THIS IS NOT I!
Neno Belchev :: 01.04 - 20.04 :: 2015
THIS IS NOT I!
Moralizing action-exhibition of Nэno Bэlchэv
The exhibition presents the latest “research” on the “cartoon tendency” in the painting of Neno Belchev, showing mostly new but also some old works (from 2004 to 2015). These are pictures that have not been shown so far, which depict cartoon characters and historical figures as protagonists or use the same language of expression as cartoons and Internet culture do. However, these paintings have another unusual subject-matter – they express to some extent the author’s reflections on some problems and/or thoughts just like that, in general … thoughts – sometimes political, sometimes – self-mocking, philosophical-irrational and/or humorous, in terms of a tendency, refracted through the “prism” of the author’s understanding of art on the whole. In other words, firstly, these are “Nenovian” pictures and only then, secondly, these are pictures influenced by cartoons and Internet culture, which, in turn, should not surprise you if you know Neno Belchev as an artist and a person. He is one of men, whose “ax does not chop twice in the same place”, therefore, he has not cut any tree to this very moment, and for this reason he does not enjoy the respect of Canadian lumberjacks. A fact that should not bother us.
As we have already said, and probably you will see, in most cases, these works are a kind of portraits of beings, who “voice” a “thought” placed in a “balloon”. We have already noted that those, let’s call them “thoughts” bear a political, poetic, humorous or purely irrational message.
But the major question that the author raises or rather that, on what the author reflects, does not lie in that direct message. Yes, it is also important but Neno “wraps” his works in layers of meanings and levels of intelligibility. Therefore, the direct message, together with the reflections of pop culture, is only the first, the most superficial layer, which aims to attract audiences to the work. (It is the cheese in the trap.)
As we do not read books because of the letters in them, similarly, we do not look at pictures just for the brush strokes on canvas. And, as sometimes, what is between the lines is more important than the written text, equally, that what is seen on the picture is not the most important, but rather what lies beyond.
From ‘Nenovian” perspective, the problem for most of us is that we just reach the first layer of the message only, not so often the second one, and only some people get to the next deeper level of understanding of a work. Perhaps, we shall easier conceive that if we compare art work with an onion and the notional layers with onion flakes, the more notional layers-flakes we peel, the more our eyes are filled with tears, they get blurred and our tears prevent us from seeing the core. Therefore, this exhibition should be seen as an attempt (tearful) to reach and cross over the border of the next much deeper layer of understanding of art as a phenomenon. In short, art is beyond the direct message!
The art-works in this exhibition are created with the generous support of CEC (Citizen Exchange Council) Artslink foundation and KALA Art Institute, during the residency programme: CEC Artslink Fellowship Award in KALA Art Institute, Berkeley, California, USA / October – November 2014.
2014 – 2015