Adrian Ghenie

b. 1977, Romania

One of the most celebrated painters of his generation, Adrian Ghenie's dynamic work combines his personal memories with collective trauma, both past and present. He draws upon the profoundly personal and the art historical, as well as a sense of national identity, in works which bridge the abstract and figurative. His paintings engage not only with the history of painting, but with 'painting the texture of history' and often include the personalities whose actions have defined its course, whether heroes or villains. Investigating the possibilities of his medium is always central to Ghenie's practice and, by fusing the grand themes and narratives of historical painting with contemporary forms, his works become less about their specific subject-matter and more about the act of painting itself.

The artist's expressive handling of paint is heightened by cinematic lighting and compositions influenced by the films of Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch. He draws upon personal memories, art historical references, film stills and images culled from the internet, which are cut out and fused to form the fabric of his paintings. Ghenie's working process involves creating collaged compositions, which he then transfers to canvas with a palette knife to create gestural strokes and textures. The deconstructed images often contain references to his artistic predecessors, including Théodore Géricault, Henri Rousseau and, in his hybrid self-portraits, Vincent van Gogh.

Born in 1977 in Baia Mare, Romania, Ghenie lives and works in Berlin. He was selected to represent Romania at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 and, more recently, had solo exhibitions in 2019 at the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg and the Palazzo Cini, Venice. The artist has created several installations conceived as a 'room within a room' – The Dada Room (2010), now in the permanent collection of S.M.A.K. Ghent, and The Darwin Room (2013–14), in the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. His previous solo exhibitions include shows at The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2019); Palazzo Cini, Venice (2019); Villa Medici, Rome (2017); CAC Málaga, Spain (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2012); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (2010); and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest (2009). He has also participated in exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); Fondation Vincent van Gogh, Arles (2016); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2012); Palazzo Grassi (2011); and Tate Liverpool (2008), among others.


Adrian Ghenie: The Fear of NOW
Thaddaeus Ropac
12 Oct-22 Dec 2022
Drawn into the Present
Thaddaeus Ropac
14 Dec 2023-9 Feb 2024