expo

This section presents briefly within an inverted timeline all the exhibitions featuring my work, which took place in the later years, in various places.


“A Twilight Vision on Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” (2018)

March 29th – April 1st | Scandic Hotel (Inferno) | Oslo | Norway

Among many other metal bands, I discovered Emperor in the cold winter of 1995 in the bootleg cassettes market, located in the post-communist Bucharest’s centre. The first record I interacted with was “Wrath of the Tyrant”, when I felt that the simple black and white photocopy cover displaying only some poor Gothic font used for the front side of the purchased bootleg, didn’t deal out any justice to the music. With no internet connection and no metal magazines around to look out for the original cover, I crafted one using my imagination. One year later, I discovered “In The Nightside Eclipse” and that time the bootleg was based on a plain colour photocopy, which stretched the original image. I re-worked by hand that as well. Once I discovered the almighty “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk”, I truly found my favourite Emperor record of all times. The passion for the band’s music reached the highest point in the heart of the young metalhead and remained like this until today.

At Inferno Festival 2018, I have celebrated 15 years of intense work under the name of my graphic design studio, TWILIGHT13MEDIA. And what else could bring me a higher honour than to illustrate, for the first time since I discovered the album 20 years ago, the depths of the tremendous “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk”? This didn’t end here because during the Emperor show at the 2018’s Inferno edition, there was another premiere, namely the first collaboration between the band and I, which consisted in a collection of visuals created exclusively for a selection of four songs. The footage for these visuals was filmed mostly around Transylvania and the Carpathian Mountains.

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“Tales of the Wind” (2018)

March 23-24th | Valladolid | Zaragoza | Spain

The air movement reminds us that there is much more to see in this world than we actually see. It is the invisible force which sets everything in motion: clouds, trees, dust, water, our thoughts and memories. Once you start listening carefully to the stories of the wind you begin to understand that it carries on all the information from this planet and beyond, and it helps us connect with all the realms around, both seen and unseen. “Tales Of The Wind” is an exhibition project inspired by the music and the lyrical concept of the hard & psychedelic rock band Earth Electric. This exclusive selection of artworks showed the viewer a totally different perspective of the seen world, by pushing the unseen wind and air as the main visual element, while the beings which interacted with it were reduced to shapes and containers. This was a travelling exhibition going together with the Earth Electric’ concerts for some selected dates in Spain by the end of March 2018.

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“The Twilight Visions of Costin Chioreanu” (2017)

September 23th | Underflow Record Store & Art Gallery | Athens | Greece

George Bokos of Grindhouse Studio Athens and Vassilios Filippakopoulos, the head of Underflow Record Store & Art Gallery were in charge of my first exhibition in Athens, which became an overwhelming event given the kind people involved and the attendance. There were displayed various commissioned works I did in the recent times for various musicians like At the Gates, Warning, Spiritual Beggars, Sulphur, or The Thirteenth Sun, including premieres: an artwork created for my dark avant-garde band Bloodway, another one for the technical metal group Cerebrum from Greece and a personal work. “The twilight visions” was dedicated to my grand-grandmother, who was of Greek origin.

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“Dreadful folktales from the land of Nosferatu” (2017)

June 24th | Barbarista | Bergen | Norway

On the 24th of June 2017, the Völvur company brought Nosferatu to Bergen, at Barbarista, given the exhibition entitled “Dreadful folktales from the land of Nosferatu”, which was launched together with an illustrated handbook with tales of the supernatural and horror. The works in this series freeze certain moments in various tales that were heard from the mouths of some close friends who happen to recollect certain magical happenings encountered by their elders around a couple of remote places in Romania. The illustrative perspective reaches a surrealistic level within this series and catches the viewer with some awe-inspiring legends or some true otherworldly deeds that some individuals lived.

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“There Is A Place Called Home” (2016)

August 18-20th | RYMA (the Alba Carolina Fortress) | Alba Iulia (Transylvania) | Romania

“There is A Place Called Home” brought me back to Alba-Iulia, where the great event called Dark Bombastic has been taking place almost each year since 2011, when I presented the “Where Purgatory Ends” chapter. “There is A Place Called Home” relates to my childhood spent in a very beautiful place, a place where I experienced the first magical moments, a place where I learned how to praise the nature and to live in the rhythm of it, a place where I discovered the first black metal records, a place where everything started for me in this life in terms of a spiritual level. I am not a person who lives in the past. I rather fight with myself to stay rooted in the present, so I would like to introduce this series of works as a collection of my strongest memories from my childhood. One of the reasons why I have decided to take this trip back in time, by using the skills I have at present, was the feeling of being lost in a world which is too much focused on anger and aggression, on materialism and primal senses. So I went back there, to take some energy from that fountain of sense in order to be able to step further once again. Besides the works printed on wooded-framed canvas, the exhibition required as usual a soundtrack, a three-piece material filled with ambient and of dark avant-garde music written on guitar, to which I added analogue synths and traditional Romanian flutes for a certain sequence. The music was mastered by Marius Costache and released afterwards on a vinyl edition by Svart Records.

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“Dreams for Coro”, a charity exhibition (2016)

December 11-12th | Colony Art | Bucharest | Romania

The “Dreams for Coro” exhibition was hosted by the Colony Art Space in Bucharest and involved more sad thoughts than any other happening of such. My old friend Coro of Axa Valahă Productions went through an aneurysm surgery which required a long-time recovery, which didn’t allow him to work in the single fields which he owns, tour managing and event promotion. Therefore, this was a charity exhibition which involved 20 wooden-framed canvas pieces depicting the worlds I’ve created for Arcturus, Primordial, Morgoth, Grave, Bloodway, Sigh, Enslaved, Perihelion, Lethe, Haar, John Gallow, Feral, or Rendezvous Point.

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“The End Goes On” (2015)

Tilburg (the Roadburn festival) | Dortmund | Oberhausen

After the whole series of artworks created for the comeback album of At the Gates, “At War Reality” was put on the walls of 013 during the 2015 edition of Roadburn, Jens Prueter, Head Of A&R at Century Media Records organized an exhibition relating strictly to this subject in the label’s home city, Dortmund, right after the festival in Tilburg was done. Next, “The End Goes On” arrived in Oberhausen, at Turbinenhalle.

I waited for that album for almost 20 years and it was the biggest honour for me to eventually illustrate it, as there is no greater achievement for a dreamer than the moment when the dream becomes reality. “At War With Reality” is by far one of the most complex visual stories I have ever created, from all points of view. From the very first moment when the band presented the concept, I found it extremely stunning and at the same time super-challenging. I like to think that visual art and music are both the necessary tools to explore our minds, to create, to discover and to push the limits. At the Gates, one of my all-time favourite metal bands, offered me a chance to explore a new dimension.

«The concept of “At War with Reality” is based on the literary genre called magic realism,» explained Tomas Lindberg. “The main style within this genre is the notion that reality is ever-changing, and needs to be constantly re-discovered and re-conquered. We felt that Costin’s artwork style would be the perfect visual contribution to this album, so he became the natural choice,” he added.

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“New Wave Of Surreal Horror” (2015)

April 1-4th | Kulturhuset | Oslo | Norway

Yet another collaboration between the avant-garde, progressive Norwegian Vulture Industries and I, was set into motion. We were invited to the Inferno festival during the 2015 edition to stage a very special performance under the name “Babylon Spiral”, for which I designed the stage decoration and I came with some acting as well during the concert in order to emphasize the irony in the vultures’ creation. The happening took place at Kulturhuset, which hosted also the exhibition “New Wave of Surreal Horror”, a series of commissioned artworks created by for bands like Mayhem, Sigh, Necrophagia, Trial, etc., all of them based on a particular and horroresque dimension filled with mysterious shapes and characters possessing wicked abilities.

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“Insights” (2014)

May 30th – June 15th | Ferdinand Galleries | Cluj-Napoca | Romania

2014 brought me to the first international film festival of Romania, TIFF, which takes place each year in the historic capital of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca. I was invited to be part of the jury in the “Shadows Shorts” competition and the TIFF team thought this would make a nice occasion to present an exhibition featuring some of my latest works completed by that time. Some of the pieces presented there were surreal illustrations that I’ve done for covering various musical works by Triptykon, Tribulation, 40 Watt Sun, Oranssi Pazuzu, Messenger and others.

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“Clandestine Horizons” (2014)

March 7th | Santeria | Milano | Italy

For some of those who know me for a while, the title “Clandestine Horizons” may sound familiar. It actually points to another title, “Sunstone Voyager and the Clandestine Horizon”, which means the debut of my band Bloodway. The exhibition in Milano came soon after the release of the material in question and marked the premiere of the artworks included in the “Sunstone Voyager…” booklet. They were hung on the walls and shown in big scale for the very first time. Other artworks unveiled with that certain occasion were commissioned pieces for bands and solo musicians such as At the Gates, Mayhem, Anders Björler, The Devil’s Blood, Spiritual Beggars, Oranssi Pazuzu, The Ocean, Vulture Industries, Vàli and Gravetemple. “Clandestine Horizons” took place at the Santeria space, which gathered fantastic people, from my friend Teo Segale and his team to all the strangers there. There was even a nice surprise from Panificio Danelli, who brought some biscuits in a special edition, shaped as the horns in the realm of heavy metal.

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“Departures: The Black Ink Works of Costin Chioreanu” (2014)

April 10th – May 17th | Gust van Dijk | Tilburg | Netherlands

A while ago the Roadburn entity used to team up with the SEA Foundation organisation, leading to a couple of memorable events set at the Project Space Tilburg – Gust van Dijk in Tilburg. Under Riet van Gerven’s curation, the Gust van Dijk hosted the exhibition “Departures: The Black Ink Works of Costin Chioreanu” in 2014, over the course of April and May. As a worldwide premiere, which has been remaining a unique approach so far, I ran a solo exhibition based solely on original artworks. As many of you who visit this website know, most of the works I create for covers, posters, visuals, animation films, etc., are based on the mixed-media techniques, which get developed from “skeletons” shaped through black ink over the white. These skeletons get transformed afterwards through the agency of painting, photography, digital colouring and other collage-like procedures. “Departures” brought for the first time in the public’ eye these skeletons, including original cassette covers which I have designed for my booklet collection in the 90’s and early 2000’s, since the metal music market in the post-communist Romania didn’t offer enough of the intriguing aesthetics adorning the underground music. Other than that, various drawings which had a powerful significance in my personal journey were exposed during “Departures”, such as “Dremocracy”, with its central figure dissected by Robert Proost in the exhibition catalogue. “The figure is surrounded and mocked by shadow-like creatures whose heritage is not always clear: either they originate from the figure itself or his surroundings. The figure as victim of itself or his surroundings, a neutral and discrete figure surrounded by demons who are after him,” wrote Proost back then. The author found a connection with another piece of the “Departures” series, namely the “Golden Age”, which led him to the following perspective: «Life is a confusing and unstructured journey: a search of the individual. In this journey the individual is lonely and the others are shadow figures, perhaps only recognizable as the reflections of the “I”, because the other simply cannot be known. It is an almost solipsist given to regard the “I” as a principal character, the only guidance of one’s own development. The individual becomes the only guidance: it is the Descartian security of the Self that at the same time, both physically and morally, questions its own surroundings and shapes the environment into either a tool or an obstacle, reducing it to shadows that either need to be vanquished or accepted. The individual harbours its own truth, the ultimate endeavour that needs to be unlocked, as is typified by the figures with embodied keyholes.»

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“Ten years of designing death ” (2013)

May 3-4th | 013 | Tilburg | Netherlands

The 10-year celebration of Twilight 13 Media continued at the Neurotic Deathfest in the same year, the same 013 venue, the same Tilburg. Besides crafting the festival’s image and doing special illustration for a couple of bands’ appearance there, like Possessed, Necrophagia, Cryptopsy and Vader, I exhibited various artworks designed for artists that have a strong connection with the death metal aesthetics, such as Grave, Demonical, Death Chain, Lock-Up, Deicide and more.

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“TEN YEARS OF ANALYSING THE PROBABILITY OF HOPE” (2013)

April 18-21st | 013 | Tilburg | Netherlands

I was honoured to be the official artist at Roadburn in 2013 and there was even more since that was the year when I was celebrating 10 years of my graphic studio Twilight 13 Media. That was the moment when I presented my first animation film as well, entitled “Outside the Great Circle”, with soundtrack written by me featuring David Tibet, Attila Csihar, Mirai Kawashima and Kimmo Helén, which was screened at the main stage of the Poppodium 013. The same place was the perfect setting back then for an anniversary exhibition which included commissioned pieces created for various artists and collaborators that I appreciate, such as Arktau Eos, The Devil’s Blood, Castle and others. Besides these, there were the artworks announcing some of my favourite artists’ concerts during that Roadburn edition, namely Ihsahn, Leprous, Hexvessel, Sigh, Spiritual Beggars and Grave Temple.

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“THE CLAY IS PEOPLE” (2013)

October 25th | Garage | Bergen | Norway

“The Clay Is People” was part of an event featuring Vulture Industries and the Happy Gorilla Dance Company. On the 25th of October 2013, they performed in Bergen, at the well-known Garage in the local subculture, which became an exhibition space as well given the context. This idea was a natural consequence after the Vulture Industries & Happy Gorilla Dance Company’s project “Turning Golem”, followed by the musicians’ opus “The Tower” which involved my illustrative work. Concept-wise, it was all about a made-of-clay Frankenstein, who had a new body which turned the knowledge into a futile state as long as it didn’t involve the material world, and swallowed the human souls. Thus, man has turned himself to a golem as well. Afterwards, this exhibition was renamed “The Bergen experiment” given that the pieces were showcased in a pub, in the shape of a propagandistic manifestation and since no one advertised this as being an artistic event, the viewers didn’t get too much awareness regarding this happening, although the nature of the event was obvious. The exhibition itself was a sort of confirmation that all the things we learn since we appear in this world in terms of values, become pillars in the commercial society.

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“THE FIVE PHASES OF IOH” (2012)

October 20th | Fabrica Club | Bucharest | Romania

“The Five Phases of IOH” welcomed the Finish spiritual and experimental act Arktau Eos in Bucharest, for their single performance on Romanian soil so far. The exhibition was based on five chapters through which I displayed my views and feelings on the fourth album of Arktau Eos, “Ioh-Maera”. The whole performance, including this exhibition took place at the Fabrica venue, where I also performed live painting during the Arktau Eos ritual. The project was dedicated to my grandfather, who passed away exactly before the performance, on the 20th of October, 2012.

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“THERE ARE NO SHADOWS ON OUR MAPS” (2012)

Dark Bombastic Evening Venue | Alba Iulia (Transylvania) | Romania

Set among the same fortress walls in Alba Iulia during the Dark Bombastic Evening Festival, “There Are No Shadows on Our Maps” focused on matters regarding the self and the acknowledgement. After building visual narratives aiming to portray the childhood, its death, the spiritual dimension, the afterlife, the disappointment induced by the people around me and their opinions, I investigated through the works included in this exhibition my state of being and the main goal was to destroy the masks I wore until that moment in time. The shadow became thus the real self, a pure existence unaltered by the social rules. The symbol of the map targeted the humans’ intention of standardizing the world and since I am only a human as well and I also made many mistakes, I lived in the dark and I tried to by my own god, the maps were also mine, and therefore, these were our maps. “There Are No Shadows on Our Maps” found a great amount of inspiration in Carl Jung’s work, and I’ll make things more obvious by quoting the Swiss psychoanalyst: “Meeting with one’s self means first meeting with one’s own shadow. The shadow is certainly a narrow pass, a narrow door, whose painful narrowness cannot be avoided by those who descend into deep wells. We must make acquaintance with ourselves to know who we are, because the gate was, surprisingly, a boundless expanse, of an unheard indeterminacy, where, apparently, there is no inside and out, up and down, here and there, mine and yours, good and evil. It is the water world in which everything alive floats, where the domain of the ‘sympathetic’ soul begins, where I am not different from this and that, where I live the other in myself and the other lives as me.” (The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious)

The soundtrack for “There Are No Shadows on Our Maps” was written during July and August, 2012, and I completed it with the mixing and the mastering right after I finished the music.

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“TOO LATE FOR RAINBOWS” (2012)

April 12-15th | 013 | Tilburg | Netherlands

“Too Late for Rainbows” was exclusively exhibited at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, during the 2012 edition. “Unlike Where Purgatory Ends, which featured metaphorical reflections on daily life and transcendent childhood memories, Too Late for Rainbows deals with spiritual crimes that man has been plotting for thousands of years and is about to commit. While the artist is aware of the imminence of this process and its consequences, he also understands that the unseen world, almost gone from the conscience of man, will swiftly return,” wrote the Roadburn team.

My statement ran as follows:

It the beginning there was the word.
Men described with words what was around them and created pictures…
Pictures of the definable translated the indefinable.
And words turned empty and the empty end of rainbows filled the sky.
And now, now there is only the noise.
In a world of carnal noise
Our time has come again,
Silent!
Many of you can hear our silence,
And all of you will step forward.

The soundtrack for “Too Late for Rainbows” was released by Asiluum Records under the name 13 – “Ihwaz”. The entire work was written, recorded and mixed by me, with mastering by Marius Costache. I went to the deepest and darkest corners of my soul in order to drag this musical piece out. I didn’t know that those places were so bleak, but it was there where I got carried by a river of disappointment, which made me ask myself if disappointment was such a bad thing in the end. 13 is not a name or a band, it is me and I find myself in 13. “13” doesn’t relate to genres or categories, “13” is about feelings. We are chaos, and words cannot define us, no matter how desperately we want that. This was dedicated to my forgotten brother, Bogdan “Tom” Groman.

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“Where Purgatory Ends” (2011-2012)

New York | Helsinki | Tilburg (the Roadburn festival) | Alba Iulia (the DBE) | Bucharest

The premiere of the exhibition “Where Purgatory Ends” was held in 2011 in the Alba Carolina Fortress during the Dark Bombastic Evening Festival, which took place in Alba-Iulia, Romania. The exhibition included 13 dark pieces printed on special black canvas illustrated with grey tones. As a part of the happening, the visitors could enjoy some bird-shaped cookies resembling a religious ritual for which the individual connects the body with the world exposed. “Where Purgatory Ends” came with a soundtrack as well, a 22-minute piece of dark ambient music written by me and guitarist Rune Eriksen (Aura Noir, Earth Electric, ex-Mayhem), with bass by Andrei Ionuţ, violins by Tudor Diaconescu, mixed by me and mastered by Marius Costache. “The sonic journey that Costin managed to convey is truly of a unique and inspiring character, so I am happy I could partake and add a bit of my crookedness to it also. A trip beyond and below,” said Eriksen as regards to the “Where Purgatory Ends” soundtrack.

Next, the exhibition was showcased in New York, Helsinki, Bucharest, and Tilburg. “Where Purgatory Ends” was an ironical title since I was not concerned of how the end of the road looked like or if the road ever really reaches an end. The statement of this project was based on the idea of presenting the life as a tiny part of a long journey. The journey has nothing to do with the form, the matter, or the borders which must be crossed. I have never reached the stars, nor did I ever exit the earth’s atmosphere. I have never been to the depths of the earth to see if it’s made of dirt or reigned by another world, I have never been thousands of meters deep to see if I can breathe, letting water invade my lungs. Almost everything I know, I have been told. Certainties, be they growing or not, are close to me, the one living under the cover of flesh and bone, the nameless shape or serial number.

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