Teodora Axente

(b. 1984, RO)

Portrait of Teodora Axente in front of her work.

Born in 1984 in Sibiu, Romania, Teodora Axente is a contemporary painter living and working in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Axente is known for her figuratively rendered paintings of enigmatic characters in a surreal and mysterious setting, juxtaposing the material and the spiritual.

Axente directs these images in reality before painting them meticulously. She makes costumes of unusual materials, creating a different world than we're used too. Doing so, not only does she offer the opportunity for the depicted subjects to escape reality, she permits the viewer to do the same.

We encounter several recurring elements throughout Axente's oeuvre, such as aluminum foil, cardboard, transparent foil, taxidermy or the suggestion of human-animal metamorphosis. One might think this collage of elements may feel random or disjointed, but actually there is a strong sense of harmony residing in these paintings. They present a figure covered and surrounded by materiality from this world, but it seems to reside in a different dimension.[1]

Doing so, her oeuvre is marked by a continuum formed by the dualism of the material and the spiritual. The depicted fabrics represent not only their substance, but our interpretation of them, as a metaphor for our own desires, emotions and experiences.[2]

Influenced by virtuoso painters such as Rembrandt (1606-1669), Vermeer (1632-1675), Velazquez (1599-1660) or contemporaries such as Michaël Borremans (b. 1963) and Gerhard Richter (b. 1932), one notices Axente's quest – rooted in art history – to perfect the depiction and reproduction of textures and fabrics, pushing contemporary oil painting to new levels, not only from a technical point of view, but as a concept itself.

Born, residing and working in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Teodora Axente is one of the most important representatives of the contemporary art scene in Cluj.

Career facts

Teodora Axente achieved an MFA and PhD in painting at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. In 2007, she was trained at the Ecole Superieure de Beaux-Art de Rennes in France. Ever since, Axente has been exhibiting across Europe and the United States of America and has been represented by galleries such as Ana Cristea Gallery, Galleria Doris Ghetta, Rosenfeld Porcini and SELECTED ARTISTS.

The Romanian virtuoso has won several art awards throughout her career. In 2011 she won the ESSL Art Award CEE at the Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Vienna, Austria followed by winning the Award for European Painting at the Frissiras Museum in Athens, Greece in 2017.

Axente has had solo and group shows at important institutions such as the Museum of Art in Cluj-Napoca, Romania; the Art Center Hugo Voeten in Herentals, Belgium; the Museum for Contemporary Art and Culture of the Historical Psychiatric Clinic in Bremen, Germany; the Frissiras Museum in Athens, Greece; the BMoCa Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulders, Colorado, the United States of America and the Essl Museum Klosterneuburg, Austria.

Selected works

Teodora Axente, The Kiss, 2020. Oil on canvas – 127 × 127 cm. Courtesy SELECTED ARTISTS.

Teodora Axente, Sleeping in the Womb, 2020. Oil on canvas – 200 × 175 cm. Courtesy SELECTED ARTISTS.

Teodora Axente, Pietà, 2019. Oil on board – 29 × 24 cm. Courtesy Rosenfeld, London.

Teodora Axente, Charles III, 2017. Oil on canvas – 214 × 147 cm. Courtesy Rosenfeld, London.

Teodora Axente, Red Bends, 2017. Oil on canvas – 197 × 132 cm. Galleria Doris Ghetta

Teodora Axente, Charles, Transparant thoughts, 2017. Oil on canvas – 139 × 138 cm. Courtesy Galleria Doris Ghetta.

Teodora Axente, Throne, 2017. Oil on canvas – 144 × 95 cm. Courtesy Galleria Doris Ghetta.

Teodora Axente, Charles behind the thoughts, 2017. Oil on canvas – 73 × 64 cm. Courtesy Galleria Doris Ghetta.

Teodora Axente, Behind, 2017. Oil on canvas – 40 × 30 cm. Courtesy Galleria Doris Ghetta.

Teodora Axente, Charles with a cotton flower, 2017. Oil on canvas – 132 × 93 cm. Courtesy Galleria Doris Ghetta.

Teodora Axente, The Spell, 2017. Oil on canvas – 176 × 141 cm. Courtesy Galleria Doris Ghetta.

Teodora Axente, Marius I, 2012. Oil on canvas – 46 × 40 cm. Courtesy Ana Cristea Gallery.


[1] Uwe Goldenstein, Preparing for Darkness: A New Movement in Contemporary Painting. (Berlin: Selected Artists Edition, 2020), p. 60.

[2] Artsy, Teodora Axente at https://www.artsy.net/artist/teodora-axente consulted 16/01/2021.

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