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"The World according to Boyko" 3 april - 31 may 2011, Josephine Gallery - Naarden, Holland

Boyko Kolev: One painting may hold many stories.
Interview by Daniela Gortcheva

Can a discarded broken umbrella tell the whole story?
How about the alarm clock, who’s arrows pass midnight (or point 12 at noon)?
What does it mean to be a hyperrealist? Maybe it’s the ability to spot that an angel has just past this way, while drinking your coffee on a terrace in a Parisian coffee house? And prove the seen to the viewers? Perhaps being a hyperrealist means having an eye for detail, sense of humor and imagination, to show the world from a new perspective?
Better yet let’s ask maestro Boyko Kolev himself, the author of these odd and wonderful paintings, in which two burned with passion matches’ kiss.

There is a tale of the grape drawn by a Greek painter, which seemed so real that even the birds were fooled and flue upon it. Is this the place to search for the roots of hyper-realism or are they in the modern Pop-art and what are hyper and photo-realism?

Hyper-realism or photo-realism in the representational art is a term, originated in the 60’s in the States. This is a style that evolves from the Pop-Art direction; you know Andy Warhol and his “Coca Cola” as well as the tomato soup cans “Campbell’s”. Hyper-realism does not require photography as a prime source. One of the first American hyperrealists draws colorful photographic negative in huge sizes. In photography we have a two dimensional product, achieved from a three dimensional one. What I am trying to achieve is to turn the two dimensional piece back into a three dimensional trough the richness of the oil paint, which is incomparably thicker than any photo paper. About the “grape” story, when later on Zeuxis from Heraclea drew a boy with grape, he was disappointed to see the birds, attracted to the grape weren’t afraid to approach the painting. Then he realized he couldn’t draw boys as well as he could grape.

Maybe the grape was so tempting that the birds overcame their fear by the boy.

Ha-ha of course. But obviously the painter was exacting towards himself to come to this conclusion.

What is the difference between hyper-realism and surrealism? Of course I realize that all boundaries are provisionally placed and creators have fun with discarding them while critics attempt to intern order trough borders. And even though?

For me above all surrealism is irony. Influenced by Freud, surrealism claims to abolish control out of the mind. Actually I don't know what art critics have to say on this matter. I try to entertain myself. For example by drawing aggression upon an umbrella. If you think about it - aggression upon something that protects you.

I hadn't realized it refers to a broken by anger umbrella. I saw it more so as a trustworthy servant that died in battle with the wind, discarded on the street like an useless belonging. So it look like we have one painting and at least two stories?

One painting may hold many stories. In this case I was provoked by the anger we sometimes hold towards our closest people. And that’s not good. That’s why the painting is called “Wrath”. But I don’t like directing the viewers and of course - it may be perceived as a discarded umbrella.

Are there art styles that fall among the category “tacky” or is this more dependable on the artist, rather than the style? Because, if we adopt the idea that hyper-realism is on the edge of falling in that category while pleasing the taste of the mass, doesn’t it depend on the craftsmanship of the artist to escape the sub water reefs and create real art, and not only please the sentimental whims of the buyers?

Any style may become “tacky” and anything tacky can develop into a style. If an artist is both a creator and an aesthete he won’t convey tacky. History remembers a sentimental whim of a rich Florence tradesman, who ordered a portrait of his pregnant wife. The result is Mona Lisa. Therefore even a platitudinous errand can be a cause for a masterpiece.

How do you manage painting the matter so well that it imitates the genuine?

Do I? I don’t know. I’m glad when people like my paintings, but I’m very hard on myself. Maybe that’s what drives me. If I had drawn the perfect painting, maybe there wouldn’t be a “next one” that is inspired form something I failed to obtain with the previous.

There is a painting of yours that has an interesting story. It shows a boat folded from a newspaper. In you website you specify that the boat is made out of an issue of The Syracuse Herald from the 15th of April, 1912, which falsely stated that 1300 passengers on the Titanic were saved.

This is the first page of that newspaper I stumbled across in internet. I printed and folded it into a boat, which I painted. In the upper end there is a torn map of New York. Subsequently I realized how devastating that story truly is. Actually this painting was ordered by a girl that simply wanted some kind of a boat.

The apple – red or green, is often seen in your work, sometimes as a display with an attached specification note: “This is not a bible story”. At war with the cliché – is that the eternal faith of the artist?

“At war” is harsh to say, but if an artist uses clichés, what kind of an artist is he? In this comedic painting the apple is a museum specimen because of its beauty and is accompanied by an inscription, so nobody confuses it with an apple from a biblical story. Maybe it should have had a sequel - “Dear consumers do not eat the specimen.”. Art needs space for irony and for different interpretations and points of view, space for parody of the clichés. I aim towards and hope that my paintings provoke smiles.

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