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Christo Kuzmanov: “Art is my destiny.”

April 11, 2009 by · 5 comments

Vanya Nikolaeva’s interview with the artist Christo Kuzmanov

Christo Kuzmanov was born in Sofia, but has been living and creating art for 18 years in Sweden. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries in the USA, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Bulgaria. He has taken part in charitable exhibitions and many connoisseurs own pieces of his art.
Christo Kuzmanov is planning an exhibition at the “Seasons” gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria in the end of the summer.

How does it feel to be a Bulgarian artist in Sweden?

I feel all right as a Bulgarian artist living in Sweden, but I’d feel better in Bulgaria. I can’t compare my situation with those of Bulgarian artists; I have not lived and worked in Bulgaria for 20 years. Compared to other EU countries, the situation of the artists in Sweden is not the most privileged. Swedish people are more pragmatic and rational and it seems like for them, art stays in a secondary place.

They mainly appreciate their authors and those who have proven themselves in the world market, mostly in the USA. I have been asked many times whether I learned painting in Sweden…how else can I explain the fact that I am a good artist!

What’s the most important thing we should know about Christo Kuzmanov?

I don’t have so much to be proud of except for the fact that I am one of a small number who can make a living just by doing art. For some of them this is happiness, for others – it is a curse, but for me, it is destiny.

What is your pursuit?

I am in pursuit of the perfection of being imperfect…as Oscar Wilde has said. I would like to create paintings that are expressive enough so they can start their own life on the wall of a rich connoisseur!

What are the most precious moments for you as an artist?

To be an artist is more about vocation than occupation, but when we are talking about the most precious moments, working on a painting helps you to forget completely about the world around you, to forget about yourself and about time. The nature of the creative process, with which the artist sometimes gets in touch in such a powerful way, is so different from everyday life experiences that it is beyond description.

It explains in a way the sacrifices an artist is willing to take, sometimes even approaching total nihilism.

What does the art give and take from you?

I think answering the previous question explains to a certain degree what I am getting spiritually from art. If you succeed in marketing your name, you can realize yourself as an artist and make a good living. But if you fail in this, sometimes it’s better to cut your ear off as the colleague Van Gogh did to be able to continue with his drawings. I still have both my ears.

What’s the biggest difficulty in painting nude bodies?

It is easy if you know how to do it. It is like making love – some do it naturally and are very good at it, others not…but the judgment is always made by those on the opposite side!

How do the viewers accept your paintings?

I have gotten various opinions about my paintings – from “blunt pornography” to the biggest compliments. For me, it is always more important that a painting is perfect and conveys its own spirit and power, because that inevitably causes some response.

What do you dream about?

I dream of eternal life. I believe the time we have is not enough to realize ourselves as we are and as we would like to be.

When and where did your first exhibition take place and what memories do you have of it?

My first one-man show was at a café in Goteborg in 1991, if I recall correctly. I placed the paintings the day before the exhibition opened. A few hours before the exhibition, the owner of the café called me very upset to tell me that one of my paintings was stolen right in front of her eyes. A client got the painting from the wall and just ran out of the café. Unfortunately, the painting was never found, nor was it insured. At first I felt flattered in a way – obviously somebody’s desire to possess my painting was so strong it urged him to commit such a thing.

Later I realized that what happened was rather a prophecy. In 1994 and 1998 more than 50 of my paintings got stolen from the studio. Maybe I am not the best selling artist in Sweden, but surely I am the most robbed one.

What is success for you?

So far for me, everything has been relative and temporary. But perhaps success is finally on its’ way to me.

What is coming up from Christo Kuzmanov in 2009?

Hopefully I am going to have the inspiration and the opportunity to finish a few projects which I have already started. One of them is called “Art Assassination” – there is no connection to a real assassination, it is rather about investigating art “assassinations”. You can find more on my official web site .

Christo Kuzmanov Exhibitions

Skandinavia Gallery – Gothenburg, Sweden
Montserat Gallery, Agora Gallery – New York, USA
ArtNow Gallery, C&CO Art Room – Sweden
The Art Museum – Desember Salong 1994 – Gothenburg, Sweden
A-Gallery – Gothenburg, Sweden
Archeological Museum Varna – 1999, Bulgaria
Aktiv Art – 2001, Bulgaria
Bulgarian Embassy – 2006, Stockholm, Sweden
Gothenburg Art Fair – 2007, Sweden
Artviile – 2007, Copenhagen, Denmark
BG Cultural Center – Berlin, Germany
Artville Berlin 2008, Germany
Gallery Backlund – 2008, Gothenburg, Sweden

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