Like its corporate collection, Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” award is committed to the present. The aim is to acquaint a wide public with new and exciting artistic positions. Based on the recommendation of Deutsche Bank’s Global Art Advisory Council which includes internationally renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn, the bank honours an emerging artist, who has created an artistically relevant oeuvre, one integrating the media of paper and photography – the two main areas of focus of the Deutsche Bank Collection.
Victor Man (*1974 in Cluj, Romania) is the Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” 2014. In his oeuvre, autobiographical elements blend with references from art history and literature, mythology and philosophy. He builds his paintings, consisting of atmospheric gray shades, out of many layers of paint, giving the works their materiality and spatial depth. Such multi-layeredness is characteristic of his artistic universe, in which experiences and perceptions from different worlds and epochs overlap.
“Many paintings show something that is between a face and a mask. Or as an example, you have this ambiguity between male and female, human and animal,” says Alessandro Rabottini, curator and art critic. “Sometimes it is even hard to locate the work in time. A painting can look like it comes from centuries ago.” This applies to “Composition with Three Ellipses,” which was made in the Villa Medici in Rome in 2013, and can be seen in the slideshow. Three golden ellipses drawn onto the wall connect to a painting of what seems to be an antique architectural detail. The work appears to be charged with personal memories, magical meaning, and art historical references, it doesn’t really matter where it originated.
Victor Man, who as “Artist of the Year” 2014 will have a major exhibition at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin, generates his astonishingly contemporary and at the same time visionary art from a diverse range of sources. The fact that it cannot be explained, and further still, that it resists any attempt at logical explanation, is the work’s strength. In a global culture in which images and their interpretations are omnipresent, this refusal opens up individual artistic freedom.