He sat there on the floor. Perched beside the scissor lift, marker in hand, eyes glued to the washed walls that dwarfed him, Dan Perjovschi, the artist, the satirist, the newsman. For the next few months, Total Museum’s walls will play host to Perjovschi’s cartoonlike drawings. Though at times his works resemble sketches or fragments of comic strips, ‘The News After the News’ is not unlike the well-received exhibitions that Perjovschi has shown at Tate Modern or the MOMA. The strength of his work lies in the palpability of both his method and choice of subject matter, in the simplicity of his forms and the boldness of his vision.
A week before the exhibition was to open, Perjovschi arrived in Seoul. He read English-language papers and familiarized himself with the city’s urban labyrinth, its cultural trends, sociopolitical hiccups and question marks. Essentially, he collected data. He spent hours on end scaling Total’s walls, leaving traces of ink. At times the pieces seemed unfinished, as though he would return again to add something. But it is this barebones aesthetic that gives Perjovschi’s drawings such resonance; the pureness of shape allows his work to convey meaning with a candid boldness and the absence of color is made up for by a mastery of symbolization.
Nearly half of the works that Perjovschi is showing were drawn specifically for the exhibition, for the city that is Seoul and for the culture that is South Korea. The remaining works are a variety of pieces from his traveling repertoire, works relating to global events and pertinent social phenomena that conjoin individuals the world over. The financial situation in Perjovschi’s native Romania, the issue of free education, the influence of technology on individuality, and even pictures of Korean delicacies can all be noted on the gallery walls.
Despite being at times serious in subject matter, Perjovschi’s drawings are sketched with a playfulness that enhances aesthetic enjoyment without compromising social gravity. His ability to render images in a universally recognizable manner without losing a certain uniqueness that is his own is paramount to Perjovschi’s success. Ultimately, it is the sheer rawness of his work that makes his renderings so inviting to any viewer, as though the audience, too, feels they can partake in similar forms of visual satire and social commentary.
I invite you to participate.
‘The News After the News’ runs until December 4.