Larrie is delighted to present A Crowded Room, a solo exhibition by Serban Ionescu, on view May 4th through June 17. A Crowded Room features an immersive installation created specifically for the gallery space. Upon entering this tunnel-like structure, viewers are transported into a moody, surrealistic environment inhabited by a crowded selection of Ionescu’s objects, drawings and biomorphic sculptures, as well as animations made in collaboration with animator Narek Gevorgian. In these close quarters, Ionescu’s works create their own bizarre logic that is both cinematic and absurd. Ionescu’s works result from experimental rigor and joyful accident and are infused with an element of the uncanny. A cinephile, Ionescu draws from a wide-ranging scope of reference including film, everyday American entertainment, manufactured architectural materials, and cartoon strips.
Ionescu’s works speak a bizarre language informed by contrast and contradiction and take on a dreamlike quality where borders and edges blend and undulate, wavering between fake and real. Within the installations’ tunnel-like space, viewers are both participants and observers of this absurdist dialogue. Ionescu’s and Gevorgian’s collaborative animations bring Ionescu’s sculptures to sensory life as living, breathing, burping, smiling phantasms. Memory creeps into the crowded space and family history takes a seat in the corner. A Crowded Room references the sardine-packed space of the cities’ immigrant history, Ionescu’s own experience as 10 year old Romanian immigrant and his father’s deportation in 2006. How does a young immigrant fully adapt when the threat of deportation looms, when the crowded room could suddenly empty?
Ionescu spoke very little of this traumatic experience at the time, but began incorporating limbs into his practice. With their inherent legs, Ionescu’s chairs become anthropomorphized vessel’s that could, at any moment, take on a life of their own and walk away; as if homes crossing a border. The tunnel-like room functions as a protective shell, an attempt to use one’s history as a scaffolding from which to build anew. The tunnel, also a passageway, evokes memory, transition and evolution. Meanings shift, chairs expand and contract from stationary objects to ghoulish characters… Spend time in a confined space with any object long enough and it begins to take on familiar characteristics. Ionescu’s objects function as absurdist, animated portals that could take themselves or their viewer somewhere else entirely.
Serban Ionescu (b. 1984, Ploiesti, Romania) holds a BArch from Pratt Institute. He has taught Architecture design studios at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, from 2010 – 2016, and founded OFF- a design studio focusing on furniture and interiors. Ionescu’s work has been the subject of three solo exhibitions in New York. His most recent exhibition was Casbah, at MAW, New York (2017). He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.