It’s autumn again and to be precise it’s the 35th autumn in my life.
As far as I remember back from my childhood in Bulgaria, I never really liked autumn, because it marked the end of beautiful, hot and carefree summers. It meant that I can no longer take my bag and skip to the beach, spending all day in the sea without the watchful eye of my parents and until my lips became blue and I had drunk more or less half of the Black Sea. I missed the long nights strolling the main streets all the way to the Sea Garden with its beautiful terrace with Viennese bannisters and the most amazing view over Bourgas harbour all the way to Sunny Beach. Summer was the one season we all lived for and partying all the way to October the thought of autumn and winter was so distant as the Antarctic is from Bulgaria.
Until one morning you wake up and feel the cool breeze in you bedroom, sneaking messenger for the winter, and realise that the leaves are fallen and gone way, the crops are reaped and harvest collected and you reach to you wardrobe for the winter coat and it’s smell of anti-moth balls.
That’s way I never liked autumn back then. It was short, unexpected and brutal. I was not prepared for it and it always brought a sense of loss.
I found myself looking forward to that magical moment of when the leaves start to transform, the feerie of colours, the sensitivity to light and the dark shades of imminent demise were striking. The passionate reds, the royal purples, the distinguished browns make an amazing autumn in England on the backdrop of green fields and well…quite unpredictable skies. The quite and beautiful transition would wave its way from the bottom of the trees, across land, homes and spaces until one day a fierce storm will shake and disturb the idyllic piece, will rage and reign until the last leave has fallen and kidnapped in the hands of its almighty power.
And this is when it starts to smell like Christmas.
I was lucky enough to visit the recent exhibition at Watermans & Dodd in London where Jean-Francois Rauzier had his first exhibition in the UK.
Needless to say, I had formed an initial opinion and generated a considerable interest prior to seeing his works, but what I saw went beyond my imagination and expectations. The intricate details and pursuance clearly definite in his works are beyond any expectations of photographic mastership and undoubtedly represent only the tip of the genius iceberg of this artist with what it seems an infinite imagination. Complicated yet clean, multilayered yet defined, his works are encyclopaedia of his knowledge, passions and ability as an accomplished photographer. His over 30 years of experience on the advertising field have everything to do with the meticulous execution of his hyperphotos and luckily have not affected his vision in typically marketing direction of the immediate attention grabbing shot.
Quite the opposite.
Jean Francois Rauzier’s works looks almost natural until you manage to concentrate on a fragment and turn your pre-conceptions upside down. Pebbles on a long beach, oh no, these are actually clocks; beautiful tree with a lake (is that a little girl over there?), block of flats in an entangled honeycombed building; an immense ‘no beginning-no end’ library… So, now are you seeing it? I mean really SEEING IT?
Jean Francois demands attention.
Going beyond the pixels per frame attitude of the modern photographers he uses up to 3,500 images per photo, yes, there is no typo here. Some of the pictures he exhibits actually contain up to 3,500 images and hold on to it – have size of about 30-40GB! The monolith works could spread over 50 metres and one could not possibly imagine the patience and surgical brilliance of matching and adding, resizing and collating the images together until a truly exceptional pieces emerge. But besides the pure technological accomplishment lies his vision of a fine artist, a modern day Rafael, Da Vinci or Titian who uses his mouse as a brush and his Mac as a canvas.
Once should feel privileged to be able to see in person the brilliance extraordinaire of this man. Jean Francaois Rauzier set a very high marker for comparison and a standard in its own rights.
Art review by Elena Todorova-Stanev, Cerise Art Agency 2010
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.
It took Karlo 8 years and £2 to organise one of his most successful exhibitions in London.
The brave and innovative Bulgarian presented a selection of his works to his numerous admirers who gathered to greet him at the Sofia Art Gallery in London. It was not a traditional exhibition, but rather the personal story of the artist, a disclosure of his pains and passions, falls and victories.
The music of the blues legends Papa George and Bill Smith fitted perfectly and created warm and informal atmosphere, which reigned through the evening and sprinkled certain magic in the air.
And whilst we can easily appreciate his more traditional oil and watercolour paintings, and Karlo’s earlier pencil portraits and caricatures, a particular interest represent his Candle Smoke works. Karlo invented the technique some years ago and that quickly attracted the attention of the professional circles including one of the oldest art societies in England – the Croydon Art Societies, where he has been invited on a number of occasions to demonstrate his unorthodox way of painting. You can easily follow the silhouettes and forms taking shapes from the flames and smoke and cannot help but wonder the power of imagination, which unravels beauty from the most unusual entities.
The exhibition will run from 28 September till 17 October 2009 from 3.00 pm to 9.00 pm at Sophia Art Gallery, Bulgarian Embassy, 186-188 Queen’s Gate, London SW7 5HL
Art review by Elena Todorova-Stanev, Cerise Art Agency, September 2009
Elena is curating ‘Elixir of Life’ exhibition at The Smithfield Gallery in London from 22nd until 28th November 2009. http://bit.ly/1a4Hox
Cerise Art Agency is delighted to present for the first time in London the works of two outstanding contemporary Bulgarian artists.
The Smithfield Gallery will host for one week only a selected collection of oil paintings by Diyan Dimitrov and sculptures by Dimitar Stoyanov. Accomplished painters and remarkable observers, they came to tell the story of their search for balance and harmony, and ultimately – the Elixir of Life. The beautiful tale takes us on an amazing journey where pain and bliss transcend from dream to reality, from past to present. We share and associate with their inspiration, visions and expectations admiring the power of their images. Their love of reflection, shape and colour stretches beyond the fragile frame of the human life and explores its existence wonderfully embedded with the nature. Humanising the animals and plants in their paintings is a further step in highlighting the role of the surrounding world as a friend, teacher and witness.
The exhibition is a rare opportunity for the London public to enjoy the works of Diyan and Dimitar and to mark their debut into the local scene. With their paintings and sculptures selling in many private collections in Europe, we are sure they will be well received in London.
Diyan Dimitrov was born in 1977 in Sofia, Bulgaria. He graduated the National Academy of Fine Arts and has been exhibiting mainly abroad, with most of his works being held in private collections. Diyan works in the field of composition, portrait and still life. An accomplished painter and astute observer, his paintings are his travel-log to the Modern day romanticism. Diyan works between London and Varna, Bulgaria.
Dimitar Stoyanov was born in Bulgaria and specialized in the field of miniature woodcarving and iconography. His works are deeply rooted in the Bulgarian culture and spirituality, which also provide a source of inspiration and beauty. As well as working strict to the tenets of the Bulgarian Ortodox Church, Dimitar has managed to transfer the essence of his philosophy to more contemporary and modern mediums.
The exhibition will take place at The Smithfield Gallery, 16 West Smithfield, London, EC1A 9HY from 22nd November until 28th November. Opening times 10am-6pm. Website http://www.thesmithfieldgallery.com
Press party on 23rd November 2009 from 6pm
Private viewing and official opening on 24th November 2009 from 6pm
Twitter Exhibition Open Day on 27th November from 10am until 6pm