2014 has been a very good year for the Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie, today considered to be one of the most famous contemporary artists worldwide. Why? Not only for his incredible talent, but also because this year he was declared the best-selling young contemporary artist in the world. The international online art market – artnet.com – had to choose between a little over 18,000 living artists that had works offered for sale by auction houses in 2014.  Ghenie got to be first in rank because he sold four paintings: The Fake Rothko, which is his highest valued at GBP 1,42 million , Duchamp’s Funeral I was sold for GBP 1,022,500, Study for the Devil valued at GBP 12.500  and Hunger sold for GBP 116.500.

Adrian Ghenie was born in 1977, in Baia Mare, the capital of Maramureș County, in northwestern Romania. He studied at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca and in 2005 he co-founded the Gallery Plan B with Mihai Pop, a platform for Romanian contemporary art. Since 2007, he commuted between Cluj and Berlin until 2013, when he decided to move full time to Berlin.

He comes from a family who had a good status before 1989 (when the falling of dictatorship happened in Romania) due to the fact that his father worked in the Secret Police, so his family got the chance to travel in the ’60s and ’70s and have a good living in all. After the Revolution, his father had a breakdown which, alongside with his childhood memories, made a great impression on him.

That’s why you can discover in his works his preoccupation with the 20th century history – especially the communist and Nazi eras, but other of his favorite topics refer to Van Gogh, Darwinism, Marcel Duchamp and Dada, Laurel and Hardy or Elvis. His paintings are dark and show no grace, the figures of his subjects are tormented and distorted and his backgrounds abound with emblematic imagery in a multi-lay­ered tex­ture and struc­ture.

Adrian Ghenie was included in many significant expositions, but he also was the subject of solo exhibitions at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest (2009–2010), Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kuns (S.M.A.K.), Ghent (2010–2011) and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2012–2013).

Sources: artnet.com; artspace.com; nicodimgallery.com