Brighton, Sussex, United Kingdom
2013 Towry Best of East England Award Winner, Iva Troj seamlessly incorporates her vast experience of traditional painting techniques with postmodern elements to create engaging Renaissance-style works that challenge the notion of societal conformity. Born in Bulgaria, based in Scandinavia and the UK, Troj creates work originating fundamentally in the crossing of two realities: the one she grew up in and the one she has embraced. “I’ve been told I have artistic talents since I was a little girl. The problem was I spent most of my time worrying about the meaning of it all. I grew up in a rough neighborhood, in the outskirts of Plovdiv. At times it felt like the whole place was full of violent men. My family was very strict, loving and protective of me so I managed to keep my head above water. I had to. I had talents and with talents came purpose. Art confused the life out of me nevertheless. I searched for answers and inspiration in books and magazines, but they were all full of submissive naked women, always looking in mirrors combing their hair, getting ready for bed, being chased, seduced, on their knees, or laid bare everywhere possible. They all looked like dolls in a strange play that a man somewhere was directing. I so wanted to just go in there and change them all.” When she first started introducing contemporary elements in otherwise traditional style work, Troj was astounded by the confusion it caused. It didn’t take long to realize that the evident clash between connotations caused more than just confusion, it also led to changes of perception. She found herself in a position where she could influence people’s attitudes towards concepts such as beauty and gender. But, before that could happen, her expression needed to become less obvious and more cross-disciplinary. “My art needed to raise questions and not give answers. Paintings needed to be “explained” in a narrative and I, who usually shied away from theorizing my art, all of a sudden had to step in and discuss it. People were not so interested in my technique anymore; they wanted to hear the stories. And my story is simple - it took me 3 decades of practice, a couple of bachelor degrees, one master, and a whole lot of massacred art history books to get to that very important realization that, contrary to what everyone tells me, I don’t have to think like a man to be a good artist. Just the opposite, removing the male gaze from the equation was what made my art meaningful.“
- Master's Degree University of Boras, Sweden;
- BA, Media Studies at University of Södertörn, Stockholm, SWE;
- Theatre Studies at University of Stockholm, SWE;
- Design Management at Berghs School of Communication, Stockholm, SWE;
- Printmaking at CCAC, CA, USA;
- Art & Design at T.L. College of The Arts.
R E C E N T
Mayfair London with Roberta Moore Contemporary & LAHD Gallery Dubai - 90 Piccadilly // 6-16th May 2015.
Cameron Contemporary in Brighton, UK - Oct, 2014.
Solo Exhibit at IMITATE MODERN in London, UK
Roberta Moore Contemporary presents "My Dear Foe"
AFFORDABLE ART FAIR Hampstead, London
WINNER of TOWRY BEST of EAST ENGLAND ART AWARD; ROYAL COLLEGE of ART, London
LLOYDS CLUB GALLERY London
LUMEN 50 GLOBAL TOUR:
January 22-26, 2013: London, Gallery 27, Cork Street
February 7-10, 2013: Riga, Latvia, Robert's Books
February 23 - March 3, 2013: Shanghai, FQ Projects
March 8-16, 2013: Hong Kong, Plum Blossoms Art Gallery; June, 2013: Cardiff, Wales - Arcade Cardiff
November 1-10th, 2013: Gallery 61, 16 W61st New York City, USA
Exhibition SLAKTHUSET, Stockholm – 2011
Exhibition SCANDIC ANGLAIS, Stockholm - 2010
Since the beginning of 2013 Iva has been working on forming
collaborations with likeminded artists and musicians. Her most recent
collaborations are with an emerging Japanese artist and the renowned
English photographer John Paul Bichard.
“Our parallel life stories have a lot in common, saturated with
strange encounters, unbelievable coincidences and the strong childhood
desire to belong. Failure to learn and obey the acceptance codes of
society is also something we share. I strongly believe that the future
of arts is in collaborations. I also think that this process has
already started as the elitist notion of high culture saturating the
world of fine art is beginning to dissolve. Youth culture anywhere in
the western world is a proof of that.
By saying that I do not in any way claim that working with other
artists is easy. On the contrary, finding the right (for me) people to
work with was very hard. I spent decades looking for somebody who
could see through my eyes the way people did where I grew up – the
mountains on the Bulgarian/Greek border. As I moved farther and
farther away from the mountains, I met fewer and fewer people who
spoke the same emotional and visual language. Growing up with all
knowing, powerful storytellers and healers, learning from them then
watching them disappear, made me distant and unwilling to communicate.
The collaborations have changed that.”
Theme To Elysium
Portrait of a childhood friend of mine from Turkey. She lives nearby local market... always surrounded by golden fabrics, exotic figurines, flowers and birds...
My daughter Saga lost her dog recently and spent days and nights thinking of Sally, so I decided to paint this portrait of her and her trusted friend. The title refers to the journey between earth and whatever comes next... something that Saga emphasized on in her wish to influence the portrait.
"Nowadays I’m always a little afraid of the air, water and food in big Bulgarian cities. I couldn’t care less when I was little. I had hubris back then. These were the times of the nuclear horror.
Every time Soviet leaders got the crazies, nuclear exercises became obligatory. But I seriously thought I was immune. I was not. I was protected.
The first weeks after the Chernobyl incident Mom put us on a diet. Mom had a hunch you see. Something was ”not right with the air”. The small Geiger meter she put on her wall at the Oncology Department the year before, had been removed under mysterious circumstances. Earlier the same evening the little meter was buzzing and chirping for a whole hour. Mom hissed and cursed saying ”rotten liars” again and again at our black and white TV and forced tin food and bottled water down my throat."
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