Ani Petrova was born in 1990 in Sofia. In 2009 he graduated from the Iliya Petrov National School of Fine Arts in Sofia with a major in Painting, followed by Bulgarian Philology at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski ". Painting remains her great love and her primary concern. The subject of study in her works are the thoughts and states through which the human soul goes through.
With a slight weakness for portraits, Ani opened her first solo exhibition, Revealing, in 2016. In 2017, the exhibition is hosted at the Rafael Mihailov Exhibition Halls in Veliko Tarnovo and the Rubik Art Center in Varna, and in 2018 - at the Svetlina - 1924 Community Center in Zemen. On February 6, 2019, portraits and figurative painting opened the second solo exhibition of Ani Petrova called "Night Reflections". Nominated and participated with four of her paintings in the Xll World Biennial of Contemporary Art in Florence, which took place in October 2019.
You are a high school graduate, but you do not choose to continue your education at the Academy. You are majoring in Bulgarian Philology. Why did you choose this specialty this time?
When I graduated high school, I needed to get out of the drawing model for a while. I wrote "Bulgarian Philology" because Bulgarian language and literature have always excited me a lot. And I was not mistaken - this is an extremely interesting specialty. I have met amazing teachers and I am very rich in these meetings. Philology is a huge universe. This does not mean that I stopped studying fine arts. On the contrary, it was then that my most serious deepening in painting began.
Reflections on your philological education, especially literary education, are invariably visible in the paintings. Somewhere more direct, through titles, and in other cases indirectly, ie. set in a sense-composition. Tell us where your intersection is between literature and fine arts?
Literature is the largest pillar, both personally and professionally. I don't know if it's the beginning or the end - maybe it's different every time. Sometimes I start from a work of art, and when I don't, I inevitably get to one. After all, everything we feel like a rush is written in a particularly beautiful way. And if I find it in my memories, it is already part of the picture.
I built my last exhibition, for example, entirely on a poem by Prof. Tsocho Boyadzhiev "Rondo XXI". The first and, at the same time, the last painting Libra, opened and closed the exhibition cycle with this poem. And each of the other works was designed to complement this idea. Literature and the visual arts interact in a particularly categorical way, so I prefer not to separate them in my work. After all, this is the truth - this is the path I worked on in a painting. And the art must be honest.
I will also ask you here whether you are writing artistic texts?
No, I'm not writing! I have never tried. People who can handle words so beautifully have a huge pedestal for me. Exact words are very important.
Undoubtedly, the arts interact, discussing the same issues, often called "eternal issues," but, figuratively speaking, in a different language. Is dialectical thinking and expression the way to a more genuine work, be it a painting, a text, a piece of music?
Surely, yes! Dialectics in itself is a search for truth. When making art, it is important not to stop being disturbed by questions and to analyze constantly, through your expressive means, your inner contradiction - to check every thought before rejecting it or accepting it. And after you find any answers, with the same excitement you can go on with the questions they have raised.
In this line of thought, the process of drawing is always a dialogue. Sometimes quite long before the last brush stroke. I think every author knows how often they face difficulties similar to the one you have to feel when to say "stop." Knowing when to finish a job and moving the dialogue to another work as a new conversation.
Your paintings are recognizable, you have your own style, which is very important for the artist. Tell us about the road to here? You may also mention the names of artists, teachers, or just things that have built you up as an artist and person!
Style is a natural process, not something I stick to. I'm not even sure exactly what you mean. In my works, I show the feelings, emotions, states of a woman, because each painting is my personal journey and spiritual experience. That is why the female image is a strong point in my work. I use the symbols as a story. And the ornaments are something that gives me great pleasure - they are the easy and fun part of the process. I was struck by the decoration of the palaces and cathedrals in Italy - from the exterior ornamentation, lavish to madness, to the recurring uniform shapes on the walls inside.
If I have to mention a teacher - this is Borislav Zhdrebev. What he is to me, to us, his students, cannot be covered in words. The support man is him, all the time as an artist. To him are the greatest thanks.
And the artists I like are, of course, many. But the ones that have influenced me the most are those who have a difficult, creative path. With her own destiny - like Frida Kahlo, Modigliani. And more personally, Dimitar Deliyski, an artist who was close to me. Although in those years I didn't realize how resilient you have to be in order not to give up. Defending yourself as an artist is the biggest stone on the road.
You often draw portraits. Man and the human body are almost always present in your works. Do you manage to express as quickly as possible through the human figure the emotion and idea you carry within you?
Yes! My search is how an experience affects the face and the condition of the body, especially the face. Sometimes the scar of an emotion is almost imperceptible, but it is precisely these small changes that the face betrays that are interesting to me. People's faces are a separate universe! It shows what you saw, what you lived…
Through the position of the human body in the composition of the painting, through the shape, the curves, the lines, not only through the face of the model, you are able to express very different emotions and states very well. I personally often recognize melancholy ... Tell us about these emotional layers!
In art, melancholy moves happily. It is a huge engine. It unfolds with all its details and finally comes down to something beautiful and refined. In a state of sadness we have a lot to say. When we fly with happiness - not so much. Therefore, most works of art have been and will be "lean" to sadness. For example, a "sarabande" - a work used by many composers, a story of our most personal balance and forgiveness, played mostly at funerals - is one of the most beautiful things I've heard.
Such works of art are very exciting because we can relive this story. And when you have experienced the pain of someone, they are forever close to you. Melancholy is not something scary. We have it, we look at it in ourselves, we give ourselves love to be saved, and we place it somewhere for another to come.
Should we expect a new exhibition soon? What is your theme or direction of drawing at the moment? Of course, if you want to open the "door" and issue something "hidden" so far, which is yet to come ...
You find me on the threshold of personal changes, which, no doubt, will affect the professional. I am currently working on new things. Recently, a desire to paint natural elements appeared in me, which is new to me. But a lot of work is waiting for me until it's time for a new exhibition!
Thank you for this conversation and see you again! :)
The poem "Rondo XXI" by Prof. Tsocho Boyadzhiev, on which Ani Petrova is constructing her last exhibition:
Even tearing a shoe basket in his wanderings
man is constantly circling around his heart
he does not deny himself, and he does not depart
even tearing a shoe basket in his wanderings
so the rondo's loop is waiting quietly
to step into it with the unyielding foot of her "forever"
because he would tear off his shoe basket in the long wanderings
man is constantly circling around his heart.
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