Silaghi’s paintings are intuitive and gestural with a narrative of ruin – of entropy, of decay, of decomposition. Within his grey abstractions one can glimpse broken conveyor belts, washing machines, crumbling cyclotrons, and sections of airplanes. The near-emblematic Silaghi grey serves as a constant reminder of the previously heavily industrialized economy in Silaghi’s home country – Romania – but it also implies a transformative process as it is mixed from black and white. Silaghi’s researched images of his country’s past capture only hints of the repression commonplace under Ceausescu. His paintings show the hulking ghosts of Communism. Yet his works seem to be hopeful, they suggest that his society is at the edge of something that will be very different, but what that will be is uncertain.
Silaghi attended Cluj Napoca University of Art and Design in Transylvania, Romania. The school has garnered tremendous recognition in recent years due to the success of graduates such as Adrian Ghenie, Serban Savu, and Marius Bercea. A decade and a half younger, Silaghi has no memory of life during Communist rule referenced in the pensive figurative paintings of the older generation. Silaghi has emblazoned his images of industry with bold chromatic gestures, creating fluid abstract patterns more aligned with Western art than with Eastern Europe.
MARC STRAUS exhibited Leonardo Silaghi’s work in the gallery’s inaugural exhibition in 2011. The gallery has hosted Mr. Silaghi in New York for several months leading up to this second solo exhibition. Living and working in New York City has impacted his paintings in exciting ways; the paintings produced here are richer, looser and even more confident. Silaghi was born in 1987 Satu Mare, Romania and currently lives and works in Cluj, Romania. Following a residency in Peekskill, NY in 2010 he had a one-person exhibit at The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art and was then included in AFTER THE FALL, a survey of 18 young Eastern European artists, at the same institution, which traveled to the Knoxville Museum of Art, TN. In 2013 he had a solo exhibition at Galerie Kornfeld in Berlin. In a Sunday review in The New York Times, 11/28/10, Susan Hodera wrote, “Mr. Silaghi has endowed his machines with personality… He’s the next generation (of Cluj artists).”