The Beautiful Song of Silence
By Assoc. Prof. Hristo Manolakev
In the 90s, Andrey Yanev’s paintings were inhabited by bizarre and incorporeal cloaks, swinging in the frenzied rhythm of a dance never danced, the lush decorative fabrics and rugs swirled in the melody of invisible song. This fairytale storyline in color and motion resounded with pain for our forgotten native land. His woolen cloaks emerged as a surprisingly provocative metaphor, pitting memory against universal modernity. Post-modern deconstruction of the body and attire allowed the artist to create his idiosyncratic signature style, thus conceptually redefining folk art.
Although he has mastered this new subject Andrey Yanev has not succumbed to the temptation to engage in a primitive imitation game with tradition and in the late 90s he started to rediscover anthropomorphic signs.
The dramatic dance of the cloaks was muted by the heavy steps of large male and female bodies painted in inadvertently dark hues. The contrast was impressive and even depressing. Abruptly the song ceased, the sound of color receded and the idyl disappeared with the rugs. The reconstructed body was a metaphor of hope, while the ethereally earthy figures remained sullenly silent.
It is hard to say to what an extent the artists was provoked by the transcedental confluence of centuries in the short-lived moment of the turn of the century. We should remember that he is an intuitive artist and that from this moment on he has persistently tried to divine the metaphysical story of that silence. Compositions of three figures at most became increasingly shorn of adornment, the background was intentionally freed of a plot and became very general, vanished spatial and temporal benchmarks outlined the conceptual motion of the bodies, universally present at the beginning and in the timelessness of eternity. In fact, this “eternal” philosophical discourse between man and time, man and memory and internalization have intrigued Andrey from the outset of his individual creative endeavor following graduation from the Academy. In those days he was eager to draw our attention to his dedication to “grand themes”, while today we witness a non-intrusive, managed philosophical inclination. That is so because a problem lurks beyond the familiar expressive plasticity of pristine volumes and simple coloration. And that is the meaning of art. These seemingly familiar bodies are beautiful in their biblically forlorn contemplation as they force us to listen to the wisdom of silence. In art it is most difficult to attain that elevating chime of the ordinary and the excruciatingly obvious. There are no flat metaphors here and crass slogans, trite ideals and pseudo-modern beautification. The faces suggest psychological commiseration, the figures are frozen in thought about some issue surpassing the mundane – every now and then they quizzically peer into the unknown above, mentally shouldering our anxiety and pain, fears and hopes, or with eyes downcast in prayer they divine truths beyond the reach of those of us who are guilty of trespass.