Curator: Yana Bratanova

Vernissage on Thursday, 6 July, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

These exhibits conceptualise the traces of the artists’ inner personal fires. A path reminiscent of a leap over chaos in pursuit of spiritual organisation and purification. The exhibition’s title comes from the book, ‘Images of Philosophy and Bodily Mind’, by the contemporary Czech artist Aleš Zapletal (AVU Publishing House, Prague, 2022).

The artworks of Magdaléna Roztočilová and Lyuben Petrov, unified by expressions of fire, relate above all to the vibration of the states and sensations the artists depict. They differ on a compositional level, but are as if tightly bound by an invisible nerve fibre, capturing the resonance recreated between them, despite their individual means of expression and creative energies.

The concave and convex flame-like sections in Magdaléna Roztočilová’s sculptures are manifestations of a spiritual substance, with direct reference to the Holy Spirit. The forms give off a vital radiance emanating from a powerful inner source and express the presence and influence of the Divine Spirit upon human existence. According to the artist, the flames are a symbol of the transformation of the soul, of changes in its emotional, mental, and psychological aspects, leading to deep insight, self-realisation, enlightenment, and an elevated level of consciousness. This metamorphosis is associated with self-exploration, pardon, self-acceptance, release from negative thought patterns, behaviour in accordance with higher values and accumulated knowledge. The individual journey is dictated by various experiences—meditation, teachings and spiritual practices, and personal growth.

The inspiration for the sculptures was the heroic life story of Milada Horáková (1901–1950), a Czech politician, lawyer, and social activist, against whom, along with members of the opposition circle supporting her, the Czechoslovak Communist Party conducted a show trial.

The connection between the works of the two artists also reveals itself in their powerful shared idea—the contemplation of love. ‘Fire, Follow Me’, a series of paintings by Lyuben Petrov, represents a search for balance through a consciousness of purification. A symbol of this quest is fire, which also serves as a metaphor for love. The personages he depicts are in absolute symbiosis but can be mistaken for pain or sorrow. The artist enjoys the tension he creates, which is further enhanced by the sharp chromatic contrast and his working of the texture and plasticity of the paint. The figures engulfed in flames recreate the depth of emotion and the heat of the moment of ‘their day’, while the world around them stays intact, like the landscape, unaffected by their inner experience.

The exhibition is realised in partnership with the Czech Centre in Sofia.