All three artists have developed their artistic career in Cluj, the second biggest city in Romania after Bucharest, a place with a strong cultural identity and diverse artistic tradition. Cluj has become one of the emerging Eastern European centres in contemporary art in the post-communist era. Its origins were concentrated around an art community in a former paint brush factory, which has generated a string of internationally acclaimed artists such as Ciprian Mureşan, Victor Man, Marius Bercea, Mircea Suciu and in particular Adrian Ghenie, all of them accomplished painters.
Beudean, Iacob and Maciuca have studied at the University of Art and Design in Cluj, where astonishingly all artists that have developed international reputation started their careers. Two of the featured artists, Iacob and Maciuca, are mostly painters, while Beudean concentrates his artistic activity on drawing with the occasional excursion into performance and video.
What combines the three artists is a sense of ambivalence that runs through their oeuvre. Suspended between reality and mystery, between violence and melancholy, the works comprise aspects of escapism and deterioration, while expressing a desire for renewal in different ways. As embodied in the title of Dan Macula’s title-giving painting Dark Smoke, there are signs of a smoldering unease that might turn into a threatening fire, while the smoke might also indicate an upheaval, a chance for change and renovation.