Expressions of "Resurrected Matter"

January 26, 2021 | Cosmina Marcela OLTEAN ArtPage

The Art Museum of Timișoara, Romania recently presented a contemporary art exhibition of painting and sculpture called "Resurrected Matter", highlighting the work of three artists – Tadeusz Kantor, Jaap Wagemaker and Shinkichi Tajiri, curated by Maria Rus Bojan, an international curator specialized in Eastern European contemporary art.

The exhibition proposes an unusual assosiation of works which emphasize a series of postwar expressions, overcoming the fundamental change and a renewal of artistic renaissance through liberation from the old conventions. "Resurrected Matter" explores the prominent tendencies that shaped the postwar artistic climate in Europe through the works of these thee artists joined in this project, artists of different backgrounds and creative expressions. (...) Wagemaker made collages from metal, wood, textile that recall bandaged wounds; Tajiri expresses the war experience into ritual aggressive sculptures; as for Kantor, the informel painting was connected to the idea of matter as a general existential and theatrical background, as a theater of life", points out the curator Maria Rus Bojan. 

Photos by Cosmina M. Oltean
Painting by T. Kantor, The Art Musem Timișoara

"While for Kantor and Wagemaker matter becomes painting, Tajiri refers to the spiritual and purified matter through sculpture. Even though formally the three artists have different approaches, it is important to consider their works from this period from an integrated prespective, taking into account that Kantor lived on the other side of Europe, beyond the Iron Curtain, isolated from the West. While Tajiri and Wagemaker have previously exhibited together, Kantor has never been assosiated with the other two. It is vital to highlight Kantor’s position as an Eastern European artist in full synchronicity with artists from the West, adapted to the localproblematic context of that period. Staging such a correspondence is important because in this manner we get the expression of the zeitgeist from an expanded perspective, which evolved from the same principle: the plasticity of matter that combines fragments of subjective and objective reality. Addressing a specific cycle of creation and destruction, potentiality and renewal, they all refer to matter as reality in its raw state", continued the curator in her statement. 

Sculpture by S. Tajiri and J. Wagemaker's "Rouge elabore" in the back

Shinkichi Tajiri complex and paradoxical background combined with the new cultural context provide the diversity of his artwork. "Principles of verticality and materiality are the core of his sculptures. His leitmotifs, the warrior and the knot, are universal themes that explore paradoxes of life" (curator Maria Rus Bojan).

Passing through different stylistic phases, Jaap Wagemaker "held a continuous interest in the natural, primitive and unworked objects of nature. He’s assemblages were of organic and non-organic nature, combining natural shapes and man-made components. Wagemaker’s objects spoke of universal mysteries and spiritual experiences". Tadeusz Kantor’s artworks are "a compilation of contradictions and paradoxes. His art showes strong affinities with trends as art Informel, Lyrical Abstractionism, Action painting and the concept of art as process. All three artists remain rooted in their own personal poetics" (curator Maria Rus Bojan).

The exhibition was organized by Triade Foundation Timișoara, produced by European ArtEast Foundation London, Triade Foundation Timișoara and The Art Museum of Timișoara, with works loaned from Artur Trawinski Collection (Poland) and Matthijs Erdman (The Netherlands).

Page from the exhibition catalogue:
1. T. Kantor - Peinture (oil, enamel and mixed-media collage on canvas)
2. S. Tajiri - White Night Watcher (aluminium sculpture)
3. J. Wagemaker - Rouge elabore (mixed media on canvas)

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