STAGES Winter Exhibition 2021
Winter Exhibition 2021
Stages is a solo exhibition by Bogdan Mihai Radu. The exhibition reflects different stages in the artist’s life, moments revisited since the beginning of the pandemic, while working in his studio in Kensington. It brings together abstract landscapes and states of mind inspired by his childhood under the oppressive communist regime in Romania, using rusty and corrosive reds, alluding to the Iron Curtain, but also images of corn fields, bathed in darkness, thinking of the shadow in which Romania had been for almost 50 years. There is no coincidence in the fact the Bogdan is inspired by the powerful art of the plastic artist Anselm Kiefer, artist that focused on representing through his art, the atrocities of WWII and the Holocaust. Red is also the colour that Bogdan associates with a fear of losing the courage of being who one is, expressing freely and openly in the society, associating this further with the voice that citizens of Romania did not have under the communist regime. Field and Factories, Searching for Monet II, Corn Field Before Harvest, and Rust, look at how a Romanian experienced life back then.
Going forward to his life in London, Bogdan also painted landscapes following a trip to Brighton, before the pandemic started. The scenery, and knowing JMW Turner, one of his favourite British painters, had lived and worked there for some time in the mid 19th century, inspired him to create a few abstract marine landscapes, representing a search for that perfect storm, focusing on its different stages and elements, as Whirlwinds, Rain, Everything Wet, Bright Reflections, Restless Sea.
Flowers have been a central and recurring symbol throughout his career, being informed by his formation in horticulture and forestry, studies that his family advised him to do, although his first choice had always been art. For Bogdan, flowers represent the fragility of life, therefore, the pandemic with all its pain and sorrow, cannot otherwise be represented other than through the fragility of the human life, through flowers fading. The painting Yellow Flowers shortlisted in 2021 for the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition represents this state of mind in the decaying stage of flowers. Yellow Flowers, Flowers Left Behind, The Struggle.
The Struggle (2021)
Oil on canvas