Opening on Wednesday, 7 February, at 6 p.m.
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds.
Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency
Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator