MONA ARDELEANU | SOFT CRUSH

4 JULY – 2 AUGUST 2020
ST. AGNES | CHAPEL

Patterned fabrics, lace, tassels, or furs from the elements from which Mona Ar- deleanu creates mysterious objects. Her works attract the visitor’s eye, the soft fabric evokes warmth, and traditional patterns recall memories of the familiar. “Soft Crush” is, on the one hand, the description of a spontaneous attraction and at the same time an expression of the soft materiality of the depicted objects. For the artist, fabrics carry emotions, they create an identity as well as uniformity. At the same time, they form the boundary between the inside and the outside, offering protection from the cold or from glances. The patterns and shapes shown create associations with canopies, lanterns, and lace doilies. Ardeleanau draws non-hierarchically from European and Asian traditions. Design and handicrafts are important sources of inspiration for her. This is evident in the artful draping, interweaving, and intertwining and in the references to handicraft aids such as embroidery or weaving frames.

The works oscillate between figurative and abstract; they are indefinable hybrids that only emerge on the canvas as surreal fantasy objects. The spontaneity of the creation contrasts with the fine painting. The works are precisely composed and executed with an almost old masterly precision. Ardeleanu works on the flat surface of a canvas, but the drapes of her fabrics create the illusion of a three-dimensional space. The suggestion of silhouettes, hair, and braids gives the impression of physicality, Ardeleanu herself calls her objects “bodies”. They usually hover in monochrome picture spaces, which further emphasizes their fantastic character and sculptural quality. However, Ardeleanu is increasingly softening this strict pattern. In Fade 2020 / V, she surrounds the tunic-like object with a ring of light, as if the fabric itself was shining from the inside.

On closer inspection, the ostensible calm and harmony of the compositions are disturbed by distortions and breaks in the surfaces. Looking at them is a game with perception. Ardeleanus structures only exist on the canvas and therefore do not have to take physical laws or historical accuracy into account. The titles are unique creations that descriptively expand the work on a linguistic level. Fade 2020 / IV almost appears as a head with a kind of Flanders hood, but the material is nevertheless taken from the Japanese tradition. In Pliss 2020 / II she works out a silhouette like in a classic shadow cut; the pattern is reminiscent of Biedermeier ornaments. It is only when you take a closer look that one can see that the children are wearing modern clothes. Works like Gehänge II or Schnürungen 2020 / I evade any formal identification and only serve their own end as objects of pure illusion.

© Images Roman März

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