Simon Cantemir Hausì @ Barbara Thumm, Berlin

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

Simon Cantemir Hausì @ Barbara Thumm, Berlin

Postby CAP » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:37 am

Simon is a Romanian painter who looks OK without being outstanding or dropdead stunning. I happened to read a review of his show this year @ Barbara Thumm Galerie in Berlin, in Art Forum. either the April or May edition.

The Barbara Thumm Gallery is a sort of mid-weight number - a lot of female artists, it seems - most notably in this context, also shows the Swiss French painter Valerie Favre, who I think I've also posted about here on WWR. I like. Actually, turns out I haven't written about her! he says after quickly checking. So I must have dreamt it. Must get round to it! Anyway, she and Hausì actually have a bit in common, stylistically. (BTW there is a Romanian (grave?) accent on that i on the end of his surname, I've carefully copy/pasted, you'll be gratified to learn). Even if the fonts here are too small to properly register it. If there was a forum here for virtual curating, I'd link up a few of their examples to prove the point.

His drawings are meh but his paint handling is where the action is. Facture is the name of the game. He builds this up with different textured grounds to highlight the issue. In some ways he's like a gustier Marlene Dumas - the curvy drawing and blurred working of details. Simon also has - or had - a blog. The posts date from 2009-10, I guess before he scored a Berlin gallery. What I like about his blog and the Thumm website is the respectable size of the JPGs on enlargement (clicked thumbnails). As in Eyes on The Ball, 2010, 210 X 100cm, oil on cavas from his blog. This one from the Thumm site.

You're my kind of dealer Babs! My kinda painter, Simon!

It's hard to say exactly what his themes are, the PR goes on about nature but that's pretty vague really. When do we ever get away from nature? Sometimes the work is vaguely political as in accused figures, sometimes there's a romantic, traditional tip as in The Hunter (or whatever it's called), sometimes its more mythic, iconic stuff like the MGM lion. But I don't mind that. Basically he's just ranging round the motif. He can build up backgrounds or settings where he wants, or strip them down to just a ground for a more symbolic charge.

The stuff will never make it to a Documenta or Biennale, I suppose, but there is a kind of liveliness there that a curator with an eye and a brain (not to mention heart) ought to pick up on. The dutch critic in Art Forum is certainly on to it, even if he can't quite articulate it. Is it too trad, too conservative? Since everyone is convinced we live in a post-historical or post-art world, I don't see how this quibble can really apply. :P
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