For the first time ever, the National Gallery is presenting Oda Jaune in Bulgaria with a large-scale retrospective exhibition under the much telling title of Heartland. Thus, this exhibition may rightly be said to be the artist‘s homecoming. The exhibits have been brought in from museums and private collections with the valuable help of Templon Gallery so on display are 50 of the artist‘s work in painting, sculpture and water-colours from the earliest periods of her carеer to present times.
Oda‘s style is remindful of the Old Masters yet jettisons the viewer into the world of surrealism, and German expressionism alike. For she has created a world of her own, where the artist does not have to bow to the conventional, and her work surpasses the rational and probes deep into the subconscious. In other words, Oda Jaune creates an alternative universe full of omnipowerful beauty and calm, poetry and romanticism while remaining mindful of the potent forces of violence, eroticism and irony. She creates a sturdy vehicle to carry those emotions to the viewer, in the shape of endless anagrammes of dismembered and mutating human figures and organs; bodies intertwined in painful symbiosis, hybrid creatures as though born in the perturbed dream of a child demon.
Mindful of detail and proportions, careful of how she changes the scale, applying a photorealistic precision in her creation of individual shapes, the artist engages in a juxtaposition of the elements, a principle that becomes prominent in her mystic visual narrative. Emotional states and images emerging from the subconscious, come out of the depths to materialize on the surface into part horrible, part entertaining images. The viewer, already feeling as an insider, freely enters the fairy world of fantasies, only to be submerged into a vortex of emotions; and feels alternatively stunned, surprised, rejected, amused and confused. For this viewer has been entangled in a crossword, a visual enigma whose central part contains the whole truth about the artist‘s attitude to love and eroticism, to fear and pain.
„Who is Oda Jaune?“ asks the German film director Kamila Pfeffer in her documentary (it was first shown at the 66th edition of Berlinale 2016 and its Bulgarian viewing will take place on 1 December 2018 at the National Gallery). The Gallery owner Daniel Templon, as well as friends, art collectors and last but not least, the artist herself, try to answer.
Oda Jaune is the artistic alias given to the artist by the German artist Jorg Immendorf. Her Bulgarian name is Michaela Danovska. Michaela was born in Sofia in 1979, studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf in Germany and in 2003 graduated from the class of Jorg Immendorf as a Meisterschüler, a Master‘s degree. Since 2007, she had been living and working in Paris. As from 2008, she is being represented by the French Galerie Templon. In 2012 she won the French Pierre Cardin Fine Arts Award. She has her works of art included in numerous international public and personal art collections, among them the National Fund of Contemporary Art (FNAC) of France, the Antoine de Galber (La maison rouge), Foundation in Paris, the Francès Foundation in Sanlis, France, Maison particulière in Brussels in Belgium, the BOROS Collection in Berlin, Germany, the JP Morgan Chase&Co Collection in New York, USA. She had also had over 40 one-man, and in as many collective exhibitions in Europe, among them exhibitions in the Museum Ludwig in Cologne in Germany, the Museum Felician Rops, Namur, Belgium, Foundation Mudima, in Milan, Italy and Mu.ZEE, in Ostende in Belgium.