©SABOT 2023


Being Radu Comşa

March 19th - April 14th, 2010

SABOT is pleased to present Being Radu Comşa, a display of recent surrogate-paintings & stolen attitudes by Romanian artist Radu Comşa.

Two possible attitudes:
To imagine, because imagining means foreseeing. What we imagine is now true, what we imagine will be realized. Science fiction is becoming, or has already become, realistic literature.
A second possible attitude: to consider reality as something beyond reality, to be aware of it not as surrealistic but as unfamiliar miraculous, a-real. Reality of the unreal, unreality of the real.
When I shall no longer exist, God will say: 'I do a lot of things that everybody understands.
There's nobody left not to understand them.'

[excerpt from Fragments of a Journal, by Eugène Ionesco]

(...) my question is “what does it mean to be Radu Comşa?” It is a bittersweet question. I have to admit that being Radu Comşa does not seem so easy to me. Even when it seems hardly worth the trouble, we need to create. But if we do possess a need to create, to integrate, we also have the desire to disintegrate, according to Ionesco. I can still remember the pressure around the show, the fights between the artist and my partner-in-crime, my associate in this big sabotage, and obviously our common desire to disintegrate. And suddenly the idea blew our three tired minds during one night spent at the gallery, drinking, looking at catalogues and of course fighting. We reached the climax: It’s not enough to integrate, you must also disintegrate.
Eventually disintegration became homeopathy. Similarity became copying, or even stealing. Competion became the way to make our way out of the impasse. Prague Biennale 3 – where Comşa participated with Ghenie and Savu, was the starting point for our diabolical plan, a story that would have made Kafka proud. Prague was the city where everything started, where we all met for the first time and start cultivating our friendship. Then there was Turin and Hydra, where the big sabotage was conceived and finally there was Prague Biennale 4, where the Cluj School found its ultimate celebration. A section of the show, “Staging the Grey,” presented the work of Marius Bercea, Andrei Câmpan, Radu Comşa, Oana Fărcaş, Adrian Ghenie, Cantemir Hauşi, Victor Răcătău, Şerban Savu, Mircea Suciu, Zsolt Bodoni, Péter Sudár and Alexander Tinei. Obviously, Victor Man was already too mighty to be part of this army, but still he remained the ghostly leader of the entire parade.
From some of the artists in this show (Bercea, Fărcaş, Ghenie, Răcătău, Savu, Suciu, but also Man) Radu Comşa decided to select a painting and started to make tondos featuring details of them, as if he was looking at them through the spyglass. The challenge became how to mimic the brushstroke of each one, the pictorial sensitivity. As in medicine, the virus became the cure. To ensure the success of the experiment, the artist decided to start behaving like Penelope with her suitors. During the day, he worked in the studio on “official works” which were supposed to be in the show and during the night he worked at home on this collection of pictures vulgaris.

A printed work, published as part of the exhibition, will be issued in an edition of 500. The publication will include texts by: Anton Chekhov/Radu Comşa, Eugène Ionesco, Marcel Janco, Michele Robecchi.