18/02/2021 - 9/05/2021

Vernissage on Thursday, 18 February, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., observing all anti-epidemic measures and with controlled access.

The exhibition presents the abstract painting of Atanas Parushev. The works were personally selected by the artist according to the degree of their involvement as separate voices, which enter into full accord in a world almost alien to reality. The calmness, the silence, the feeling of monastic introspection and meditation, reminiscent of ‘The Great Nothing’ (the immaterial), seem to be energetically gushing out of the works. Composed of several materials—paints, paper, and panels—they absorb the gesture and intentions of the artist so that the substance begins to emit spirituality, turning the space around it into a temple. It is no accident that the artist calls his verticals ‘spiritual paintings’.

Atanas Parushev made his first attempts in the sphere of the abstract during his studies (1980–85), as a member of the first intake in painting at the Academy of Arts under Prof. Ivan Kirkov.

In the mid and late 1980s, he created a series of homages to his first ‘teachers’ in abstract painting, Serge Polyakov, Nicolas de Staël and Pierre Soulages.

‘Perhaps the animal turned into a human being, contemplating the bloody sunrises and sunsets, the black nights and shining stars even before it could construct stories, metaphors, symbols’, says the artist.

In 1990, Atanas Parushev entitled one of his works, ‘Rug’. It marked the beginning of a cycle of rhythmically geometric compositions, on which he worked until 2001. In them, he experimented with the properties of colour, the strength of geometric figures and their rhythm, until he reached a completely clear vertical as a symbol of ascent and spiritualisation, of the gradual merging with the sky and the harmony in the heights, of a connection between the earthly, the human and the heavenly.

‘The way up to pure ecstatic knowledge and experience is more direct, clearer, shorter, with the help of the mystical experience in abstract painting, like mysticism in Christianity, Zen in Buddhism or Sufi in Islam.’

And if these paintings provoke excitement, reflection or sympathy, they will fulfil the artist’s desire to awaken COMPASSION—the supreme morality, the lack of egotism, complacency, vulgarity and intolerance.

Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator
National Gallery