Vlad Mitrev’s Time Paintings: Waiting, Painting: Doing Time
The first thing that caught my eye about Vlad Mitrev’s Time Paintings was their audacity. On a purely allusive level, these little blocks of paint offer a striking answer to a basic problem of classical art. Western painting in oils has a long tradition of grappling with a sticky problem: the representation of the fourth dimension in a medium built for two. How is it possible to represent change in a form that makes everything present to the eye, all at once? Because time is essentially a metaphor anyways, various figural solutions have presented themselves. You might think of bearded father time, propped up on a scythe which is meant to remind us of growth and decay. You might think of the meditative heaps of the Dutch Golden Age, the genre pieces and still lifes which show us a clutter of vanities poised just before their decay. Maybe you are reminded of Salvador Dali’s melting clocks, or the fighting Temeraire, being towed to its last berth.
We all know that paint can be made to show time indirectly, as a figure. Mitrev’s bold plan is instead to show us that temporality is essential to the art in the first place, that slow progression is a fact of the art that was there all along. Anyone who has painted even a little bit knows that part of the process is waiting around while paint does what it does. We say that it dries, but really it’s more than this. We might say that it is transforming, irreversibly, from a sticky bulk to a pliable surface, and, like any transformation, in a way that can’t really be forced. Paint dries on its own time, and learning to wait is part of what it means to become a painter. (continuation: www.vladimirmitrev.com)
1972 born in Sofia, Bulgaria, lives and works in Berlin, Basel and Sofia
2003–2004 Meisterschüler at Universität der Künste, Berlin
2003 Graduation in Fine Art at Universität der Künste, Berlin
2001 Studies Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art, London
1997–2003 Studies Fine Art at Universität der Künste, Berlin