The daughter of an art professor and former art critic at the National Gallery of Bulgaria, Gergana Zmiicharova, based in the city of Pernik, paints, clicks and acts. She had her first exhibition at the age of 16 and later studied at the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts and the New Bulgarian University in Sofia.
As a theatre actress, she has performed in plays such as “Joan of Arc” and “Romeo and Juliet”. In the capacity of a painter, she likes creating bright and colourful psychological pieces. When into photography, she mostly explores literary narratives. “When I was younger,” she says, “the prevailing topics of my work (photography and fine arts both) wеre simple things like family, kids, everyday life, love. I used to do a lot of works based on fairytales, stories, songs. Now, I have probably became more mature. The main topics of my art are much more focused on my inner life. My newest works are pretty surrealistic. There are a lot of artists who inspire me – Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Frida Khalo, René Magritte, Grant Wood, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Fernando Botero in fine arts. Erwin Olaf, Eugenio Recuenco, Pierre et Gilles, Annie Leibovitz in photography.”
She adds, “I believe that the main sense of art is not giving the people some message, but involving the audience in some new experience. It could be a mental, a philosophical or an emotional experience. I just believe that every piece of art is some kind of a door – a door to hope, a door to peace, a door to sadness or a new door to oneself. That’s the way I feel standing in front of a good piece of art. That is what I want my art to be for the others.”
The influence of Bulgarian culture, although not too obvious, is certainly present in Gergana’s art. “You know,” she explains, “we’ve got a lot of folktales and folk myths which are very close to the ‘magical realism’ of Spanish and Mexican literature. Here in Bulgaria the main religion is mixed with those magic myths of amazing creatures living on the border line of our world and the netherworld – invisible vampires stealing young girls from their families, wood nymphs dancing with men to death, boogies eating little kids, etc. So, I’m for sure a product of that way of perceiving the world.”
You can learn more about Gergana’s work on her Facebook (www.facebook.com/zmiicharova/) and Saatchi Art (www.saatchiart.com/gerganazmiicharova) pages. A collection of her paintings and photographs – old and new works – is below. All images used with permission.