Teodora Axente is associated with the Cluj School, a group of Romanian artists making work after the 1989 Revolution, which ended Nicolae Ceausescu’s communist regime.
There is a dark sense of carousing in her work which examines the question of boredom in a secular world. Left to his or her own devices, Axente’s adult figures conjure up spirits or flights of whimsy in seemingly childlike ways, often seeking solace in shiny and tactile objects such as tinfoil, plastic wrap, or furs. However, translated to a non-secular world, each stroke Axente makes seem satirical or political, consciously examining religion or capitalism.
According to the artist, this dichotomy is the exact intention: “One of my concepts is to transform a real fact into a game . . . It is all about play from my perspective, the playfulness is more than a world of novelty in which everything happens and is reconstituted because of the freedom to act, to think.”
The stark sculptures of Al Farrow are jolting in their simplicity. His Reliquaries series of sculptures are houses of worship and reliquaries (a container for holy relics) built from weapons and ammunition. Stacks of bullets form walls, barrels form steeples, and muzzles form minarets. Farrow’s artistic commentary on violence in connection with religion is a powerful one. Using a provocative medium to create loaded imagery (seriously, pun not intended), Farrow’s work easily elicits strong responses from viewers.
The work of Gilbert & George is as intricate as it is bizarre. Never holding back their views on politics, religion, or homosexuality, this work always manages to offend, or at least shock, someone.
Gilbert and George beautifully contradict their visual and conceptual visions. This combination of a style that mimics stain-glass windows found in churches collides with negative connotations about religion and conformity to create an image that gets you thinking.