Artist: George Semeniuc
Exhibition title: Cluj after-school #3
Venue: SABOT, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Date: July 15 – August 13, 2019
Photography: YAP Studio / all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and SABOT, Cluj-Napoca
The artist-at-work, some potential-art-works, some not-yet-art-works, some delightful failures, left-overs, plenty of materials, tools, ephemera… The process, not yet the artist, not yet the body of work, no editing, no filter, no value judgement whatsoever. Treat it as a performative act or a bet that this wild horse would eventually win the race.
SABOT: George, what if we were to set up a non-exhibiton? An almost wrong one? An exhibition that would not be about how I see you, neither about what you think of yourself, but about who you really are right now. All we need to do is to relocate your studio in the gallery and to let you work there for a month. No editorial cuts, no selection of your best works… nothing in that vein. You would be free to do as you like and just be who you are.
GEORGE SEMENIUC: Ok. Then we should formulate a theorem based on the cartesian sum of my own nature. The more “wrong” the exhibition, the closer to the truth the message about myself.
S: First of all we need to clarify what it is to demonstrate with your theorem. Is there such a thing as the true artist? Is the artist’s work truthful? You figure it out! Or maybe it is not about demonstrations of any theorems at all. I am simply trying to find you, the artist, but to no avail.
G.S: Why is it necessary to think of demonstrations, truth, and the multiple avatars of the artist, I wonder. We should not look for the series of relevant questions entailed by such an approach. But I do believe that questions are much more important than answers. By definition, answers are dangerous. For me, the true nature of an artist is what it is. This idea goes a long way back, from Tarkovsky to Thierry de Duve. And the truth is all around us. The difficult part is to test it by means of a boring classification process. Any vibration, tension or hat trick in the field of visual arts may be true. To bring this further, I have to confess that I really like lies. They are basically truths, just a little bit more colorful and much more interesting. I adore them.
S: Well, keep on lying to me, then! However, I am curious about the way an artist glosses over a lie and turns it into accepted truth. How come a spray-painted truth is so interesting to you?
G.S: I believe that the lie, like the truth, is pretty dry in essence… Those droplets from Lorenzetti’s paintings are dry, depleted of any fluid. Their substance has been eroded by countless metaphors and visual arts tricks. Yet they all crack under the weight of their own solid substance, of their ambiguities, of their angles, and edges, and places of hiding.
Truth may be coloured in a sensual manner. You put in some ingredients to add taste and in the end the flavour is basically a lie. Or like plating. This is what makes it all “interesting”: the carnival of ornament following your own recipe… And it happens sometimes that truth comes out, most of the time looking like scrap.
S: Is it correct to say that according to you the truth remains in the studio, that it never comes out unless it is tempered with? And what about “beauty” – is it truth?
G.S: That’s right! Truth resides in the studio, rarely in the galleries, sometimes on Instagram. “Beauty” is something already embalmed. It is an attribute like any other… It is that sequence of truth that always gets five stars out of five…
S: From Monday, we will be looking for you in the studio.
[translation from Romanian by Tudor Vlădescu]
George Semeniuc was born in 1994 in Baia-Mare, Romania. He studied painting at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, where he continues to live and work. “Cluj after-school #3” is his first gallery show.