallery. The tile is warm and confers upon the oven and the demolished quarter a poignant presence, in contrast to the impersonal, coolish atmosphere of the gallery space. The unexpected interaction between the objects, the touch and warmness arises the memory. The warmth brings the past into direct contact with the body of the observer. It thus constitutes a link between past and present that is a real and corporeal experience.
A publication on the work of Victor Man with a text by Barry Schwabsky is currently available. He is once again a participant in the Prague Biennale, which is now taking place. From June 2007 on, he will exhibit his work in the Romanian Pavilion at the 52nd Biennale in Venice.