Born in 1953 in Bucharest, Romania and since 1986 living and working in Paris, France, Christian Paraschiv is one of the leading artistic figures of the ‘80s generation in Romanian art. Accurate observer of political, economic, social developments and genuinely interested both in spirituality and pioneering scientific research, Paraschiv conveyed knowledge and intuition into a unique body of work, dissolving medium boundaries and linearity.
Considering only one of multiple threads in the prolific oeuvre of Christian Paraschiv – his in-depth exploration of the body – Convulsion Ltd. is the first chapter in a series of exhibitions that will lead to a necessary major retrospective of the Romanian artist.
While his practice has been previously presented through a recurring triangle of themes, such as Memory, Identity and Exile, Convulsion Ltd. is a study-exhibition and an attempt to re-read his works related to the body extended over several decades from three parallel, yet profoundly interconnected points of view: Pain, Humor and Self-Exploitation. Economics and the Politics of the Self but also, at large, Masochism and Other Pleasures, Branding, Irony alongside its more biting counterpart, Self-Irony, Laughter and related emotions, as well as Bio-Art experiments are all brought to the fore in the exhibition.
Text by Kilobase Bucharest & Sandra Demetrescu, curators
“My work and the life of my family have been marked by our exile from Romania to France in 1986. From the very beginning, there has been a search for identity, marked by my intial position towards a dictatorship that crushes as well as drives many people into ‘a state of waiting’, a state which had often been favored by the orthodox culture which has pushed towards the acceptance or the martyrology as my friend, Ion Grigorescu, often used in his discourse. I myself have experienced the motionless state of this ‘frozen time’ as an obligation for a permanent challenge. Therefore, the exile acts as a forge speeding up the flames of memory and identity: the rupture induced by the exile makes this research even more important and doubles the theme of our memory, of the reconstruction of a history.
My first painting exhibition in 1978 in Bucharest already focused on the body and death themes. In 1980, also in the same city, at Simeza Gallery, the fragmentation of a photographic image, parceling, sketches this purpose and this form which will be recurrent up to present. The themes of the sheep, the herd, the shepherd and the wolf represent an efficient and transversal metaphor, both religious, social and political.
This alternation of photographic and painted works, having been followed systematically until now within a mixed media of drawing, painting and engraving, of volume and action, of photography and fingerprinting or the culture of the skin … up to the sampling of my own skin, has been marked by my will to embrace all techniques, from the most traditional to the most innovative.
The ’Feminine – Masculine’ series are a manner both of questioning identity and at the same time of challenging social normalization and socialist orthodoxy of dictatorship along with the spiritual orthodox culture in its blockages and prohibitions.
My work has been built on this tripod of memory/identity/exile.”
– Christian Paraschiv
Partner of the exhibition