The first of two paintings from the diptych ‘Angels and Demons’ which will participate in ‘The Elixir of Life’ exhibition at The Smithfield Gallery is a powerful depiction of a fallen down man.
The theme is so current that I cannot keep but thinking about the resonance and effects of the current economic crisis for some people.
The very unsettling and depressing feeling is something we cannot avoid but rather than passing by the painting, we keep on discovering new subjects which unveil the personality of this human being. The picture describes a rather metaphysical state of mind which is the consequence of a series of events (look at the chain of figures in the left hand corner). The fact that this man was something and someone important is emphasized by the ladder on the right left corner, and the presence of many ‘Os’ (zero’s) is the result of his inner depreciation and downfall (I am = O). His desolation is further made apparent by the presence of a sole cloth, which resembles a modern day Christ.
Iasen explores a very painful and touchy subject of the border between human desperation and madness. Once fallen into this state and cornered by unfavourable circumstances, how do we keep sanity and pick ourselves up? The man is stretching his hand towards the ceiling as he wants to find an invisible helping hand in return. Or is he blaming someone for his misery? The duality of the human being is shown clearly by covering one of his eyes as to further fall into the darkness and sometimes symbolising the refusal to see the reality of the situation. At the same time his other eye looks towards the ceiling as he is trying to pierce the invisible bonds and reach straight to the heart of God.
In this painting Iasen goes back to his roots and his primal language, Bulgarian, which he has used to write on the walls of the cell. He is going back to his roots, back from the beginning, where lies the universal questions of ‘Who am I’, ‘Why I am here’ and even questioning the existence of ‘I’.
Art review by Elena Todorova-Stanev, Cerise Art Agency, October 2009
Elena is curating ‘Elixir of Life’ exhibition at The Smithfield Gallery in London from 22nd until 28th November 2009. http://bit.ly/1a4Hox, where you can see more of Iasen’s paintings and drawings.