Critique I by Prof. Chavdar Popov Ph.D

Alexander Kaprichev at the Academia Gallery of the National Academy of Arts, Sofia

12th - 28th November 2014


Alexander Kaprichev occupied quite a distinct place in our artistic culture. He can be positioned to a certain extent outside the mainstream trends of the last four decades of the 20th century. Along with that though, in his work we can certainly trace all those concerns and trends which comprise some of the most important, and moreover, avant-garde features of the outlook of the Bulgarian plastic arts from the end of the last and the beginning of the new century.

The exhibition at the Academia Gallery of the National Academy of Arts, features works created in England between 1999 and 2006. We can say that this late period of Alexander Kaprichev was a period of true creative maturity and thorough expression of his significant potential as an artist.

The large format paintings reveal simultaneously the mastery and dialogue he held between the traditions and the directions of certain trends in modern and contemporary art. The expressed energies, impulses of interfusion and inter-detraction of the colour field and zones are important. The pictorial substance reveals the forces and energies which express visual defined feelings and emotional states, the artist’s spiritual surge, difficult to identify and hidden inner conflicts. Most of those paintings feature bands of colour, frieze-like compositions with active intertwining of vertical and horizontal planes.

Kaprichev’s ultimate task was obviously to achieve expressive colour structures by stretching that to the limit. The artist’s hand runs parallel to the natural formative creation. In the large pictures we trace also the dynamic presence of stripes and fringes, as the paint had been left to drip freely. This way of building up the pictorial plastic work embraced the force of gravity together with some of the principles and laws for spontaneous creation.

Noteworthy are the small oil paintings, with square or prolonged diagonal formats. Alexander Kaprichev also left for us even smaller square pictures, painted in bands, blended with image elements, which in their improvisational and virtuoso manner of applying the paint are reminiscent of Far Eastern calligraphically drawn hieroglyphs.

The late watercolours are lyrical, created with a light wash of paint. Here and there spontaneous lines appear, with brush stroke and plastic emphasis. In some parts the artist leaves the message to the uneven surface, the coarse paper, to the sheet of paper on which the watercolour was placed.

Alexander Kaprichev brilliantly demonstrated the boundless expressive options of the non-figurative. The elements of his pictorial language – the dot, the line, the spot, the plane, the form, the colour, the texture – all in numerous, often unpredictable combinations, created a complex, rich, saturated, polyphonic orchestration, building pulsating, dynamic space, continuous metamorphoses of thickening and dispersing of the pictorial substance.