Victor Man: Attebasile

26 Nov 2008 – 25 Jan 2009

Regular opening hours

11:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 17:00


Birmingham, United Kingdom


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Ikon presents the first UK museum exhibition, the largest to date, of acclaimed Romanian artist Victor Man. Born in Transylvania, Man's work brings together disparate references to his birthplace with its ‘folk' traditional and myths, as well as allusions to more recent Eastern European history. This exhibition, organised in collaboration with the Centre international d'art et du paysage de l' à ®le de Vassivière, comprises new painting and sculpture. Richly evocative, dark in both palette and imagery, to suggest a voyeuristic gaze, Man's works signify an alternative world beyond familiar experience. This is enhanced by the artist's technique of using a ‘black' mirror, a device which distances the act of visualisation for both himself and us. Images of women, wolves and gloves recur across several pieces, sometimes eroticised; notions of the unconscious, a surreal nether-world where new codes exist are conveyed. Those with teeth and those without (2008) is a large sheet of glass propped against the wall with felt rolls, its silkscreened and painted surface black, refecting light that reveals a phantom figure. Like other works in this exhibition it alludes to events furtively glimpsed, giving rise to a mood of disquiet. Motifs repeatedly hint at acts of subversion, fictions half-uttered as if time had momentarily stopped, the present dissolving. Here, Man's work considers notions of desire and its various manifestations along with fragmentation — geographical and ideological — coming together to create new narratives. Images and objects used by the artist are captured and recycled from a wide range of sources, found near his studio and home, then juxtaposed in a representation of his changing world and the Romania of previous generations. The transformation occurring within Eastern Europe, refected in the re-contextualised diversity of Man's work, is obliquely examined, ensuring that a history is not lost but reconstituted with new meaning.


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