Credo Bonum Gallery
January 18 – February 17, 2012
Opening on January 18 (Wednesday), 6:30 pm
"…Each memory a person had, such as the memory of the last time you saw your grandmother, or the memory of the fragrance of a gardenia you sniffed when you were sixteen, was believed to have a specific location somewhere in the brain cells. Such memory traces were called engrams, and although no one knew what an engram was made of – whether it was a neuron or perhaps even a special kind of molecule – most scientists were confident it was only a matter of time before one would be found."
Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe
The exhibition presents RASSIM's latest works. The series comprises five engrams sized 113?150 cm and two self-portraits, painted on paper using motor oil. RASSIM's first attempts with this material date back to 2010 when he used motor oil to paint a portrait of Formula One champion Ayrton Senna, Frank Williams and Eddie Jordan. Later, RASSIM develops the technique into a different concept, relating it to the theory of engrams and the topic of memory. Oil paintings, which the artist creates using not oil paints but motor oil, also is part of this research into the indelible – even on purely organic level – mark of memories in the present. This substitution has its effect on the mind, burdened by its earlier experience, it reverses the entire evolutional process, reaching as far back as to the organic matter that has decomposed in petroleum. The sentimental scenes, the romantic subjects of the series reproduce certain compositional patterns that unlock shared memory, which is linked to both personal experience and the conventional concept of art, of oil painting and the way it should look like.
However, using this material the artist has eliminated even the smallest risk of falling into stereotype. He has removed all the characteristics of "the artistic" in that conventional sense and has modernised them through the added value of the "black gold" he uses to create his works. He has stripped the memory of personal sentiments in order to turn it into the most convincing image of engrams.
His paintings behave just like engrams – beautiful and strange, living cells of memory irreversibly embedded in the foundation.
Krassimir Krastev – RASSIM (born in 1972) is among the most prominent heralds of a radical change in the concept of art in the Bulgarian art scene during the 1990s. His most popular series is "Corrections", in which the artist uses his own body to reproduce current social stereotypes – the typical attractive macho man seen in ads, the muscular bodybuilder, the junkie, the "other". This concept has turned him into an emblem of not only the Bulgarian but also of the international art scene. The self-portrait with a dumbbell included in the present exhibition is part of this series and multiplies an earlier image of the artist.