Magda Cârneci, 2023

Fikl's art appears to me as a spectacular and quite unique "cocktail", as a summation of seemingly incongruous and yet mutually exhilarating pictorial tropes.   read more
Fikl's art appears to me as a spectacular and quite unique "cocktail", as a summation of seemingly incongruous and yet mutually exhilarating pictorial tropes.  

Elements of baroque and illusionist realism, of traditionalism and surrealism, refined chromaticism and wild gestualist touches, expressionism galore and small doses of kitsch – all these coalesce into large, exotic and provocative compositions, in which elements from the history of European art (both classic and modern) are articulated with echoes from famous films, or nods to certain contemporary Romanian painters and many other references, in a manner that is both glamour and opulent, sensual and sophisticated.

These freely assimilated elements and influences compete to form a strong visual spectacle, dominated by red and black, in which the theatrical exists alongside a form of the scared, the feral interlocks with the elevated, and the carnal seems to overwhelm the spiritual. And yet, miraculously, all the ingredients balance out in a sort of ambiguous harmony, charged with a certain mystery in which the chromatic and gestural violence, much like the ideational violence behind them, do not convey the thought of an "end of history" or indeed of the world, as one might think, but bring in an overflow of vitality, and a kind of acceptance and integration of the chaos within ourselves through this artistic effect, through "aesthetic grace", which purifies and transcends all ambiguities, all opposites.

Gabriela Massaci, 2021

I enjoy the subtle sabotage which Gheorhe Fikl applies to his public success. Even though he has created and perfected, since the mid-2000s, a theatrically-powerful visual brand, well-embedded in the attention of art collectors, and which he could deliver in various mannerist re-iterations, the artist chooses, more than once, to take risks. The latest series, Neon Heart, is and is not Fikl as we know him - and as such I find its value particularly significant in the overall context of his work. read more
I enjoy the subtle sabotage which Gheorhe Fikl applies to his public success. Even though he has created and perfected, since the mid-2000s, a theatrically-powerful visual brand, well-embedded in the attention of art collectors, and which he could deliver in various mannerist re-iterations, the artist chooses, more than once, to take risks. The latest series, Neon Heart, is and is not Fikl as we know him - and as such I find its value particularly significant in the overall context of his work.

Engrossed in his usual explorations of the transient nature of the human condition, Fikl continues to investigate solitude and displacement, the instability of living at the ever-shifting intersection of historical and personal time. This time round however, the glistening baroque perfection of the line is absent.

Created in the isolation of the village of Socolari, during the global lockdown, the compositions of the Neon Heart series feature the 'good room' of Transylvanian peasant house. This is a part of the house where, as a rule, one seldom enters, it is traditionally reserved for guests, on special occasions; it survives, with kitsch-heavy decoration, as an immovable time capsule, which Fikl, one assumes, may want to document and preserve. What he does for now though is to inject a dramatic moment in these static spaces, with an undercurrent of terror reminiscent of a Daniel Richter mood. The 'good room' is invaded by the incongruous danger embodied by the animal: the absurdity of presence, the dissolve of memory, or even death.

The interiors are feverishly painted in minute detail, in a kind of horror vacui frenzy - continuing the stylistic experiments he embarked upon back in 2017, with the Pink Field piece, from The End of History series: at the time, Fikl gave the first clear sign that he is able to tune-out the mermaid song of his immediate commercial success. The canvases show a chromatic trepidation foreign to Fikl's classic, much sought-after repertoire: the pinks and purples and fluorescent green blades seem to unfold from the neon lights of a Refn film, from a game arcade-room where no one seems to win anymore, but which still exudes vigor to those who will not give up. Neon Heart brings together again the iconic animals which define Fikl's imagery - the peacock, the deer, and the sheep; but we also have the unfamiliar - famished wolves and fast, lean cheetahs ready to pounce. These are the brave new carnivores which up the game. A new world is out there for us, brightly-lit, and with a racing heart.

Ileana Pintilie, 2019

Gheorghe Fikl is part of a new generation of Romanian artists who have passionately dedicated themselves to neo-figurativism over the last decade. Taking an interest in themes of the late Baroque, from which he retains the peculiarity of the subjects as well as the dramatism of the chiaroscuro or the chromatic sensuality, the artist tends to create a personal universe out of various images, merged in a hybrid way. read more
Gheorghe Fikl is part of a new generation of Romanian artists who have passionately dedicated themselves to neo-figurativism over the last decade. Taking an interest in themes of the late Baroque, from which he retains the peculiarity of the subjects as well as the dramatism of the chiaroscuro or the chromatic sensuality, the artist tends to create a personal universe out of various images, merged in a hybrid way.

Gheorghe Fikl is part of a new generation of Romanian artists who have passionately dedicated themselves to neo-figurativism over the last decade. Taking an interest in themes of the late Baroque, from which he retains the peculiarity of the subjects as well as the dramatism of the chiaroscuro or the chromatic sensuality, the artist tends to create a personal universe out of various images, merged in a hybrid way. This rhetoric he uses serves him for his grand, dramatic or bizarre compositions and convincingly transforms the savant trompe-l-o’eils that he applies to his paintings into changes of perspective and perception.
For Fikl, matter seems to generate the elaborately conceived forms from which his characters are brought to life - in this case only animals, drawn from an unctuous substance. The paintings appear as sequences that transmit the irreality of the artist’s vision, stemming from the imagination and descending upon the public. For this very reason, his great compositions unreel repeatedly in the same places, as if the vision, once present, would cut off and start over perpetually.

Eclectic and prolix, these compositions mix elements into an unusual mélange that challenges the viewer to make an effort of perception and interpretation of the image. The associations of monumental architectures – abandoned palaces, ancient baroque church interiors, shining dimly in chromatically vibrant penumbra – make up an unsettling whole through their oddness next to modest rural homes, from which only the human absence is discernible.

The presence of sheep in a monumental decor, storming into the space absurdly, causes unease and fear, reminding of the eschatological symbols. The harmony of the ensemble is brusquely interrupted by their gregarious behaviour, well-studied and rendered in these works, as well as through their dismal presence in a palace ballroom or inside a church, spaces where their existence is inapproapriate but also provoking. This allusion to an imminent apocalypse reveals the idea of death, deeply embedded in our civilisation. The End of Time is equated with the End of the World, which sends us to an old cultural construct revolving around this disappearance; or perhaps just a new Universal Chaos...
Photography, as a source of inspiration for painting, gives the image a hyperrealistic aspect, saturated by the abundance of veridical details. At the same time, its use in compositions creates the premises of the installation of a magical realism, anchored in surrealism. The vague symbolism of the subjects and “quotes”, the eclecticism of the images that recompose in perpetually renewed versions of figurative representation, the technique of using photography as a primary source of representation, all these are attributes of the postmodernism that defines Fikl’s art.

Aurelia Mocanu, 2017

Why is it that I prefer the "sacra sangue" and the richly painted Buñuelian sheep in the foreground, to the Nazi coats and the sickly-green twilight wolves, painted in bold strokes and lurking in the background... Fikl or Ghenie? read more
Why is it that I prefer the "sacra sangue" and the richly painted Buñuelian sheep in the foreground, to the Nazi coats and the sickly-green twilight wolves, painted in bold strokes and lurking in the background... Fikl or Ghenie?

Why is it that I prefer the "sacra sangue" and the richly painted Buñuelian sheep in the foreground, to the Nazi coats and the sickly-green twilight wolves, painted in bold strokes and lurking in the background... Fikl or Ghenie? The organ of Historia Magna rendered in frenzied brushwork: Red or Black? Viscontian, a young pope to a fluid expressionism, of harmonious stage decorum, Gheorghe Fikl continues to convince me for almost two decades. Sans the brand/marketing/astronomical quota indicators. He lives out the narrative of his painting then and there, here and now: A Caesaro-royal Banat, a Timişoara of baroque altars and, more recently, a desolate hilltop village. Fikl's Traumland has the melancholy of a blood-drenched animist decadence - very much like a lied of Greta, the sister of Trakl.

Fikl of the Neronian red curtains, of the opulent chandeliers hanging above the muscular black-violet/violent bull, has now stepped out onto grass fields. A pastoral, plain-air Fikl delves into ravaged sunset skies or gray windy gales. He lays himself down in wide-open meadows which devour old graveyards, and scatter horned beasts. Premonitory grazing looms amidst the dreamscape. He then places an accolade of caprine horns, like the opening of a conductor's adagio (a pure score of broad brushstrokes), leading the more distant shot of a Catholic liturgy. After the series of priests and the pair of cherubs, the mundane becomes just as rhetorically significant for Fikl. A dim interior of an old abandoned house serves as a backdrop to the unwonted apparition of a lambent-white peacock - luminously painted and gratuitously beautiful.

All of this is something akin to the sophisticated-parodic-anxious brilliance of Sorrentino's kangaroo in the Vatican Gardens.

Chen Tamir, 2009

Strange worlds meet on the surfaces of Gheorghe Fikl’s opulent paintings. The grand and awe-inspiring kingdom of Life, animals and nature, is set against the luxurious backdrop of lavish objects and decadent settings. In Fikl’s paintings two forms of bounty collide to produce a hybrid world in which the reign of glory, beauty and elegance is supreme. read more
Strange worlds meet on the surfaces of Gheorghe Fikl’s opulent paintings. The grand and awe-inspiring kingdom of Life, animals and nature, is set against the luxurious backdrop of lavish objects and decadent settings. In Fikl’s paintings two forms of bounty collide to produce a hybrid world in which the reign of glory, beauty and elegance is supreme.

Fikl’s approach is starkly uniform. His compositions are almost al- ways balanced, with a central elongated animal figure set against a symmetrical background. The central figure is lit dramatically, with a single source of light from above, as if taking the center stage in a theatre production. Indeed, his works seem plucked directly from the theatre, with a complex drama unfolding in each painting. They are like sinister operas rendered in the paint.

Fikl’s predominantly red and black palette sets the tone for the dramas of passion that surely occupy his mind. His warm and dark paintings must be large. Their scale must make room,not only for his strong brushwork but also for the imposing iconography – indeed for the sake of theatricality deriving out of them. There is something almost pagan in their primal and fleshy approach. They are iconic and centrally composed, with the excessive details com- pletely removed. Only the vague markers of opulence and reverence are rendered in a complex form.

Take, for example, Violet Bull, in which a bull is shown sideways as if on a Minoan mural. Having inherited centuries of connotations and associations, in this work the bull plays off its inherent symbolism: fecundity, masculine virility and bellicosity. The bull is not a mere bull; it is Taurus, a complex symbol that has been revered for centuries as a talisman of power and action. In both Bull with Stage Curtain and Violet Bull, these bovine creatures stand as if posing fully aware of their grandeur and respect they display.

Like the bull, the other animals, which Fikl gravitates around, are each charged with symbolism. Each animal carries a mythological history. The ram in Sheep with Chandelier stands as if posing for a biblical portrait, being aware of its status - a sacrificial animal. The flock of sheep in Herd and Chandelier is almost audible. The only animals facing us directly, the sheep still maintain a linear figurative composition, which is so important to Fikl. And of course, the dogs in Bullterrier and Bull Terrier with Drapes are also domesticated protagonists. As dogs, they allow for a more intimate portrayal rather than full-bodied ones, and on a smaller “pet-sized” scale. These two paintings are almost portraits in their intimacy.

But where are these animals? Why do they seem so somber? Fikl has placed them not in nature, but under chandeliers and in ro- tundas. They are set against the heavy tapestry that points up to the privileges of the very height of civilization, as well as to the extravagance of the theatre. It is as if Fikl has made them our sur- rogates, taking the place of humans in our own “habitats.” In these paintings, the beauty and grace of the animal world are shown naturally deserving our finest ornamentation. Yet it is an uneasy link, a conflation made too easily between the abundance of na- ture and the monetary wealth. There is a darkness here that cannot be overstated.

Fikl portrays the excess in an extreme way, painting the hanging carcasses of the animals he has depicted. These are unquestionably the harrowing remains of an animal butchered by man. There is nothing natural about a slab of meat on a hook. In the Altar a skinned animal carcass is hung high, above a flock of sheep in what appears to be a high neo-classic hall. The title of this work clearly refers to the Biblical associations, as well as to pagan ones. Fikl might wonder who would such a sacrifice be for. And he might also slyly answer that it is for no one. Surely it is in vain, as the meat hangs high, having nobody to consume it, while on the other hand there are the frozen Greek human statues adorning the arch in the background.

Although they are painted very beautifully, Francis Bacon would have been proud, - these paintings serve a purpose that is ultimately beyond the one concerning the visual consumption. They unflinchingly emphasize the excess of humanity, our almost absurd disjuncture with the animal kingdom. Fikl’s work is finally a call to assess and perhaps reject the desire for wealth and empire, despite the sublime beauty they underline.

Alexandra Titu, 2008

Gheorghe Fikl belongs to a generation, which focuses on the significant density of the objects whose presence concentrates, by means of cultur- al references, ambiguous meanings, by also detaching from the romantic dramatization and the techniques of surrealism, yet by insisting on both sources. This route does not exhaust the interest in figuration, event and object, or in the spatial “metaphorization,” as sources for the pictorial exercise, for the rhetoric of the mimetic process. read more
Gheorghe Fikl belongs to a generation, which focuses on the significant density of the objects whose presence concentrates, by means of cultur- al references, ambiguous meanings, by also detaching from the romantic dramatization and the techniques of surrealism, yet by insisting on both sources. This route does not exhaust the interest in figuration, event and object, or in the spatial “metaphorization,” as sources for the pictorial exercise, for the rhetoric of the mimetic process.

We might place the imagistic discourse of Gheorghe Fikl under
the generic “signs searching for a meaning,” as some “poetics of
ambiguity” or the “hallucinating pressure of the real.”
Amputated by its metaphysical dependencies, which were imposing a rigorous symbolism and managed the formal performance of the by-lanes, idealizations or the saturating displays of the sensible (visible and tangible) hypostases of reality, and also by the narcissism of a formalism, which used to be both authoritarian and rigorous in the regularity of the exercises focused on the form and composition of the space/surface, the contemporary painting searches for some utility and a core of signification to justify the destiny of “metaphorizations” and the performance of representations.

A simple exercise of visual bulimia, already seized upon by the techniques of the advertising seduction, or a pure hyper-esthetic exercise, nourished by an authentic selective investment of the cultural experience in the contemplation of beauty, discredited by the critical position of the European culture, no longer sustain the affiliation to the sensuality of the external world, especially of the material world, and the pleasure of its resorption in the pictorial metaphor.

From this viewpoint, the liberty of the contemporary art, which counts on hybridizations and the cross-breeding of mediums and aesthetic ideologies, on the cultural recurrence, stylistic ideas and solutions, authorize the artist with the whole responsibility regarding his own contribution’s investment with significations and the orientation within the labyrinth of the cultural storage, in the pressing imaginary museum, in which the analytic memory of the conscious ego combines its selection with the “mnesic” functionality, which is apparently amiable yet redoubtably implied in the decisions and options of unconsciousness.

This ally of the artist, seduced by the performance of the world and detached from the constraints of a conventional meaning, which might exert its discipline on the linguistic support, reveals – from the historical and archetypal depths – exigent senses, nostalgias, repressed or only occulted by the texture of current existential demands or by the prejudices set up by modernity. The summons emphasized by the undefined and latent sacred- ness, the disguises of a non-explicit eroticism, the lyrically non- coagulated reverie, invaded by an epic impulse miscarried into some nightmare, can delimit and nourish an artistic discourse, which is also depending on the exigent, critical and playful liberty, or the hermeneutics of a belated postmodernist program, therefore the practice of ambiguity offers so many possibilities (approached in the different moments of the images’ history) to the slide between the stylistic striking and contemporary rhetoric.

Gheorghe Fikl places his reveries, concerning the erotic or aggressive forces, within this poetics of ambiguity, the frankly ex- pressed explicit sensuality in the cultivation of materiality, in the pictorial trompe l’oeil exercises, or directly in combinations of various types of materiality (which are often oppositional), in old objects, whose participation in an aesthetic program occurs rather because of a sensual decorative impulse than to a polemical message assumed with the irony of an appeal to the ready- made. In the two types of artistic behaviour, the pictorial and the artisan-like, applied in the creation of objects, the strategies of his creation are the disguise, the paradox and the challenging context in the sumptuous ambient, composites which signal the expectation of an epic event or a narrative structure to dispel the nonsense, the rupture of situations, the mobile of juxtaposition, the oxymoron.

The disguise operates directly, like a surface strategy when, influenced by the sophisticated sensuality and referring to the nuances of decadentism, extended to the studio, whose oldness does not imply the style; the artist clothes a metallic sink into some fur, or he applies the fur, with its suggestive both delicate, tactile and necrophile texture onto a studio chair, taking advantage of the whole package of sub-significations related to the possible lucid quotation of the Duchampian approach, to a direct, mate- rial relationship with an animal universe destined to the sacrifice of consumption, to the appeals of fashion, sensible to the ideologies which moderate or display the luxury. The identification of the allusion to the sacrificial abuse, considered from the perspective of the brutality revealed by the scandal of the other beings’ material utility, beyond the symbolic certification, is supported by the series of paintings dedicated to the sheep, placed in an apparently delirious space.
There is a narrative counterpoint pointing up to the register re- garding not only the traditional shelter of the sheep but also the luxurious aspect, of celebrations, the series of Carcasses – hunks suspended in descriptively mystical spaces, in explicit Christian altars, or absorbed in a rhetorical obscurity. Disconnected or composed in disquieting and crowded ambiances, the objects, which fascinate him through the formal or material opulence, at the edge of the kitsch, search for a mobile for the sake of an opulent challenge and paradoxical affiliation simulated in the re- gime of exoticism and banality. The traditionalism of the illusion- ist strategies, subordinated to an apparent delirium, in fact of a stagecraft exercise, meets a desire to imitate/parody the mystical routes, declined in obscure initiations.

The same regime of the vague and incidental references to significations worn out by paradoxical appeals is also applied to other signs or mythical situations, such as the wing, the swan, the dog, the peacock or the car, engaged in situations which seem to feign a subterranean and unconscious pressure. Gheorghe Fikl belongs to a generation, which focuses on the significant density of the objects whose presence concentrates, by means of cultural references, ambiguous meanings, by also detaching from the romantic dramatization and the techniques of surrealism, yet by insisting on both sources. This route does not exhaust the interest in figuration, event and object, or in the spatial “metaphorization,” as sources for the pictorial exercise, for the rhetoric of the mimetic process.
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