Romanian, 1977 –
Adrian Ghenie was born in Romania in 1977. He studied at the Arts and Crafts School in Baia Mare and Art and Design University of Cluj-Napoca. He co-founded a production and gallery space called Galeria Plan B in 2005 and expanded to Berlin in 2008.
Ghenie is best known for painting 20th century figures associated with genocide or mass suffering. He once explained, “I’m not a history painter,” he has said, “but I am fascinated by what happened in the 20th century and how it continues to shape today…for me the 20th century was a century of humiliation – and through my painting, I’m still trying to understand this.” Inspiration for his subjects comes from his own memories historical books, archives, documentaries and fictional film.
Adrian Ghenie uses a pallet knife and stencils to create his images and often drips or pours paint onto the canvas as well. This technique gives his subjects a gnawed, slashed or blurred appearance. His style has been compared to that Francis Bacon. One of his earliest bodies of works was a black and white series that explored the gap between fact and subjective memory. The market for his work rapidly increased after his 2011 exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi museum in Venice. He has had many solo museum exhibitions. In 2015, Adrian Ghenie represented Romania at the Venice Biennale.