Irina Ojovan


15 11 2018 – 10 01 2019

Irina Ojovan’s works of art can be understood as concrete thoughts. She starts with her own memories and visual impressions and translates them into their purest form onto canvas or as sculpture. No brushstroke remains visible, so that the process of painting only becomes recognizable at a second glance, and the paint itself becomes a subject of the painting.


Since 2016, Irina Ojovan’s art has been showing an increasingly stronger tendency towards a reduced palette of predominantly dark tones. The fact that black, in particular, has become increasingly important is clearly evident in the solo exhibition”blackitout!”. In the foreground here are works in oil on canvas, which were created expressly for this solo presentation. The piece “Sarmizegetusa N 33” (2018, oil on canvas, 200 x 170) featured at her degree show already indicates her interest in a reduced language of color and thus forms the starting point of this solo exhibition.


Ojovan’s artwork begins with a clear strategy. Detailed planning, in which no single movement of the brush is left to chance, precedes each piece. Step by step, individual layers of paint are applied to the medium surface, which has been precisely composed beforehand. There are always phases in which the artist pauses in order to maintain the balance between adding and taking away. The spectrum of her application of paint ranges from opaque layers to transparent color surfaces that blend individual fields into each other, creating fine transitions. The application of glossy paint necessitates a change of angle, as its effect can only completely form in backlighting. This interplay of subdued and transparent nuances of color preserves areas of light and shade, even in deep black compositions.


The artist finds inspiration for her geometric abstractions by attentively observing her environment. Geometric wall designs found in sacred buildings, such as those in the San Lorenzo Cathedral in Genoa, or the bases of columns found at the Romanian excavation site “Sarmizegetusa”, may serve as models for some of her compositions. By translating these impressions into an independent, minimalist pictorial structure, they become memories of the painting process itself.


Irina Ojovan’s art is not only about the visible; it is also about emptiness – about absence. In the presentation of her works, the artist also relies on clarity and symmetry. The form and color scheme of her works of art are carried over into their installation in the Rettberg Gallery, so that the individual gallery rooms share a resonant connection with each other. Through the contrast between Ojovan’s minimalist art and the gallery’s historical architectural spaces, the artist succeeds in creating an overall concept that coordinates the individual spaces with each other without sacrificing the independence of the artworks.


Born in Moldavia, the artist first studied at the art academies in Rome and Turin before continuing her education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich in 2012. She studied with Günther Förg, Matthias Dornfeld and finally completing her studies with Gregor Hildebrandt and graduating in February 2018. Since then, Ojovan has participated in several international group exhibitions and trade fairs, and she has received the Winsor & Newton Residency Fellowship at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, which she will begin in April of 2019.