Happy painting and God blessHappy painting and God bless
Previous Next

Andreana Dobreva & Alexandre Karaïvanov

"Happy painting and God bless"

March 21 – April 30, 2020

The artists Andreana Dobreva and Alexandre Karaïvanov titled their joint exhibition with a quotation from the American painter and presenter Bob Ross "Happy painting and God bless". Dobreva and Karaïvanov could not be more different in their technique, motifs and themes. From abstract dreamy portraits to deserted photorealistic detailed depictions, they cover fundamentally different areas of two-dimensional art. They find their common ground in their joy of creation. As Bob Ross reveals in the title of his TV show The Joy of Painting, the fun and enjoyment of the painting process is of paramount importance to him, a quality that also distinguishes and connects the two artists. Ross' farewell phrase "I'd like to wish you happy painting and God bless, my friend!" thus functions, in addition to the title, as the mantra of the exhibition and emphasizes the positive feeling of the artists in their work.

Dark backgrounds, gloomy facial features, then sudden bright colours. Distorted mines, mysterious looks, mysterious sceneries. Andreana Dobreva's works exist in a world of their own, which seems to follow their individual rules. The viewer needs a few moments to classify what is visible. The artist captures moments that sometimes seem everyday, sometimes bizarre or oscillate on this very border. Her portraits are determined by her own colour scheme, which mixes earthy dark nuances with rose yellow accents in a disturbing way. Not to be neglected is also the partially occurring ironic component, which gives the works a completely new level of meaning. The artist also leaves open how the scene can be located in time and space. Contrasting picture elements create a mysterious moment. The artist deliberately leaves the viewer in the dark. Thus we are left behind with an enigmatic fascination.

Alexandre Karaïvanov uses rather trashy photos as a model: cut-out and at the same time voyeuristic glances into grubby corners of rooms, on bedside tables, S-Bahn seats, under washbasins, in dishwashers, urinals. Some motifs are reminiscent of crime scene or damage photos. The flash is always pointed at them and lets the already desolate appear in a stale and at the same time relentless light. The question arises whether such shabby motifs deserve to be ennobled by the effort and meticulousness that Photorealism demands of the artist. If, on the other hand, one takes the view that Photorealism is a delicate matter, because the fixation on craftsmanship, which reaches to the point of mania, tempts the artist to cheat around any content, one must accuse Alexandre Karaïvanov of a fraudulent duplication of empty content. However, only an artistic concept can be suspected behind this. In the crayon pictures two types of artists appear at the same time, the one who shows us the ugly side, pushes our gaze to what we prefer to suppress or keep hidden, and the one who wants to prove his skills in a noble, traditional sense. Two opposing views of art collide abruptly and yet they are also united.