2019 „Yonko’s Delights” – INTRO Gallery, Sofia
CONCEPT, SOUGHT AFTER EFFECT
In the 21st century contemporary art is acknowledged by man as much a consumer item as any other product in ordinary daily life. The fact that art is absorbed to such an extent by the capitalist model, that at the moment it is enjoying the status of a luxury article is a good reason for thinking that art has become popular, fashionable and liked. As part of quick consumer culture glutted with the global hunger for authenticity and the search for experience even from an aesthetic point of view when making purchases art turns out to be a very convenient destination.
On the other hand contemporary man manages to break every cultural code of any” visual product” of contemporary art for the simple reason that his consciousness already operates with these images. They are part of his daily life in a certain form.
All this imposes a particular attitude of the artists themselves to their work. The aspiration for satisfying the hunger for authenticity of contemporary public, to ensure them visual proficiency and a unique experience of mastering of contemporary art images and objects has led to some sustainable trends in visual culture.
The challenge for senses, even the general ones like the sense of taste or tasting through the eyes, endorphin happiness, sweetness, pleasure, desire for touch or for sampling are part of the aims of the project “Yonko’s Delights” which the author sets himself completely intentionally.
Yonko Vasilev YO\KO, in my opinion, solves several very important tasks by this project, which definitely is beyond the expectations of the contemporary art consumer. In the first place, the author very successfully conceptualizes colour in his collection of objects.
Milky pink, the colour fuchsia as well as lemon yellow and the so called by the fashion industry colour mustard successfully play the role of a conceptual frame of the whole project “Yonko”s Delights”. What could be softer, more sugary and tempting than the brocade sprinkled pink? Wouldn’t smoothly laid lemon yellow in some key objects cause salivation combined with the sense of freshness? Direct, literal, but rational and easthetisized are the visual suggestions of art as sweet highly aesthetic food for consciousness in objects like “The Ice cream” the basic object-cake made from toys and foam “Yonko’s Delight”, “The Egg”- the functional chair-cakes which speak in the language of design.
A particular place in the series of objects is taken by “The Duck David Bowie” and “A Cat on a tray”, which directly create a sweet aeshetitized environment with the classic combination of brocade pink and white, plastic processed with spray coating and incorporation of ready-made objects into one another by moulding and transformation. The sought after dialogue with the viewer in the form of “pun”- allow me to use this jargon - is part of the artistic manner of Yonko Vasilev YO\KO in almost every project of his. The attempt to literally “swallow art” is an unavoidable gesture that the viewer makes unwillingly going through this peculiar food for consciousness, which we cannot but notice is based on plenty of trends in colour in visual culture, design and good practices in modern art worldwide.
Тext by Ina Trifonova
2018 „Yonko’s Ark” – One Monev Gallery, Sofia
IT WAS THE COLOR IN THE BEGINNING
We live in a kaleidoscopic world in which the influence of color is important for our perceptions, our communication, emotions and relationships. The history of color is linked not only with various aspects of our life, but with the evolution of mankind. The theme has been thoroughly examined by a number of scientists and one of the most remarkable thesis in the field is the one by Michel Pastoureau, the only person who has dared to write the “The History of Color” up to the moment.
EVERYTHING STARTS WITH BLUE
If the history of color starts with the red, the one of “Yonko’s Ark” begins with blue. Why? Because this is the color of true evolution! In Ancient Greece and Rome they couldn’t name it, but nowadays it is the favourite color of most mankind.
Sailing to the beaches of Venice as Azure Blue from the mines of Afghanistan, it makes everything visible and untouchable: the sky is blue, but can you reach it? No! Thus in the epoch of surrealism the blue was the color of our dreams, respectively of our reveries. One of the biggest aspirations of ours is bound up with the first sighting of the Earth from Space. Was Armstrong or Gagarin the first to see “the blue planet”? This is not a matter of discussion here, but it is a fact that in our surrounding world everything valuable is blue. And that is the basic reason to call one of the series ’ Azeruis Rising’. It stamps the innermost childish memories, objects and emotions of the author as well as his fears. Like every other color azure blue has its own demonic sides, too.
As I mentioned above, the red color comes first and is the one which man masters generally speaking. Red is the most ambivalent, though. It is the most natural, the most predictable and its ambivalence is connected with the association of it with joy and pleasure, by which it leads us straight to hell and the flames of Inferno.
Who hasn’t heard as a child about the “The little Red Riding Hood”? Yonko is not the first who asked himself why it is exactly red. It could be pink or green. There are reasons for the children from Yonko’s generation to have this inspiration. This color accompanies you a lot, because you are noticed, but it is crazy to cross the woods with a red hat on. It is dangerous and you are not in a camouflage. Literally the name ‘red’ means beautiful and that’s why most of the objects of Yonko’s Ark are filled with irony and carelessness about the subject of “beauty”. At most they are intertwined with madness and in opposition to the statement “Art is good only if it is beautiful.”
“And there you are! God demanded that Noah do something strange. He told him to build a vast coffin. This coffin was as big as a ship, but most of all it looked like an enormous, elongated chest.” No, this is not the story of “Yonko’s Ark” and the only point of tangency between Noah’s coffin and Yonko’s chest is in the fact that both objects have been conceived as safe-keeping boxes. In the concrete example with Yonko, the case in point is the legacy of the artist, what drives him to keep living.
The color blue continues having a master role pledged in the first part of the project, but there are some “funny accents” in it which accompanied the author since his childhood till the collision with the local art scene.
It is about art works such as “Chocolate Dreams”. Plastic represents the chocolate head of Georgi Dimitrov as a dessert - an ironic analogy with the sweet gossip of a whole era in which everything melted away like chocolate after the falling of the old regime.
Other works like that are the those from the “Smart is the New Sexy” series. The first one is with a subheading: Curator’s Talk: Timova & Artelina.
The second one is entitled ” Pink Freud”, in which the message is direct and apparent.
Yonko’s Ark is a treasure-house of the human path. Life in which upgrading knowledge, heritage, emotion and creativity not only build the artist’s position but also are part of his legacy for those who dream about an artistic career. And it is simple: “In order to be good at art, the most important thing is to be authentic and true to what provokes you to create!”.
Curator Tsvetelina Anastasova
2016 „Yonko’s room” - Credo Bonum Gallery, Sofia
Yonko’s Room is a standing invitation for viewers to peek into the personal space of the artist. Yonko’s studio is his living space, a reality that he constantly recreates, a collector’s boudoir and a veritable “Cabinet of curious objects” (Un cabinet de curiosités).
Those who have crossed the threshold of Yonko’s Room are bound to make the all too natural analogy with the Wall of one of the founding fathers of the French surrealism André Breton known as the Wall in the Atelier (Le Mur de l’Atelier). Breton says: „And by the way, the true meaning of a piece of art is not the meaning we want to instill in it but the meaning it assumes when juxtaposed against the environment.”
In this work Yonko Vassilev is intrigued by the transformation of already existing objects and items into pieces of art. His artistry is inspired by the ready-made movement where as Breton explains in his Abridged Dictionary of Surrealism (1929), „an object with a practical use is elevated to the position of an object of art through the sole desire of the artist”.
Yonko Vassilev composes his own works in an interesting and memorable way which unwittingly leads to the creation of a present-day Cabinet of curiosities. Every one of its objects has a voice, a character and a life of its own, yet in combination with the remaining items it becomes part of one common piece of art that best corresponds to the term in situ.
It is a challenge to remove an object without risking to ruin the entirety if the exposition. And whenever this happens the author transforms some of the already created pieces thus rearranging his room. Yonko’s curious cabinet is indeed a continuation of his daily life and a vital part of his artistic existence.
The author’s uncanny collection is not deprived of a certain taste for the eclectic and a liking for the unseen. The signs and symbols of Bulgaria’s recent past, packaged in the austere and unfriendly socialist aesthetics are in direct contact with present-day materials and objects. Thus, Yonko not only brings the past back in focus and attempts to ‘”trade these objects off” the way the regime once bargained with human lives, but he also showcases the duality of our present – locked in between our memories and a new kind of mindset.
Please come in. The door is open…
Curator Tsvetelina Anastasova