The exuberant personality of painter Radostina Doganova, two countries in her life, Bulgaria and Slovakia, the beauty of nature, national culture and the Balkan temperament, her search for identity and social position, reflection on her life and original artistic expression are the factors from which everything evolves. They lead to the understanding of her pictures, of the rich meaning refining her abstract paintings, landscapes and figurative works: her highly original body of work.
The spontaneous painting of Radostina Doganova displays a continuous dynamic record of turbulent emotions and their silence, the transitional periods of contemplation and her grasp of situations. It is an extraordinary record of her life and creative path. Every part, like Bedřich Smetana’s Moldau, has a different energy and a corresponding facture: beginning with focused planar miniature drawings or tranquil monochrome structures, continuing with sweeping meditative landscapes and finally culminating in dramatic impasto and multi-coloured compositions of the undulated surface of a fast-flowing river.
A variety of visual depictions may give the impression that Radostina’s facture is inconsistent and she always paints differently. When examining her work with a detached view, however, it is apparent that her painting is lively and elemental, like a whirlwind of activity, sometimes heightened, at other times calmer, gradually featuring all genres, styles and colouristic forms of expression in different order with slight modifications and shifts. It depends on her personal disposition, whether she begins painting with a preconceived idea, prepares the composition and the spatial layout of a particular format, and then focuses on exploring the creative thought, on detail. On the other hand, however, when her intuition results from a sudden rush of emotion, then she is not too closely involved, and can freely pour the unbound creative energy on the canvas and beyond its boundary with sweeping gestures, fingers or a spatula. Sometimes, however, she needs to closely perceive the process of painting, to proceed in a focused and concentric manner (in round formats) to create planar or relief spatial structures. She develops one thought or emotion in small series, and paints until she feels that she expresses the idea in the way she imagines.
Colour, although it is only mentioned at this stage, is the most important, apparently genetically conditioned expressive, emotional and communicative element of Radostina’s painting. Her palette changes, like the mimicry of an octopus, with the character and expressiveness of the depicted theme. It oscillates in both directions on a scale from expressive, warm, intense and contrasting colours to cold spatial tones.
The creative dynamism of Radostina Doganova continuously takes her to explore new approaches and possibilities of visual depiction: the latest addition to the time-lapse interaction with the memory of the image and the process of its creation. Gradual layering of pigment and its texture creates the motion effect produced by gravity in the process of drying.
She expresses the dimension of time and the memory of the transcendental potential of the old Orthodox Byzantine icons imprinted with the touch of fingers of believers in gold leaf variants. Her paintings have multiple layers, meanings, and even the colour changes with their location and incident light.
In terms of content and form, two unrealistic landscapes are also new in her work, having an imaginary connection between the distinctive features of her two homelands – the sea and mountain peaks. The round composition is depicted dramatically and “silently” from the perspective of a quiet flight in a dream above the landscape.
All good things come in threes – at the time of movement restriction and personal isolation, Radostina created a series of round objects with the motif of an orchid with ambiguous meaning, including an erotic connotation, “drawn” by miniature spatial structures of dried pigment – the colour and shape reminiscent of nicely arranged cream desserts. Thus, the previously applied, slightly modified creative and mentally calming process copies the silent and paralysed situation in the whole society.
Radostina Doganova exhibits her works when she feels that she has narrated and painted one, somewhat specific group of works. Its character and tone is always reflected in the exhibition title – Transformations, Searching for Identity, Other Joy, Dolce vita and currently Felicitas. She conveys the feeling of happiness from work, from the possibility of freely creating and evoking optimistic mood. It expresses RADOSTINA as we know her.
Xénia Lettrichová, PhD.
(Curator’s text for the exhibition Felicitas in Bratsialava 2021)
Born in Dobrich on 15 August 1975 in Bulgaria.
1989 – 1994 High School of Fine Arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
1994 – 1996 National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria
1996 – 2001 Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia
In the same Academy she receives her doctoral degree in 2010 ( ArtD.).
2019 – MEMORY OF THE PICTURE, Gallery Guba, Bratislava, Slovakia
2019 – DOLCE VITA, Gallery Contrast, Sofia, Bulgaria
2019 – SEEKING IDENTITY, Haus Wittgenstein,Vienna, Austria
2018 – SEEKING IDENTITY, Bulgarian Embassy, Bratislava, Slovakia
2018 – FACE TO FACE, Exhibition with Stanislava Stoyanova, A Cube Contemporary Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria
2017 – DÉBOUTONNER LE CORPS, French Cultural Institute, Bratislava
2017 – INA RADOST/ OTHER JOY, Palffy Palace, Bratislava, Slovakia
2015 – FEMALE, Gallery Fines, Sofia, Bulgaria
2015 – MY RIVER, MY DANUBE, exhibition during the workshop organised by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, Croatian State Archives, Zagreb, Croatia
2015 – KUNSTSALON Aleksandra Zeddies, Ljubliana, Slovenia
2015 – Symposium Ceramicum, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
2014 – EXHIBITION 1+1, City Art Gallery, Varna, Bulgaria
2014 – EXHIBITION 1+1, Gallery of the Union of Bulgarian Artists, Sofia, Bulgaria
2013 – CONVERSION, Gallery SPP, Bratislava. Slovakia
2012 – KUNSTSALON Aleksandra Zeddies, Münsing/ Munich, Germany
2011 – REFLECTIONS, City Art Gallery, Dobritch, Bulgaria
2010 – EXPANSION, Walter Gallery, Bornheim – Waldorf, Germany
2010 – NUANCE, Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia
2008 – PAINTING, Gallery GUBA, Bratislava, Slovakia
2007 – NEW PAINTINGS, Gallery Ottoglassbau, Hainburg a/D., Austria
2006 – SOLO SHOW, Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Berlin, Germany
2006 – RADOST INA, SPP Gallery, Bratislava, Slovakia
1997 – DRAWINGS, Museum Nitra, Slovakia
1995 – PAINTING & DRAWINGS, Sity Art Gallery, Balchik, Bulgaria
2018 – LIPSTICK ON THE GLASS, Częstochowa, Poland
2018 – 10th INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF MINIATURE ART, Częstochowa, Poland
2018 – PAINTING SYMPOSIUM, Hradek, Pilsen (Plzeň), Czech Republic
2017 – FRAGMENTIERTE ERZAHLUNGEN, SOFIA – BERLIN, Interantional exhibitions of Bulgarian and German artists
2015 – 19 – INTERNATIONAL PAINTING AND SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM, Samokov, Bulgaria (founder and manager)
2015 – INTERNATIONAL ART RESIDENCE, Sarecha, Jodhpur, India
2015 – SYMPOSIUM CERAMICUM, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
2015 – NATION ON THE CROSSROADS, International project, Berlin, Vienna, Bratislava
2014 – DIPLOMATIC ART, International exhibition, Timisoara, Romania
2013 – DIALOGUE, Hungarian Cultural Center and Bulgarian Cultural Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia
2012 – SO CLOSE, SO FAR…, Contemporary Bulgarian Artists Abroad, National Palas of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria
2010 – WHAT HAPPENS AFTER 20 YEARS?, City Art Gallery, Dobrich, Bulgaria
2010 – PAINTIG STUDIO, The National Cultural Center, Bratislava, Slovakia
2009 – 1st DANUBE BIENNALE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, Museum Danubiana, Bratislava, Slovakia
2001 – PAINTING STUDIO, Gallery Marat, Bratislava, Slovakia
2001 – PAINTING AND GLASS, Gallery in Mojmirovce Castle, Slovakia
1999 – PAINTING, Medium Gallery in Bratislava; City Art Gallery in Dolny Kubin, Nitra, Slovakia
1996 – STUDIO 13, Gallery of the Ministry of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria
Works of Radostina Doganova are parts of public colections of National Art Gallery in Sofia, Bulgaria, Collection of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, also private colections in France, USA, Germany, England, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia.