The Maestro's illusionary road

Over 100 paintings by Svetlin Rusev are exhibited in his memoriam

Over 100 paintings by Academician Svetlin Rusev, some of them never exhibited before, are shown at an exposition titled The Road, dedicated to one of the most iconic names in Bulgarian art. The exhibition was organised by the Union of Collectors in Bulgaria with 21 of its members lending Rusev's works kept in their private collections.

The Maestro, as Rusev was called with good reason, has been working within a very contradictory period - the second half of the 1990s and the first decades of the 2000s. This is exactly the reason why the exposition is split in two parts: one is exhibited at the Sredets exhibition hall of the Culture Ministry and the other at hotel Anel.

Sredets Gallery keeps the early works of the Maestro, dated 1955 to 1980, when the characteristic 'Svetlin' style was formed. At hotel Anel are exhibited Rusev's paintings made in 1980-2018. Those were the critical years in Bulgaria's history when new approaches to art and new criteria were making their way.

The displayed early works by the Maestro reveal first of all the artist's nature in its intimate light: these are landscapes, nudes and portraits. They make you feel the fine sensitivity of the artist in his communication with Nature and Man, when the gap is closed and the creator and his object come close and even become one. It seems that in this quiet dialogue the artist is seeking himself. From one painting to the other, his brush's strokes become increasingly surer when he tries to relay his emotions from the communication: through colours, volumes, light and substance, the artist is trying to saturate his works with reserved emotion.

This atmosphere of his intimate world, when the artist remains eye-to-eye with the blank canvass (as he himself used to say), gives birth to the 'Svetlin' style. It allows for the dramatic interpretation of various thematic tasks: from the hefty social themes to the innermost memories. The characteristic feature of this style is lack of aggression in the artist's admonitions.

Even in his monumental works, Svetlin Rusev managed to avoid pompousness. Instead of outpouring his emotions, he studies them in depth. That is why the perception of his paintings calls for an in-depth reflection exercise.

At the exhibition in the Sredets Hall, the viewers will for sure feel the magic of the artist's birth, his physical gratification from finding new means for conquering the world and himself, they will penetrate “the own self” which Svetlin didn't like to discuss, but valued highly.

The second part of the exhibition complements the less familiar intimate aspect of the artist's creative work and, at the same time, expands the range of themes and the monumental style of the Maestro.

“Covering the chronological span of over 60 years, the exposition enables us to peer into the creative life of the Maestro and follow his artistic journey along with his earthly road - the road at the end of which we all ask ourselves, “Have I found the way?” And despite the fact that Svetlin Rusev believed that his attempts to have faith in himself were illusionary, that he finally found his true identity, only time will give answers to these questions.

“We hope that as organisers of this exhibition we at least managed to lift the veil over this difficult answer,” say exhibition curators Prof. Aksiniya Djurova and Prof. Ivan Marazov.

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