Hypernova, is the title of the exhibition of new works by Romanian painter Marius Bercea at Blain/Southern on Hannover Square. I cannot start describing the boredom that I experienced seeing them from the streets for they are the sort of pastiche between Julie Mehretu and a more, how to put it, ‘socially aware’ Eastern European approach.
The paintings are supposed to be registers of the artist’s travels from his Transylvanian hometown of Cluj to California and the city of Los Angeles and, as the press release states, they are an attempt at illustrating ‘a sensory, psychological journey as much as a geographical one. Amalgamating an array of iconic imagery that exists across Romanian and American culture, Bercea has created a diverse series of vibrant landscapes that fluctuate between the utopian and dystopian, between flux and stasis, blurring the boundaries between reality and imagination’. Well, actually, it is a pictorial salad of viewing points, pictures planes, iconography and pointlessness.
This body of work represents an overlapping of two topographical icons: Transylvania and California, in which the city of Cluj and the surrounding Carpathian mountains converge upon the canvas with a range of new and alien Californian environments, from the solitude of the Mojave desert to the hills of Hollywood. The show is divided into two sections; the first room displays ‘grounded, tangible reflections of locations from Bercea’s journey, whilst the second, through vibrant explosions of colour, reveals a more fantastical approach that becomes increasingly spiritual and mystical’. Of course, the mystical is conveyed through a collage/montage of sorts as if different dimensiones could be depicted as overlapping. This does not make sense.
The yawning starts with Speed Sterility (2013) where the artist represents LA through a series of highways leading to Downtown LA. Groundbreaking! While the American West is represented through modernism, Romania will be represented through more pastoral kind of naturalism. Wow! The depth!
Bercea’s trip through the Californian desert is captured in the skies of both Suspended Animation (2013) and Roulette of the Night (2013). However, in both paintings the bottom section of the work represents scenes from Transylvania – the latter an industrial setting, the former a rustic green landscape, thus presenting an imperceptible fusion of two remote locations. There is where the metaphysical montage emerges only for taste to dissappear. This show is shit. Just a thought.