Four Artists from Bulgaria
Genadi Gatev, Elena Peteva, Svilen Stefanov and Ralitsa Stefanova.
Friday, October 6, 2017 to Sunday, November 19, 2017
Laconia Gallery presents the artists Genadi Gatev, Elena Peteva, Svilen Stefanov and Ralitsa Stefanova in an exhibition which focuses on the current creative work of these prominent names in contemporary art in Bulgaria, a country with deep artistic traditions. The four artists engage in a multidirectional dialogue and challenge the viewer to reflect on art. This exhibition project is initiated by Elena Peteva (born in Sofia, Bulgaria), who is an artist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, MA, and Svilen Stefanov, who is a Professor at the National Academy of Art, Sofia, a theoretician of contemporary art and a painter based in Sofia. The project is supported by Laconia Gallery, Boston, and One Gallery, Sofia. The first part of the project presents contemporary Bulgarian artists in an exhibition at Laconia Gallery. The second part will be an exhibition of contemporary US artists in One Gallery.
Svilen Stefanov and Genadi Gatev are representatives of one of the most prominent artist groups in Eastern Europe from the 1990s called XXL and their names are connected to the reaction against the ideological legacy of communism in these counties. They started working in the spirit of neo-conceptualism in the fields of installation, photography and performance, while over the last decade they have been working primarily in the medium of painting. Both authors interpret painting in the framework of a post-conceptual discourse, wherein there is no division between abstraction and representation. Svilen Stefanov uses the bond between image and text. His compositions and still lifes either mock the abstract or tell utterly absurd stories (e.g. Romantics Bury Conceptualists, oil on canvas). Genadi Gatev’s works are seemingly related to geometric abstraction but there is an unexpected semantic field beyond them. They are, in fact, color codes (schemes) – the result of scientific research of the genetic pool or the genofond of Bulgarians in different regions of the country.
Elena Peteva’s work carries deep and multifaceted heritage – from the love of realism to the rationality of conceptualism, but also to the traditions of the psychological portrait. Therefore, the “realism” of her drawings and paintings should not mislead us. They draw in the viewer with the power of their representation, which slowly unfolds layered meaning, and holds us captive. Ralitsa Stefanova shows works which rely on the fleeting and seemingly casual gesture of drawing. This series of small ink and brush drawings display simplicity, which is, in fact, full of layers of authentic emotion. Unlike Stefanov and Gatev, Peteva and Stefanova exhibit together for the first time but their works complement one another in their vast formal and emotive range.
All four artists currently work with One Gallery, which presents their work in Bulgaria and abroad at various venues for contemporary art.