26 NOVEMBER 2021 – 22 JANUARY 2022

KÖNIG LONDON is pleased to present Mona Ardeleanu’s first exhibition in the United Kingdom, THE PADDING. Her strong yet sensitive paintings take inspiration from her surroundings and are guided by intuition. It has been said that Ardeleanu “moves through the world when she paints”. For this exhibition, Ardeleanu has created a new body of work that derives imagery from various forms of padding, armour, casts and crutches that are used to protect, support and heal the human body. 

As Larissa Kikol has said of her work, “... Ardeleanu’s truth is, therefore, not found in archives, but on the canvas. It does not need an explanatory guide in front of the painting; it only requires the individual, personal perception of forms, colours, and  folds, which can be willingly personified or applied to one’s own body. It could also be fish embryos, wrapped organs like human hearts, cages of clothes, or science fiction of historical fashion. The monochrome back-grounds hold back, sometimes giving off a little light, but have the effect of being matter-of-fact and museological.”

Building images in layers, Ardeleanu takes a sculptural approach to painting, using the visual vocabulary of the every day to produce hyper-real objects with a mysterious, intangible quality. Her detailed renderings seem to be collaged bits of  historical vessels and utensils, presented on a stark background like an archeological specimen never seen before.

The paintings in THE PADDING are steeped with a feeling of safety and protection. The three large canvases, DRALL 2021/I-III reference various shaped car airbags:  the driver’s, the passenger’s and the folded bag hidden within the steering wheel. Ardeleanu consider the largest work, BELLY 2021/I, a ghostly protector of the other paintings – a spiritual guardian made of intricately embroidered car seat belts. Upon close examination a face, ears and a belly emerge through the woven belts, interlaced to create a bodily form. 

The works in THE PADDING were inspired by a severe snowboarding accident Ardeleanu had in her teens. They hold references to personal experiences and shared histories: the primal needs of safety and protection and the existential  awareness we carry of the fragility of our human bodies.