Ion Grigorescu is one of the seminal visual artists of his generation in Eastern Europe. In recent years, his complex body of work has attracted increasing attention in the West, entailing a reading of his oeuvre through the prism of canonized Western art histories. This first English edition of his diaries from the crucial years of 1970 to 1975 is a small literary and art-historical sensation. It not only corrects the facile reading of Grigorescu's practice in the context of Conceptual art and performance, but provides insight into the artist's multifocal thinking, which incorporates an original critique of modernism, the dystopian effects of an instrumentalized idea of reason and rationality, an analysis of subjectivity, and a penetrating gaze into a dialectic of secrecy and elucidation, of exposure and mystification.
Grigorescu's diaries are written notes revolving around the status of the image, and investigate the relation of the body to society and of art to the world, in a deep phenomenological reconsideration. His work proposes a parallel conception of the public made tangible through the eloquence of the body.
In poetic language full of powerfully pictorial metaphors, Grigorescu reflects on his observations of the tension between the realistic effects of the image, the suppression of realism, and the hidden traces the gaze holds through the activities of the increasingly present unconscious of collective memory. Along with the drawings, paintings, photographs, and sketches that accompany them, the diaries serve as an introduction that opens up the possibility of conceiving Grigorescu's art as a rare evocation of a singular way of thinking: a stance.