It’s hard to imagine how a ten-year-old would view such dramatic events as the disintegration of the USSR and the 1989 Romanian Revolution, but these memories form much of the subject matter explored by Romanian artist Marius Bercea in his forthcoming show Remains of Tomorrow.
Using the canvas to blend concepts of memory, recollection and reality, Bercea, who grew up in the Transylvanian city of Cluj, produces work heavily informed by his take on his childhood’s post-communist, early-capitalist Romania.
Taking his cues from personal artefacts such as newspaper cuttings and family photographs, the show presents a series of eerie, surreal psychogeographical images. Green scenery is juxtaposed with austere Modernist architecture; while gazebos share space with such disparate objects as prams, blow-up fetish dolls and animal heads.
An unnerving sense of detritus and decay underpins Bercea’s work, such as in 2011 work Truths with Multiple Masks, with a swirling tangle of buckling roads, trees and buildings on the brink of collapse.
The architectural remnants of former communist buildings inform much of the work, though broader themes are explored in The Hierarchy of Democracy 2011. This work underscores Bercea’s interest in sixteenth and seventeenth century Dutch painting. It explicitly references Bruegel’s 1566 painting The Sermon of St John the Baptist, painting broken images to explore the notions of a fractured society.
Marius Bercea: Remains of Tomorrow runs from 8 September – 1 October at Blain Southern, 21 Dering Street, W1S