Glass as magic reality
Glass is transparent and resonant. It is massive and brilliant. It is incarnated in a rich variety of forms, colors, optical effects and illusions. It exists to become art. Glass is synthetic but tolerant form of art where light and transparency meet each other to become one. Graceful plasticity and artistry meet the latest technological achievements. But first and foremost the emotional impact of its all components, make me claim that glass is living in warm substance, it comes from our past to mold the future.
More than twenty years I have been in touch with the exceptional plastic opportunities afforded by glass. I have had the lucky destiny to study and to develop myself guided by leading specialists in Czech Republic, in Poland and France, in schools rich in traditions and prestige. Although I have always had good reasons to be proud with the fact that I have received an excellent grounding in plasticity in Bulgaria and my way of development is modeled upon the classical traditions of the Academy of Art in Sofia.
When being in the atelier of Professor Libensky in Prague during my studies at UMPRUM from 1985 to 1987 I have begun modeling my own esthetic conception. I explore an object as a volume possessing its proper form; it is saturated with symbols; it is a sign in space having its own architecture, density, interior light and shade.
I continued my studies at the Academy of Art in Wroclav, Poland, during the difficult however exciting years between 1988 and 1991. There I graduated and obtained my master’s degree, but I was also given artistic freedom, trust and human kindness. In Poland my attention was brought to the pure polished form, it means to the stained glass.
Since then I have tried to find my proper style how to express my artistic emotions. Because of their magic reality, oxymoron was chosen as an appropriate form.
After a training course in the workshops in Sars-Poteries in 1996 I became more confident with technology and I started to experiment with color in a glass mass.
This new trend in my work with glass developed the plasticity of my pieces of art. The art of painting supported me in the search of color. It changed the form enriching it with more details. The new piece of art was saturated with color from inside to outside. The form was neither flat nor decorative. Just on the contrary, color
supported my original intention. It made its symbolism more visible. It turned the form into something unique. “The Road”, “A Viking’s Head”, “Love”, “A Seabird”, “A Journey to the North” appeared then. In 2000 and in 2002 at the biennial exhibition “Glass and Garden” in Munster I was highly appreciated by Erwin Eisch who presided over the jury. My piece of work “Flowers of Love” II received the special award for the best piece of art in glass.
I went deep in searching the color ness of the glass mass. I looked for counterpoint to express form. I began to clean out color. I toned up the sharp almost graphical contrast between color ness and the whole form. The same was true about the relationship between the lines shaping the form and the common space. I opposed the density of the material to its transparent purity. In the optical mass I searched for the reflection of the relief. I toned up the color in the dense color ness by polishing the volumes. My pieces of work such as “Flowers of Love” III and IV, “The Graces”, “Pierrot”, “Tango” follow this trend.
T he techniques I use such as pate de verre, mold melted glass, polishing, are more ancient than blowing glass, that dates back to 300 B.C.I think that the historic references to those processes is important when nowadays we revisit and recreate art glass to adopt its own form. The combination between plasticity and painting in glass represent for me a very personal variation full of refinement, learning, freedom and surprise. No matter how exceptionally rapidly the technology of glass developed itself in the 20th century compared to the thousand-year old exploration of glass and its gradual evolution, basically it will remain a manual process depending directly on acquired human abilities. That’s why glass will continue to bear its divine origin. In the recent years new technical means have been applied to glass promoting further its plastic capacities. New ideas come into being.
Unfortunately, there isn’t any tradition in Bulgaria to help the appropriate relationship between an artist and a factory, needed to fully realize form, to transform it into design. To a large extent, Bulgarian artists develop their ideas about glass in their studios. Artists in Bulgaria work on their own style, all the same in the field of glass our evolution takes roots in the Czech traditions. We are deeply influenced by the aesthetics of Professor Libensky /1921-2002/.
More than 30 years Bulgarian students graduated from the Czech Academy of Applied Arts UMPRUM. They laid the foundations of the Bulgarian art of glass.
It wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t make a long way when working down glass as a piece of art in Bulgaria, too and thinking it over aesthetically.
At the very beginning I modestly named my works of art using titles as “Form”,
“Composition” or “Architecture”. Later I chose literal titles such as “Butterfly”, “Guitarists” or “Torso” proceeding to a will for “Equilibrium”, “Homes”.
Plot was of no importance – long live the Form!
The more subject matter I introduced in the form, the more the subject matter was filled with form. During the process of work it permeated the sign. Plot was the first to come to the world. That’s the story of “A Temple of Love”, “A Seabird”,” A Journey to the North”, “The Elements”,” Fusion”. I “took a rest” with pieces of work that expressed my wish for flying, all my aspiration upwards. I created a lot of birds. Almost all of them had the color of the sky; however they stood “firmly” on the ground.
“The Graces” or “Flowers of Love” were made with deep respect referring to well known patterns having other meaning because of their different content. I am more and more interested in content hidden in the form. I wish to represent more and more. I wish to saturate the represented with meaning. The longing has turned out to be the leading one. It was motivated my work of art. I think another approach would lead to a mere formality.
The methodology of Professor Libensky and the purity of his aesthetic views have influenced my work up to now. I am open to new challenges though I won’t strive to shock the audience with neither unexpected technological tricks nor using forgotten ones. I don’t want to represent the surrounding world in pieces of art glass hasn’t been used up to now. My artistic emotions are turned to the universal in art such as composition relationships, life of forms, colors, proportions, symbol and sign. What I wish to realize are spiritual works of art.
Glass is rich in vast prospects. When it is technologically mastered, its form highly contributes to the development of fine arts.
What I try to suggest with my works of art is love and harmony.
In the recent years I have exposed my glass sculptures on equal terms with other patterns of the Bulgarian modern paintings and sculptures. They have taken part at some representative and highly prestigious exhibitions in Rome, in Venice, in Cogneliano in 2003 as well as in the Museum of Modern Art in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2004.
Together with other painters we have organized joint exhibitions where we have treated colors and light each of us in his or her peculiar way. The result was a very harmonious relationship between the glass object in space and the picturesque sign creating a united whole.
The famous Japanese sculptor Isamo Noguchi claims that style is simply a frame. The idea gives expression to the new relationships between glass and its surroundings that come into being. That’s why in Bulgaria the art of glass gains new followers who praise it and share the same views. For some of them it is love at first sight, others need a little time to do it. In fact, it is only a matter of time!
As love is always two-way and nothing but love can give rise to required love!
As for me I measure my love trough the medium of Glass!