Ivan Georgiev has never exhibited his works at an exhibition nor has he sold pictures. Once he presented his works (probably for the 1966 General Art Exhibition) and got snubbed, he vowed he would never again submit his pictures to be judged by a panel of authorities. He chose to go underground and to benefit from his freedom in endless poverty.
Initially he painted portraits, landscapes and still-lives. From the late 1970s onwards by and by he moved away from the visible world. Ivan Georgiev’s abstract painting is unique in Bulgarian art of the 1970s and 80s. Though his painting continues to be obscure, it instills life into what might be called wasteland. Abstract expressionism is one of these lands.
Though Ivan Georgiev’s style of painting varies all the time, it is easy to recognize it for the forcefulness it carries despite the plethora of styles and the range of feelings that fluctuate from joy and ecstasy to gloom and sarcasm. Shining or flickering and overloaded with explosive power, his painting visualizes the idea of existence as a continuous alternation of light and dark.
The retrospective exhibition is dedicated to Ivan Georgiev’s 70th birthday and displays some 200 works that have never been displayed. These have been selected from the artist’s 600 or so pictures from privately owned collections. The displayed works trace the artist’s creative path from the academic sketches to the abstract paintings that he produced during the last year of his life.
Curator: Krassimir Iliev
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Ivan Hristov Georgiev was born in Sofia on 11 September 1938. In 1958 he graduated from the Art School in Sofia. In 1961 he enrolled at the National Art Academy where he was tutored in painting by Prof. Panayot Panayotov. In 1963 he was awarded the prize of the Central Council of Trade Unions for his poster “Never”. In 1965 he was awarded for his study at a student competitive exhibition at the Art Academy. He graduated from the Art Academy in 1966. He died on 30 July 1994 in Sofia.
Ivan Georgiev’s pictures were displayed posthumously at an exhibition that Maximilian Kirov arranged in 1995 in the Vitosha Gallery. There followed four other exhibitions: in December 1997-January 1998 in the Vitosha Gallery; in 2003 in the Artamontsev Gallery in Sofia and in the Bulart Gallery in Varna; and in 2005 in the Art Efir Gallery in Sofia.
It is only four works painted by Ivan Georgiev that are possessed by a Government-owned gallery. These are a donation made by the artist’s sister Vyara Georgieva to the Sofia City Art Gallery in 2003.