THE “GUARDIAN ANGELS” PROJECT – A NEW ARTISTIC STEP
Prof. KRASIMIR DELCHEV /PhD, Sofia University/ about Baramó exhibition:
/gallery [a] cube contemporary, Sofia, Bulgaria, November 2022/
With her “Guardian Angels” project, Baramó develops a previous project, “The Architect”, in new directions. This is a step forward in the field of abstract-non-Euclidean-geometric and figural painting with mysterious visionary experiments.
Visible-invisible, visions (one of the titles of the composition “Week” is: “Stairs from Heaven”–with angels on Jacob’s ladder symbolically visualized!); a call from figures of electromagnetic and wavelike – vibrational nature, both tangled and untangled through means of nuanced and meditative silver-gray shining bands made from threads of light, rising from the dark blue-black background of “darkness”, from where the light is born.
Some of these “living phenomena” are covered with transparent red plaques, becoming translucent and detachable from the surface of the painting. This interactive procedure presupposes a performance with the participation of the audience as well.
The level of abstraction here is at the boundary-dissolvable in, as well as extractable from, invisibility itself. It concerns borderline-general metaphysical abstractions, symphonically and simultaneously spanning both space and time in motion, which are dynamically inhabited by various anthropomorphic and hybrid semi-etherial, magical spirits and beings.
The figurative approach is predominantly magically implied, in which defigurations, refigurations and metamorphic overflows into other images and visions are involved – apparitions are depicted approaching, staying behind, under, to the side, flying both above and below, falling through in a gravitational and sedimentic manner and otherwise flying away to who knows where. After all, there is no “Where”! The figures are not “grounded”, nor do they have any firmly set direction.They float and soar in a relativized 4th dimension, similar to etherial, wavy phenomena.
Pulsations, vibrations, refractions, perforations, gaps, spindle-shaped whirlwinds of materializing energy are especially dominant.
We are dragged into the spiral of the “imaginary” in the context of an expanding and simultaneously contracting Universe. The unceasing contours drive the imagination of the observers towards synesthesia(1) and symphonic co-creation of the figures from the point of view of the observing audience.
Novalis(2) recommends in his “fragments” that artists’ paintings are to be viewed accompanied by music, and that musical concerts should be performed in architecturally exquisite buildings with halls, decorated with inspiring paintings and sculptures.
The hybridity and mixing of the melted figures in a metamorphic manner reflects in the pluralization of the multitude of meanings, due to the relativization of the figural, presented as fragments in the abstract structure. The semantic relativization in question also arises from the joint emergence of images.
Some of the possible meanings are hinted by Baramó through the sequence of titles, which differ for each individual painting.
This polynomial effect is in reference to the multitude of names by which people refer to God.
In the ambiguity there are many symbols.
The fire (red plaques) both is, and becomes Light. The Spirits of Light and Darkness, Heat and Cold simultaneously are, and enter into, unity and struggle.
The light-like angelic figures are the embodiment of the Spirits and of the Ark(3).
All of this is reminiscent of the theosophical mysticism of Jakob Böhme(4).
It gives the impression of: metaphysical, mystical, abstract and fluid-silhouette and light-wave-like painting. Gradually unfolding, as if by unraveling with a magic spindle, knitted into threads made of etherical light-like rays, born from the ghostly voids of the Darkness, where The Spirit of God and Light itself live. According to Heidegger, “existence” as an “event”, is related to Nothingness as a perforation of “gaps” and ”cracks”, with the unhiddenness and hiddenness of the truth, which flashes in the coming and passing away of the happening and self-manifesting phenomena.
In Baramó’s paintings, the images are shown in a state of “weightlessness”, “levitation”, free and yet protected in a kind of personal anti-gravity field, as seen in the painting “The Delight of Victory”, similarly to Merkabah(5) – the miraculous chariot exalting the Old Testament prophets in the Skies, a symbol of godly strength and personal praying power.
(1) Synesthesia - means mixed perception; a state in which perceptions are associated and the sense of perception evokes in the mind at the same time another idea, from a sense that has not been stimulated.
(2) Novalis (1772-1801) - pseudonym of Friedrich von Hardenberg, who is among the most prominent representatives of early German literary romanticism.
(3) The Ark - vault, a sacred chest containing the stone tablets of God's Ten Commandments, as well as Aaron's blossomed staff and a jar of heaven's manna.
(4) Jacob Böhme (1575-1624) - German philosopher and Christian mystic, among the most prominent representatives of modern mysticism.
(5) Merkabah- in the religious beliefs it means “celestial chariot”, “chariot of the throne” or the chariot of Ezekiel; In Sufism it means a state of ecstasy.
The whole word in the language of the ancient Egyptians means spinning light, which can take the soul and the body from one world to another.
Mer- means a type of light, which rotates in itself. Ka- means spirit, in this case the human soul. Ba- means the Human body – although it could also mean the idea of Reality, which has a Spirit.
In the Torah there is a reference to Merkava (as it is written in Hebrew), which means two things: one meaning is “chariot” which is a means of transport; the other is “The throne of God”. When the two meanings are brought together then the real meaning of the word is revealed.
Dr. ANI VENKOVA [art critic] for the "Guardian Angels" project
The exhibition “Guardian Angels” is the fourth, successive stage of a long-developed project in the artist’s concept of “Sediment Process”– a visual language whose main aim is to recreate a sense of movement of three-dimensional form by painting means. But not a movement according to Newton's laws, moving an object in space and time [linear or rotational], but movement in itself, removed from the conventional notion, dissociated from materiality [although based on it]. Elitsa Baramova - Baramó brings out movement as an independent category in painting. The first stage of this long-term project is called “The Architect”– abstract compositions in acrylic and pastel, accompanied by conceptual texts. The second stage is “Passing and Remaining Landscapes.”
In the third stage – the art film “Shared Spaces”– the drawings from the first two stages are moved and soundtracked by author's texts. This results in a surreal narrative. The artist enters into a dialogue with the viewer-listener, sharing her explorations and reflections. The film is followed by a filmed performance in which the artist herself is the protagonist. The current exhibition develops and partially finalizes the experiments of the first three stages.
Numerous are the references, symbols and metaphors that Baramó embodies in each of her works. Her intuitive judgments and sensations play no less a role. The present text does not aim to trace all the associative links, and it need not. The artist leaves the viewer free to interpret and even transform the image according to one's subjective view.
Collecting and compressing knowledge and interests from the fields of painting, physics, antiquity and philosophy [Eastern and Western], Baramó creates her own interpretation of movement on a two-dimensional, static plane through vertical, horizontal and diagonal sections of a form, fragmenting it and rebuilding it from its constituent parts, adding new connections between them. By rotating the image around its axis, or around several axes, intensely changing its starting and ending points, deforming the object, she achieves dynamism and tension. Baramó makes the viewer witness a cross-section, a dissection of movement, in order to build it up again.
In order to solve the considered problem, the author uses a heuristic approach, combining rational with irrational thinking and expression, as well as logical with immediate perception.
The compositions are only visibly abstract, but materially tangible and dense images. Familiar anatomical, natural forms,
figures and elements are implied in many of them (with abstract connections between them), suggested also by the titles of each work. “In the “Guardian Angels” project, the paintings are titled with a sequence of headings. This approach identifies metamorphoses of the work, marking that multiplicity of the image capable of dialogue over time and inherent in living nature. The present concept is a development of a previous project [“The Architect”] in which a diptych of conceptual text and painting is presented: two means of expression in search of pluralism in perception, without a leading component. This process of conceptualization is further developed in the project”– says Elitsa. The palette is reduced [by literally pushing colors with Bames’ textbook plastic anatomy in the performance, part of the film “Shared Spaces”], the nature is transformed, some of the compositions are monochromatic, concentrating the viewer on the dynamics without being distracted by bright colors.
In some places, the figures are “perforated”. The holes represent a communication channel with other spaces and civilizations in search of truth. The density of the form is broken to make a connection with the invisible.
Baramó seeks a long-term communication with the viewer, enabling one’s to participate in the creative process of perception by changing the color of the image through a colored plate, mechanically detachable [this refers to the compositions “Point of View” and “Week”]. The artist titles this act “Red Room”. “ The red tone is an optical metaphor, a reference to the dark room, where the negative is transformed into a positive and where current international events are reflected, awaiting the good news.” [E. B.] Both the exhibition and the subsequent possession of her work allow for an interactive intervention.
Hinting, resembling, transforming, and creating a new reality, Baramó’s works search beyond the familiar, the visible, and the tangible, while often relying on the empirical. They are beams of sunlight illuminating the darkness, they are the drapery of ancient sculpture, they are the dance of Dervish, passionate flamenco, ecstasy, states of mind. They lead us to the knowledge of not-knowing, to self-awareness. They are a fiery eruption of a nymph, reflected in otherworldly cosmic images touched by earthly motes of dust. Fleshless angels or human beings. Or perhaps they are cosmic zebras without reflection, without mirror image, without shadow. “The shadow of the zebra has no stripes.” [René Char] . They are all that and more ...
Translated from Bulgarian by Prof.V. C. Noninski