“Following times of unease and crisis, the promised return to normalcy is a look back through rose-colored spectacles to a recent past. For the generations of young artists of today, the 1990s and 2000s are made up of nostalgic optimism and broken promises; the ruins of those years still haunt our contemporary society.
Since they grew up on simulated historical narratives as seen in video games, the fantasy timelines and digital landscapes form for them a collective memory filled with hyper-romanticized and misquoted pasts. Other places, like The Internet Archive’s library, house millions of websites, software, books, images, and more; these collections of digitized assets are our current digital histories, today’s ruins to explore.
The exhibition is a throwback to the era in which internet companies competed for turbo speeds, the economy went through turbo inflation and then emerged into turbo-capitalism, we imported fast cars in turbo chewing gum and turbo diesel, all these moments - lost in time, like tears in the rain.
Reviving a Romantic approach and fascination with decay, the artists turn ruins into privileged spaces, which simultaneously invoke reactions of nostalgia and sublimity. “
The artists
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Millions of Ruins forms part of an exhibitions program in which artists are being invited by the gallery to curate their own shows, to present the works in their specific context, the aim being also a rethinking of the entire artist/gallery/curator relationship. The program started by Quadro 21 Gallery is now continued under the umbrella of Quadro Gallery.
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Adrian Ganea (b. 1989) is drawn to the unreal. Intrigued by the magic of the intangible and the ethereal, he seeks the sorcery that incarnates the virtual into solid matter. He is fascinated by the ways the bodiless nonmaterial subject can materialize and transpire into the real world. In his work, he aims to enact the production of fiction, often reflecting on its increasing automation. His practice ranges from designing scenography and sculptures to programming CG simulations and creating videos. He graduated from UDK Berlin, receiving a master’s degree in Set Design with his project “Cyborgia” based on Paul B. Preciado’s essay: “How Pompeii invented Pornography, The “Gabinetto Segreto” and the Sexopolitical Foundations of the Modern European Metropolis”. He is also a founding member of the artists’ group virtuellestheater.
Thea Lazăr (b. 1993) lives and works between Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and the Internet.
Her specific interest is neither in the past nor in the future but in the way they affect our contemporary culture and how they come together to create a narrative in the present. Nature is, more often than not, an integral part of her work. Either by using live plants or by artificially or digitally recreating natural elements, she explores the human need to connect with our nature and environment. Since 2016 she has been a member of Aici Acolo, an artist-run project focusing on promoting young and emerging artists by organizing contemporary art exhibitions in unused or abandoned spaces in Cluj-Napoca.
Flaviu Rogojan (b. 1990) is a Cluj-Napoca artist and curator. Using references from technology, movies, video games, and internet culture, he deals with different aspects of the layered worlds we live in, navigating both online and offline spaces. Mixing obscure factoids and nerdy stories while drawing inspiration from conceptual art strategies, his projects weave together different fictions and narratives.
He is a founding member and part of the Aici Acolo curatorial collective, a pop-up gallery project in Romania, and is the co-curator of Off Season, a research residency in a small Albanian resort during the off-season, whose focus is on critical tourism and reimagining perspectives on the sea.