VIENNA. Reality, social, political, public-spirited, realities conveyed through the media are, since the onset of the new millenium, of increasing interest to the artists. To concern herself with reality has always been self-evident to Darina Peeva, as the replicated, published images of printed graphic art provoke such examination, owing to their characteristics. One may also put it this way: artists who intend not only to indulge in formal experiments but intend to send messages, concerning the world, out into the world, turn to printed graphic art.
Peeva’s present exhibitions do not illustrate certain aspects or matters of reality, but ask for the ways to reflect reality in images. The question one has to ask oneself when confronted with a realistic picture, or a picture which indicates to reproduce reality, is: Is this fiction or a configured reproduction of reality?
Out of her curiosity, her interest in reality, Peeva traveles a lot, participates in international workshops, worked in various teams and groups, and collaborated with professional printers in their studios. This artistic tenor is deeply rooted in printed graphic art and its history of technical and aesthetic cooperation of individual masters of their art.
For over 15 years, after having received several awards in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian artist Darina Peeva frequently stays Austria. Already her early works deal with sociopolitical issues which Darina Peeva presented in excellently printed and aesthetically extravagant sheets.
Topically, Darina Peeva covers a relatively vast field. I only want to mention a few key aspects which were presented in exhibitions in Vienna: large-size offset lithographies on genetic engineering received an award at the Cracow Triennial 2009, and consequently were presented in Vienna at the exhibition „multiple matters”at the Kuenstlerhaus. In 2010, Darina Peeva presented technically elaborate etchings and lithographies on family issues at the passage gallery of the Vienna Kuenstlerhaus. Small-size and delicately coloured, almost unobtrusive, however, very impressive etchings on war toys were also presented in Vienna, among others at KroArt and Manfred Flener’s myart-Gallery.
In the series „Unnatural desasters” from 2012, Darina Peeva put animals, symbolizing innocence and helplessness, in dangerous, warlike situations, to picture the increasing number of „unnatural” catastrophes, induced by politicians and rulers. In the latest Vienna triennial, in.print.out 2013, Darina Peeva presented the series „Impossible connections”, where she combines etching and lithography.
In 2013, Peeva presented photographics on buoys and other boundary marks, together with collages by Georg Lebzelter, at Kunstraum Arcade, Moedling (Lower Austria). She gathers stimuli to further develop her art from stays at centers for printed graphic art in New York, Finland, Belgium, and at the cultural workshop Uferstoeckl at the Danube, where she, together with Rudi Hoerschlaeger, the printer in residence, developed a rather curious method of manual offset printing.
Absolutely symptomatic for her aesthetic tenor is the printed graphics which Darina Peeva created for the offset print section „The meditative Macaque” of Um:Druck. The graphics had the title „political & poetical”.
Presently, Darina Peeva exhibits her latest lithographies „Holograms” (until 27 February 2015) which she created for the Renner Institute (Karl-Renner-Institut; 1120 Wien, Khleslplatz 12). The issue are the various views of the world, optical illusions, light effects, and the possibilities to manipulate images via computer programs. This series, especially created for the Renner Institute, generates an easily interpreted gaphic image, in up-to date technology, of McLuhan’s thesis: „The medium is the message”.
Holography which today is used for various puposes, allows to display objects in three-dimensional, i.e. stereoscopic structures. The holographic picture, taken with laser light produces a real and a virtual image, it duplicates reality, already when generated! The beholder percepts different images, depending on his/her position. The most familiar holograms can be found on bank notes or in passports, as safety features. The hologram testifies the uniqueness, the authenticity of a document by mirroring several realities – a not unwitty phenomenon! It is not surprising that holograms may contribute to entertainment as optical decoration.
Holograms, used since the 1960ies as an artistic means of expression, continue the discourse on the media for image and reality in printed graphic art by means of modern methods. Ever since its emergence, printed graphic art pictures reality, thus creating it anew. The discovery of new continents, alien animals and plants in the 15th and 16th centuries, the research on pharmaceutically utilizable plants, the depiction of successful hunting, created images which were formative for the general conception of reality.
To depict and interpret reality was one of the two main objectives of printed graphic art, the other being to create virtual worlds and to impart them. The messages and promises of salvation in the Christophorus woodcuts (xylographs), the crucifications and pietàs of the early 15th century, of the apocalypses towards the end of the 15th century, and all the allegoric depictions during the Protestant Reformation are illustrations of ideas, arguments, beliefs, desires and fears. The matter was to cope with the real wold’s hazards, and to assert oneself in everyday life. Finally, nothing less than afterlife was the key issue. During Reformation, printed graphic art conquered the political world, as the matter of religion became a matter of political dominance.
Darina Peeva continues this tradition of printed graphic art, to depict spiritual, imaginary, dreamed-of reality, real as well as virtual. A strange shaft of light wells up from a mirror, jellyfish float above the dishes on a dresser, a roe deer stands amidst furniture, like the lion in Duerer’s etching at the feet of St. Jerome. Animals, as disquieters, natural disasters, break into interiors lovingly arranged by humans, create havoc – to finally stand around, forlorn, helpless, seeking protection. Everyday experience transformed into poetry. Peeva thus neutralizes catastrophes and near-catastrophes in a virtual, dream-like world of pleasant, almost cheerful images. Reality versus fiction: objects are not sharp-edged but composed of the horizontally spaced holograms’ layers, thus vibrating, unsettled, variable in appearance.
The holes in the pictures not only seem to permit a view into new worlds but also to be the entrance to the unknown located behind the picture. They may be the entrance holes for undreamed-of matters as well.
At the Kuenstlerhaus, Peeva presents her circular installation CPECULATION. She puts a C insted of the S. What appears to be a zeitgeisty corny joke is in reality the connection of two worlds of script. The character C is in the Cyrillic alphabet a nonvocal S. Peeva simply combines the two spheres of script into one type face, thus speculating about our customary viewpoints, which have become well-accustomed to this sort of border crossing and amalgamation. The plea to consider objects from several points of view is, at the same time, an allusion to a sloppy perception of some depicted reality. There, the function of the real mirrors which Peeva uses in her objects, as well as of the mirrored images shown in her works are those of mediators as well as of adulterators of perceptions.
Translation: Lotte Deutsch
*Philipp Maurer, Cultural Scientist, editor of Um:Druck – periodical for printed art and visual culture
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Darina Peeva is in Bulgaria and Austria based Artist, born 1972 in Bulgaria.
2007 Member Wiener Künstlerhaus, Vienna;
2002-2003 Guest auditor at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna Austria;
1999-2000 Magister Artium Illustration and book design, University V.Tarnovo, Bulgaria;
1993-1998 MA Graphics, Veliko Tarnovo University, Bulgaria;
1986-1991 School of Art.
2014 Hologramme, Karl-Rener Institut, Vienna
2012 UNNATURAL DISASTER, Gallerie G69, Graz, Austria
2010 Gallerie Hörnan, Falun, Schweden
2009 BÜCHSE der PANDORA, Galerie Forum Wels, Austria
2009 GENETIC, Passagegalerie Künstlerhaus, Austria
2008 Project QUBIK, Wiener Neustadt, Austria
2007 PERFORATION, City Galerie, Burgas, Bulgaria
2006 Museum JOURE, Graphic cabinet, Holland
2014 Tell me what you want (Darina Peewa / Michael Wegerer),
2014 New Prints 2014/Summer at IPCNY, New York
2013 in.print.out – Grafik in/auswendig, Kunstlerhaus, Vienna
2012 International Print Triennial, Krakow, Poland
2012 10th festival of contemporary art, Ptuj, Slovenija
2011 Printmaking competition, Chicago Printmakers Collaborative, Chicago
2011 open your mind, KroArt Galery, Vienna
2010 multiple matters-Grafische Konzepte, Kunstlerhaus, Vienna
2010 from A matrix, Mastna galerija, Ljubljana
2010 Recovering of Slowness, KroArt Galery,Vienna
2009 Delete, KroArt Galery, Vienna
2009 International Print Triennial, Krakow
2008 Senefelder Price competition, Germany
2007 exhibition by St.St.Kiril and Metody Foundation, National Galery, Sofia
2006 M-TEL competition-exhibition, Gallery Shipka 6, Sofia
2005 Walter Koschatzky Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Vienna
2005 26th International Biennial of Graphic Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2004 Haus Wittgenstein, Vienna
2004 4th International Triennial, Sofia
Artists in Residence
2013 WWS- New York
2011 Nelemakka Museum, Finland
2011 Kulturwerkstatt Uferstöckl, Wallsee, Austria
2009 Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium
2012 Award of the Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław,
International Print Triennial, Krakow, Poland
2010 Sekond prize, Kulturwerkstatt Uferstöckl, Wallsee, Austria
2009 Award of the Rector of the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University,
Int Print Triennial, Krakow, Poland
2009 Irene und Peter Ludwig Award, Vienna, Austria
2008 Senefelder second prize, Germany
2005 First price for graphics in the exhibition for young talents,
St.St. Kiril Metody Foundation, Sofia, Bulgaria
2004 Grand Prix-4th International Print Triennial, Sofia
1999 Special award for young graphicers of the Lion Club Baden-Helenental,
Austria at the14th International Biennial in Gabrovo , Bulgaria
City Gallery Colection, Burgas, Bulgaria;
Internationa Print Triennial Society, Krakow, Poland;
St.St. Kiril and Methody Foundation, Bulgaria.
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