„A Kind of a Curriculum Vitae” Greddy Assa at Contrast Gallery

authors: Greddy Assa

A Kind of a Curriculum Vitae

Greddy Assa at Contrast Gallery

The new Contrast Gallery opens the doors of its exhibition room to visitors with Greddy Assa and his works of art from from the end of the 1970’s to this day. One of the paintings is titled ‘A kind of a Curriculum Vitae’ and another - ‘The slope’, i.e the climbing up along a steep slope to … the top?!

Where is Greddy now? In the middle of his way up or at a short distance from reaching to the top?

The Nude Bodies exhibited in the gallery are a Homage to Dechko Uzunov – his teacher in the material and in the metaphorical sense of the word who had marked both the beginning and the direction of the artist’s journey in art. This can be easily perceived from the dazzling with their cleanness pearly hues of the large canvases; from the use of oil paint with brisk and light strokes and water-colour transparency; from the feeling of a fine art work finished in a single breath (The Island – the Maldives, 2011); from his graceful expression emanating haiku features, i.e. a laconism that still allows for multilayer perception and interpretation.

Greddy, the master of poetic expressionism, has also displayed large-format canvases most of which have never been exhibited before and have been produced in the course of the last few years. And if modern art is identified via its scarcity of devotion and sensuousness, Greddy Assa is the reverse side of the coin. His works of art are touched by his hands, his soul, by his eyes wide open for beauty and by a large doze of intelligence. I remember what Vera Nedkova said on the occasion of his exhibition at the gallery in 6 Shipka Street in April 1986: “Greddy, I like with all my body”. An elating evaluation by one of the greatest ladies and masters of Bulgarian fine art, but it was certainly not fortuitous. The works of Grеddy breathe, they give away the scent of coriander after a rain storm, of the desert haze and the whisper of sand grains in the ‘Desert’ (2014), of the coolness of the mountain in the ‘Music of the Mountain’, the sigh of abused nature and the weeping of the birch in ‘Ecology I and II’.

The art of Greddy Assa is also a 'Premonition’, as is the title given by the artist to one of his paintings. Premonition of what? Does his next painting ‘Abduction of Europa’ provide the answer? Do not look for the genuine narrative as a plot of his works and respective answer to the question. With Greddy the plot is expressed as an aspiration, as sensitiveness which is meant to protect us from the consequences of forthcoming problems and his art of painting is performed as if with the hardly perceptible stroke of a feather.

Art produced ‘When One is Strong and When One is Weak’. This is how he called his painting dedicated to Samson and Delilah. In this artistic series of allegories and metaphors we can also trace the theme of the ‘Carnival’, the participation in the show where everybody pretends to be what he/she would like to be in real life, but has achieved it only if he/she has accepted to play a part in the carnival. The artist has not omitted the theme of narcissism via his work ‘Mirror’ where a woman sees the reflection of her real self or the reflection of what she has been irretrievably transformed into.

Greddy is one of the few artists who have managed to go through life flying with joy, passion and love, even when he hurts. He is one of those, who in our confused times will take you safe through torrents, through dying nature, through reduced to ashes and disembowelled buildings; he will take you up from the bottom and flood you in light, he will make you love the Bulgarian earth scratching your soles. And he can do this via colours radiating light, via the air filling up his paintings as music.

It is not only via the display of the ‘Homage to Dechko Uzunov’ cycle that the exhibition at the new Contrast Gallery demonstrates that Greddy has not forgotten the lessons of the Maestro, i.e. to paint an environment and then add a little something for those who can perceive and interpret it; to produce the background of a painting as a clam shell with a gleam made via the stroke of a feather; to cover every small corner of the canvas as if with kisses. The new gallery has selected Greddy Assa for its opening exhibition because of his light-bearing works of art, as well as for his personal belief that ‘Art is a feast and enjoyment!’. For this reason this exhibition of the works of Greddy Assa, which can be visited from November 24, 2019 to January 29, 2017, will become a genuine ‘feast and enjoyment’ in contrast to our busy workdays, as the period includes the Christmas and New Year season. I hope that we shall enjoy the feeling!  

Axinia Dzhurova