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Adrian Ghenie

Haunch of Venison

In “Berlin Chronicle” (1932), Walter Benjamin equates the act of remembering with archaeology: Both involve digging to recover a buried past. The motifs favored by Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie are almost without exception oppressively hermetic interior spaces, subterranean realms whose architecture and contents are characterized by anachronism. His paintings allow us glimpses into the depths of evocative sites in which nebulous images from Eastern European history grip the viewer with uncanny force. The sharp chiaroscuro and a predilection for lighting effects reminiscent of film noir give many of these images a dramatic quality and transport the gaze into impenetrable zones of shadow. A recent cycle of pictures, “Shadow of a Daydream,” painted during a stay in Berlin, shows Ghenie working with large-format images and increasingly integrating human figures into his spatial topographies.

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