Images and symbols at the dawn of the twentieth century
Recently, the role and importance of private collections and collectors for the formation of valuable art collections have been widely discussed in talks and seminars. The topic is relevant and falls in the context of several newly opened museum-type galleries and a series of exhibitions with works of mostly private origin.
The current exhibition in Gallery Loran is of a similar nature. This is our first all-collector's exhibition. It presents and promotes a small but strong part of a thematic collection, collected skillfully and purposefully. It features rare and valuable works of art from the dawn of the twentieth century in the spirit of symbolist and secessionist imagery.
The mature judgment of its owner goes beyond ordinary gain. It reveals a poetic and different personal view. The works have been collected for several years and some of them have been acquired through Gallery Loran.
The exhibition is dominated by female images, personifications of melancholy, dreaming, sadness and grief, the female body as the embodiment of sensuality, variability and temptation. They are complemented by universal symbols of the animal and plant kingdoms, and objects which in most cases retain their meaning from the past to the present. In the lens of the artists are borderline and minor states, which through the mastery of their authors do not stand depressing and painful.
Works by Ivan Markvichka, Ivan Milev, Tsanko Lavrenov, Ivan Penkov, Nikola Kozhuharov, Nikolai Raynov, Goshka Datsov, Stoyan Raynov, Petar Morozov, Alexander Bozhinov, Georgi Karakashev, Atanas Tasev and Ivan Koychev are presented.
Among them we will pay attention to only a few.
Goshka Datsov's work - "Two Dreams" (1914), is small and aesthetic. Female images in profile are the main semantic structure associated with melancholy and dreaming. The composition is concentrated on the left, it is subordinated to the spherical shape, the half-figures are fine and refined, with gathered hair. The latter seem to grow from the curved and tall reed. The cold and dark green color leads us to think of the nostalgic influences of the Pre-Raphaelites and Art Nouveau.
In this semantic context we can put another part of the works in the hall, and in particular, those of Karakashev, Morozov, Penkov and partly Kozhuharov.
In Georgi Karakashev's gouache painting, the half-open door is a sign of anticipation, and the woman sitting to the left of the composition with a fixed gaze in the active decorative environment of braids of stones and leaves becomes the bearer of the idea of autumn melancholy of the 1922 work.
The nude body in Petar Morozov's painting "Dream" seems to emerge from the intense touches of the floral elements. Relaxed hands and a withering flower whisper a story of despair, alienation and sadness. The activity of the stroke enhances the feeling of intense emotional state.
In the work "Snake" from 1919, Nikola Kozhuharov also relies on a composition located on the left. This spatial position is associated with the feminine, the emotional and the intuitive. The figure - a snake or a mermaid in the back - stared into the distance. The view is vague but the state is concrete - a dream.
In one category we will place another series of paintings, whose roots in symbolic language date back to time. Such are the works of Nikolai Raynov "Autumn" and "Field Flowers", they far exceed the meaning of their names. We will find their parallels in the idea and expression of the heavenly world and the description of paradise. The decorative-stylized drawings convey a picture with repetitive and various floral elements, trees decorated with flowers, overflowing into each other spatial plans, flat shaped like wallpaper with impeccable precision. Everything is in the common unity of a harmonious and calm place, an ideal world in which the soul finds rest and relaxation or perhaps peace.
To the mentioned works we will add the work "Peacock" from 1933 by Tsanko Lavrenov, because it belongs to the same semantic group. The image is a peacock perched on a tree, with its back to the viewer spreading its beautiful tail. In this beautiful decorative variant, the interpretation of the motif is not subject to ambiguity. The bird is an allegory of immortality, personification of the divine and personification of beauty and invulnerability.
Other figures that have preserved the imagery of the past to this day are those of the weepers. They are one of the highlights of the exhibition. They introduce the image of unhappiness and sorrow but in the flawless stylistic system of native art. We have repeatedly discussed the works from the 20s of the twentieth century by Ivan Milev, "Oplakvane" and "Zadushnitsa", which we were lucky enough to see relatively soon in national exhibitions. Here again we will recall the specific planar-decorative artistic language and its power in the dramatic effect of the ecstatic mystical ritual.
Of course, we cannot descripe all of the details of such an exhibition in this text, as the format does not allow us. We recommend that you continue your research in the gallery space. With this exhibition, it becomes a museum and will operate on this principle for a month.
Undoubtedly, this is a valuable collection, and the factors contributing to its formation are many. It reveals interesting relationships between interest, ownership and contribution, but its most valuable quality is the presence of a personal collector's view of the images of an era.