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Boyan | Being There

October 28 - December 18, 2021

Solo Show: Boyan

Curator: Maya Bamberger

Exhibition Catalogue


Gallery Talk: 28.11.21 12:00


In 2015, one and a half years after moving with his family to his hometown of Vidin, in northern Bulgaria, Boyan’s exhibition "The Balloon Catcher'' was presented at RawArt Gallery, featuring wild legends painted into his childhood landscapes. The current show, which opens a few weeks after the family's return to Israel, features large-scale paintings that trace the family's life in Vidin's 'parallel universe.'


In Christ on the Sea of Galilee, after a painting by Jean Delacroix of the same title, the family is depicted sailing in the middle of the sea. The painter takes on the role of the leader, navigating the ship to a safe shore while documenting the voyage on canvas. The paintings' protagonists - his partner and his two children - star in the exhibition’s paintings as they drift between realistic spaces and fantastic narratives. These are not portraits from observation but; they are pictorial compositions constructed in the process. Same as with  the attributes of Greek gods, or Christian saints, each painting begins with an inner feature of its protagonist that finds a visual hold in facial features or body postures. Thus a painterly negotiation evolves between them, in which the intimate familiarity gradually makes the subject recognizable, and at the same time radicalizes and externalizes his character.


In Marie Antoinette, the painter's partner's affection for flowers bursts out and is celebrated in decorations enriched with patterned textiles, with the Royal Gardens of Luxembourg in Paris visible through the window behind her. In Dr. Dolittle, his daughter's love of animals is embodied in the entourage of wildlife, consisting of the family's rooster, a pet snake, and Dürer's young hare.


The painter's inspirations include medieval painting, treasures from flea markets, and the colorful and eclectic richness of a Gucci fashion production. These are organized in the painting through his love for the Picasso distortion. Loyalty to truth and ugliness captured on first contact with the canvas often incites the resentment of the painted subjects. Boyan talks about his work process: "Someone once told me I was drawing my own mistakes. When I build a painting, I may be mistakenly painting a face gray. It's easy to put pink over it, but I choose not to fix it. I'm just painting what happened. People forget that painting is painting."



The show is accompanied by a facsimile edition of a booklet created by the painter for his daughter Sophia.



Born in Bulgaria in 1975, Boyan lives and works in Israel and Bulgaria. He studied at the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem and the SVA in New York. Boyan has had solo exhibitions at the Herzliya Museum, Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York, RawArt Gallery, Sommer Gallery, and 39 Gallery in Tel Aviv. His works have been shown internationally in group exhibitions in venues such as the Herzliya Biennial, The Haifa Museum, MoBY (Museums of Bat Yam), and Peter Klichman Gallery in Zurich. His works are included in private and public collections in the UK, Switzerland, the US, and Israel. 



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