Grigorescu is, and has always been, an artist ‘of his time’: observing and subverting a reality where the individual is often under pressure. Yet he also transcends time: foreshadowing things to come, retracing forms and ideas to their mythical origins, collecting and connecting images that would otherwise be lost in the flow. Because of the prolonged after-effects of the Cold War, his importance has only been fully realised in the last fifteen years or so, and only gradually. Grigorescu’s work is now in the collections of museums such as Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou and MoMA. He has twice represented Romania at the Venice Biennale, in 1997 and in 2011, and he participated in documenta XII in 2007.
Ion Grigorescu (born in 1945 in Bucharest, where he still lives) is a crucial European artist of his generation. He is both extraordinarily versatile and singularly focused, both profoundly invested in tradition (classical and Byzantine) and experimental in the most open-ended way. Rooted in an archaic culture that has consistently uprooted itself for the sake of modernisation, Grigorescu has contributed a vast, diverse and influential oeuvre to recent Romanian art history, from his first student years until now. He has worked with painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, film, video, performance art and text, but also as a pedagogue and as a restorer and creator of wall paintings and other liturgical images for the Orthodox Church.