Period: 7 May – 11 June 2021
Opening: 7 May 2021 (Friday) from 17:00 to 20:00 o’clock
Art Gallery Serdica presents Stefan Petrunov’s new exhibit “HYBRIDS” – paintings, drawings and collages. The exhibit is open to the public from 7 May to 11 June 2021 in the art space of the Women’s market in compliance with any and all anti-epidemic measures.
The exhibit will be opened by Ani Venkova, PhD in Arts, with the opening being on 7 May 2021, Friday, from 17:00 to 20:00 o’clock.
Once again Stefan Petrunov will face us frontally fantastic creatures, dream visions and fictional scenes, making us renegotiating within ourselves the boundaries of the known and the unknown, the internal and external. The giving of a new meaning of the attitude towards the portrayed “objects” requires judgment whether they are a source of a threat or attraction – although probably of both, D-r Ani Venkova says for the author’s new art.
And undisputedly, Stefan Petrunov’s works surprise, provoke and magnetically attract with their “outworldness”. The meeting with them is a peek at the other side of the mirror, where both our own reflection, as well as the one of the surrounding world, are transformed. Through the clash of mutually-excluding elements, various cultural models and epochs, the painter creates a new universe, changes the way of thinking and brings forth the imagination.
Stefan Petrunov has always been interested in the human body. The artist investigates psychological conditions, public and social positions of the personality and the reflection thereof in the body language. The woman’s body dominates in Petrunov’s art work. Taking it out of a routine context and placing it in a new one, mystifying its image, the artist creates his own, idiomatic, artistic language, in which he includes also other figures and themes, combining them into unexpected configurations.
Even when static, the figures are rarely passive. The bodies’ postures are intense, bent, “S”-curved, implying movement, causing the viewers discomfort and drawing them into a plot, where they have to search for cause and consequence, a beginning and an end, events, preceding and following the “freeze-frame”. The author intentionally makes the viewer ask questions and look for answers. Relying on the element of surprise, through the inclusion of unexpected visual teasers and thought puzzles, he puts us at the border of the rationality, on the line between the dream and the reality, life and death.
The beautiful faces of the women’s bodies’ perfect proportions, often models from magazines, are replaced with animal sculls. The image are hybrid ones, they mutate (in similarity to the modern culture), establishing their own parameters and identity, breaching and going beyond the conventional understanding of beauty.
Stefan Perunov’s art from technical and style point of view could also be determined as a hybrid one. The realistic image is lined with a collage, clippings from flashing advertisements, with borrowings from surrealistic visions and expressive deposits. Direct referrals to the Pop Art are present. The colors are bright, saturated, phovistic, imposing, possessive … But at the same time they are lively and energizing, with strong presence and affecting.
The drawing is a catalyst of his art. It is an independent artifact, core element, around which developed is the collage or sketch, along which the picturesque art unfolds. For the artist the drawing embodies the thinking, transforming itself into a live act of creation …
It is logical that being of a generation, which feels increasingly more comfortably in the open borders of the identity and possesses the enormous and transformative fluidity in internet, for the artists to create aesthetics, in which roots change and hybridity is found. The permanent condition of a transition is a constant. To some degree everyone is subject to mutation. This drive towards studying and overcoming the limits of the human experience, as much as it looks bothersome or troublesome – to reconstruct and rediscover the body – gives rise to some of the most vital and complex arts, created nowadays. Stefan Petrunov’s individual artistic language and expression has its full and respected place among them.
Ani Venkova, PhD in Arts
For the author:
Stefan Petrunov was born on January 1st, 1964 in the city of Sofia. He graduates from the National Academy of Art, “Painting” Major, in 1990. Between 1990 – 1993 he participates in several exhibits throughout the country. His first one-man exhibit is in 1993 in Grove Gallery London. During the following years he works mostly as a graphic designer and digital illustrator for Bulgarian and foreign companies. During 1998 he started working for one of the biggest clipart companies at the time – the Canadian New Vision Technology, among which clients are companies as Microsoft corp. and Getty Images. In 2000 he is nominated for best Bulgarian stamp by Vienna International Stamps Exhibition (WIPA). Within the period between 2001 and 2007 he works in the English Swan Multimedia Ltd. as a graphic designer, and later as an art director. He decided to get back to the art world in 2007. Later he participates in several mixed exhibitions and in March 2009 opens a one-man exhibit in “Sofia Press” Gallery. At his participation in the Modern Art Exhibition in Barcelona – 27 April 2013, organized by the GAA, he wins the best artist award – “Barcelona Showcase Best Artist Award 2013” – given by the jury. During the last years he participated in several big international art exhibitions, such as Art Expo New York, Miami Art Spectrum and “Anima Mundi” Art Festival, as a part of the Venetian Biennale. He lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria.