Șerban Savu
What Work Is

★★★★☆

Curated by Ciprian Mureșan
On until 24 November 2024

What happens to the worker when work has no purpose? In a series of social-realist paintings so extensive that to not think of the labour which went into making them is impossible, Savu traces the as-yet imaginary terminus of Romania’s socialist utopia. 

This Elysium is part panel house block, half Roman ruin. Mosaic reconstructions and faux archaeology spread from the canvas into museum-like models that the Socialist Republic of Romania would have been proud to exhibit in the same location in the 1960s. Savu’s t-shirt-clad 21st-century gentlemen explorers, however, betray his installation’s timeline. 

These future young men have little to do but look ill at ease in their leisure. The reason comes clear at an offsite location where workers make artefacts for Savu’s production under the gaze of Venice’s leisurely tourists. This offshoring project, one fancies, drives these labourers envious of their future selves which in Savu’s archaeological fancy will face only themselves.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Some May Work as Symbols at Raven Row ★★★★☆

Some May Work as Symbols: Art Made in Brazil, 1950s–70s

★★★★☆

Art history can catch modernity in splitting from the past and thus from itself.

Christine Ay Tjoe, Lesser Numerator at White Cube ★★☆☆☆

Christine Ay Tjoe

Lesser Numerator

★★☆☆☆

Aj Tjoe’s paintings could make great scenic backdrops to a David Attenborough documentary on the life of wild rodents

Lydia Gifford, Low Anchored Cloud at Alma Pearl ★★☆☆☆

Lydia Gifford

Low Anchored Cloud

★★☆☆☆

Oil paint applied so thickly that it’s a miracle the canvases don’t bring the gallery walls down with them

Peter Fischli and David Weiss at Sprüth Magers ★★★★☆

Peter Fischli and David Weiss

★★★★☆

A police procedural turns into a drinking game of Foucauldian power analysis.

Stuart Middleton, The Human Model at Carlos/Ishikawa ★★☆☆☆

Stuart Middleton

The Human Model

★★☆☆☆

An interest in material is core to this practice but Middleton mistrusts his instincts.

Cui Jie, Thermal Currents at Pilar Corrias ★☆☆☆☆

Cui Jie

Thermal Landscapes

★☆☆☆☆

The exhibition feels like a lecture on climate change sponsored by the designers of The Line, Saudi Arabia’s dystopian plan for a 110-mile linear city in the desert.

×