serban savu

ȘERBAN SAVU
ECHINOCȚIU

Curated by Mihai Pop


22.05 – 22.07 2020

Preamble
An innocent parlor game, when the year turned around, showed me what I was meant to live this year: the difficult moment of the battle between day and night, the point suggesting the most intense fragility which the forces of nature were coping with. At my choice, the card tells that, on such a day, in China, people stay indoors, sheltered from the calendar’s demons, while the dual energies of nature at the time of the spring equinox are so powerful and frightening.

Penumbra. The painting.
There is a latent dimension in the painting of Șerban Savu, which is always there, yet it is never clarified, not even in the interviews provided by the artist over the years. And its emphasis implies a persevering view, issued not only by the search for the anecdotical detail, but also by the references of art history (briefly, the deactivation of knowledge regarding Savu’s work). This exercise demands the careful research of the canvas, over and over again, while focusing on the penumbra, on the „residual” surfaces of the image, which are always there as the necessary balance of the painted subject. Savu’s characters are also connected to the penumbra, they are also suspended, continuously, in a space expressing the potential of an action, but one which is dropping off, anticipating the release of „reality.” These characters are rather defined through the connection with the flow of nature (hibernation, expectation, germination), and less by their role in the „social scene” (and, by extension, in the economy of the work). Although the nature painted by Savu is mostly artificial, subordinated to architecture and adapted to characters, the relationship between man and nature represents the inward subject of his paintings, which is never told, written or described. This relationship of interdependence is the humanity latently suggested by his painting.

The painting. The exhibition.
What can the painting do in the best way? In our case, to preserve the parts’ fragile balance unbroken. And we shall find ourselves in it only so far as the ambiguity of this pressure is reflected, far from the falsehood of some simplifying certainty. That is why we keep looking at it, as it comprises the obscurity, which is so important, the compost, which nourishes us. The paintings carry their penumbra within themselves and, as a whole, the exhibition is also the carrier of such fertile uncertainty. Seen from this viewpoint, the exhibition becomes the antidote of a mercantile stimulus in the overproduction of actual art. One more reason to open it at the time of the spring equinox. Thus, the painting carrying the penumbra is provided with clarity, showing up in the most appropriate moment, due to our capacity to carefully concentrate on the painting’s dusky zone. In art, the transition from „winter” to „spring” is done through this hard and concentrated process of the view.

The exhibition. The shadow.
Until the spring equinox, when, on March 20th, the painting and its reception in the exhibition are going to get equal rights, the discoursive temptation is to equalise the construction of the exhibition with the way from the germinative darkness to the light itself. The point marking the perfect balance between day and night emphasises the exceptional state of the reflexive context created by the exhibition. This is possible as Șerban Savu naturally assumes to approach the metaphor in his creation. Thus, we found it natural to name and open the exhibition on the day of the equinox.

Addendum.
During the student years, every spring I used to travel from the gray and gloomy Cluj to the Student Fest from Timișoara, which was overflowing with vitality. Everything was related to the idea of commencement and renewal. However, the exhibition we used to always set up together, while sensing the overflowing spring, was invariably set up with and about the dark side of each of us. A condition which was both fragile and fertile, to preserve – no matter which the practice of everyone of us was – the melancholy and shadow.

Mihai Pop