The knight of steel ladies

Sculptor Jivko Sedlarski populated France with airy women

Photo: Photo: private archives. Sculptor Jivko Sedlarski in his studio.

On June 13, sculptor Jivko Sedlarski opened a solo exhibition at the Aspect gallery in Plovdiv. The exposition comprises 10 of his women figures clad in dresses made of brass and stainless steel. His 2.3 metres high Deva (Virgo) is put up in front of the gallery near the City Hall of Bulgaria's second largest city. It is made of concrete reinforcement wire. This is the third exhibition of the original artist in a city which has been a European Capital of Culture. The previous ones were staged in Maribor, Slovenia, and Marseilles, France.

Two weeks prior, on 26 May - the City Day of Sens de Bretagne where the Bulgarian artist lives, in the city's centre in front of the City Hall was unveiled another of his works, which is a total of 4.23 metres tall. Called La Bretonne, it depicts a young girl whirling in a dance. The sculpture is made of concrete reinforcement wire painted in red. La Bretonne was created two years before and was initially exhibited in a French chateau where the municipal authorities of Sens de Bretagne saw it and liked it.

“Whereas for others, concrete reinforcement wire is a material that lays the buildings' foundations and is hidden inside concrete blocks, to me it is a material for making sculptures. I take it out of its original role and give a new one to it, so that passers-by feast their eyes on them and develop good taste in art. The beauty of this material lies in the fact that it helps me to create a frame, I create a structure, and when the sculpture is finished it is transparent, incorporeal, full of air and space, surrounding buildings peering through it,” the artist says.

Jivko Sedlarski was born in 1958 in the Bulgarian town of Elhovo. His first contacts with art were in the atelier of his father, Colonel Kolyo Sedlarski, who headed the studio of military artists in Bulgaria. Unlike Sedlarski Sr, who was a painter, Jivko chose to become a sculptor. In 1977, he graduated from the Vocational School of Ceramics and Glass in Sofia, and in 1989, from the National Academy of Art. For two years he attended courses in anatomy. He also specialised in sculpture in the Fine Arts Academy of Berlin, Germany.

As of 1991, the artist and his family live in France. Jivko Sedlarski works in the field of monumental and small statuary. His creations are kept in museums, art galleries and private collections in Bulgaria, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, US, Lebanon, China and other countries across the globe. One of the most remarkable works by Sedlarski is Jump, it contributed to his worldwide popularity and became his trademark. The sculpture portrays a woman in an airy dress, her hair windswept, caught at a moment before she leaps into the unknown.

“I love to play with transparency. Concrete reinforcement wire allows for that. Working with it, I kind of make a charcoal crayon drawing on a white sheet of paper. I play with sketches in the same way, and the effect is amazing,” the sculptor says.

The idea to make Jump dawned on the artist in 2012 after Sedlarski's emblematic work Rainbow in the Dark appeared at Parc d'Ar Milin, Chateaubourg, France. Jump is conceived as a sculpture which is hovering up in the sky. The author designed it as a four metres tall figure of a woman standing on the roof of the Groupe Legendre's headquarters building. This company works in different spheres, including construction, and its owner Jean-Paul Legendre supports the Bulgarian sculptor by providing free materials for his creations. The 3.8 meters high sculpture called La Charmeuse, commissioned by Jean-Paul Legendre, was put up in a private park close to the city of Rennes, France, on 9 June.



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