Simona Runcan ... more >> For our first participation at the Independent art fair in New York we are presenting on one hand an art historical rediscovery of Simona Runcan’s (b. 1942-d. 2007, Romania) practice, with an important selection of works on paper from late ‘70s, and on the other side a young artist not that well known on the American art scene, Ross Taylor (b. 1982, UK), with a new body of sculptures created especially for the occasion.
Simona Runcan was born in 1942 in Bucharest, where she graduated in 1966 from the Graphic Arts Department of the Fine Arts Institute. Her works of graphic art, objects, paintings and installations explore in a processual, serial and cyclic manner various themes and working means, from the ‘60s-‘80s experimental, conceptualist graphics to the more tradition-oriented painterly approach embraced by her after 1990. Although she has exhibited in national and international solo and group shows, her practice remained overall little known or acknowledged, at home and abroad. The echoes of her neo-avantgarde approach couldn’t reverberate in the state-controlled Communist artistic system nor in the chaotic artistic scene of the early ‘90s and 2000s in Romania. After she passed away somewhat prematurely in 2007, her works haven’t been exhibited until 2016, when her family together with a group of young art historians organised an extensive retrospective at the Mogoșoaia Cultural Centre near Bucharest, followed by a first solo show at Ivan Gallery in 2016, featuring her debut series of works, “The Presence of Objects”, drawings and etchings on paper from 1969-1972 and a second Ivan Gallery solo show in 2018 with paintings from the last part of career, “Silent Cohabitations”.
“The Principles of Equilibrium” is one of the most important and prominent series from her artistic practice, in which she continues previous directions - such as an artistic process based on seriality, minimalist compositions, repetition and variation around the same subject - while at the same breaking new ground by employing different means and materials in rendering a conceptualist motif. The selected pastel drawings revolve around a more focused and somewhat tactile approach to the rendering and use of the textile material. The texture of the fabric, the light, volumes and balance between textile objects built by the artist, can be traced to her artistic practice in series such as “The Principles of Equilibrium”, “Silent Cohabitations” or “Interiors”. Her enduring interest in this medium can be linked to her fashion design creations in the U.A.P. (Romanian Artists’ Union)’s “Fondul plastic” in the ‘70s and ‘80s, to her professional experience inside two Parisian fashion houses between 1981-1983 and to her didactic activity in the Fashion Department of the National University of Arts Bucharest from the ‘90s. These pastel drawings have been exhibited only once in 1979, in her first Romanian solo show „Legile echilibrului (The Principles of Equilibrium)” at Simeza Gallery, a state gallery coordinated by the U.A.P. (Romanian Artists’ Union).
Ross Taylor graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2008 and was the Abbey Scholar in Painting, The British School at Rome, 2015 - 2016. Recent exhibitions and performances include „The decorator always gets paid least“, solo show, Ivan Gallery, Bucharest, 2020; “The studio at 4am”, Hastings Contemporary, East Sussex, UK, 2020; “Feeling BLOB”, for ALW on RTM.fm, TACO, London, 2019; “Sightings”, Caraboo, Bristol, 2018; “Dialogues: New Painting from London”, GASK, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic, 2018; “Reading as Rhythm”, Tate Liverpool, UK, 2018; “A spicy migraine grease”, solo show, Larsen Warner, Stockholm, Sweden, 2018. Co-founder of Mrs Paterson’s Press and co-editor of Neru Phuyt with his brother Jordan, he has also written for publications such as Royale F!%ks and Control Magazine.
The selected sculptural installations have been created by the Ross Taylor especially for Independent New York 2020. They take further in tridimensionality the artist’s painterly endeavour, by creating these “studio characters” through the juxtaposition of elements: painted pieces of board, metal, painted casts with mixed media interventions. They are quite unique in the artist’s practice, since his previous sculptural interventions usually consisted of cut-outs, objects from the studio paired with sculpted elements, or painted or collaged wooden boards.„The sculptures I have created for Independent belong to a premembered family of my own. A psycho-organic Surrealist set of future ancestors, split and held within a scaffold for culture to bind. Laxly referring to a medieval sciapod in design, interconnected pieces of body build a 26th Century game of Exquisite corpse. Resembling Leonora Carrington’s carved bone tricycle (I am an Amateur of Velocipedes), these portraits are a painting practice manifested as an archive. A rendering of embedded information that once dormant has now awoken and become wholly conscious of its self genesis; part insecure shoe shop, part Runic menu, genes jump, eyes sprout and tentacles grope, forming a multi-determined turps induced mycelia matter where all boundaries between ideas, everyone and everything dissolve into the steamy green light of a fungal hyper-dawn. A place where practice and method become redundant, and in there place the monstrous and all that is unidentifiable seep.” (Ross Taylor)