Fluffy Memories that Hurt

Pink anatomies sprawled over luxurious decors that are intensely, psychedelically colored, have become emblematic elements for Suzana Dan’s paintings and for the painting transgression of the 2000’s. Suzana Dan is part of the same generation as Dumitru Gorzo, Alexandru Rădvan, Florin Ciulache and others, but she manifests a tireless thirst for art and has an incredible renewable energy, allowing her to be present in galleries as either the artist or behind a lot of interesting projects as manager or curator.

Her most recent exhibition, Playground, opened at Aiurart Contemporary Art Space and is curated by Erwin Kessler. It spreads in the entire space of the gallery and it is made up of two installations that were conceived as paintings but extend in the space, along with fifteen paintings on canvas or wood.

The Romanian art scene is dominated by painting, but the works of Suzana Dan laughs in the face of the conventional and boring themes and colors of others. Her work is not a recipe for success, does not belong in a fair or a showroom, but it is however in the here and now, self-sufficient and without any help, it stands out and screams loud, without faking it.

The circle could not be complete without giving the works provocative, sarcastic names that do not lack her very characteristic dark humor, such as I think flowers should be forbidden to children or When in doubt, freak them out. What’s fresh about this exhibition is that it contains works that are typical for Suzana Dan, author of “bashed in the wall” strongly colored pieces, as Erwin Kessler writes, but it also presents smaller, more somber, melancholic, monochrome works.

Here we have an interesting route – the yard has been invaded by an army of black rabbits with bulging red eyes. The ground floor is short-circuited with strong paintings that are either blood-sexual or morbid-melancholic. The first floor is nostalgic and discreet, populated by black and white fragmented images that appear to be ambiguous dreams, and the attic is home to a spectacular installation, a cube draped in golden leaf that is filled with breasts, ambiguously called How deep is your love?

Suzana Dan’s imagery is composed of anatomical fragments overlapping idyllic, dreamy, brightly colored decors with clouds, plants and landforms or animals and people, a kind of perverse scenery juxtaposing some strange and foreign set. Lately, the forms have become more distortional, a little darker, but still pulsing of life. You can see their soul better than their shape. This is the case of the piece I won’t mind if I disappear, in which we find multiple meanings and ways to understand a plenary subject – the heart/soul – represented as a solar medallion that mystically appeared in a mysterious forest.

In fact, almost all scenes resemble medallions, they are as memories that belong to characters that were dreamed up, made up or disappeared. These apparently harmless images trigger a bitter-sweet sensation and an anxiety that stays with you.

Good paintings, along with good fiction literature have at least one thing in common – they make you remember things about you that were previously forgotten. Suddenly, all colors have names, all flowers have a smell and all the murders have witnesses.


Playground by Suzana Dan, curated by Erwin Kessler, is at Aiurart in Bucharest until January 24, 2015.


Simona Vilău

Simona Vilău (b. 1983) is an artist and curator based in Bucharest. In 2011, she was the curator of LC Foundation Contemporary Art Centre in Bucharest and started as a member of Spațiul Platforma...

Comments are closed here.