NATURAL SCIENCE CLASSES. Tekla Aleksieva. Illustrations

NATURAL SCIENCE CLASSES. Tekla Aleksieva. Illustrations

Curator: Dr. Lyuben Domozetski

20.June – 14.July, 2022

Opening: 20.June, 2022 (Monday), 5:00-9:00 p.m.

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The illustrations that Tekla Aleksieva created for the covers of the science fiction series Galaxy (Galaktika) are gaining wide popularity. Her recognizable, intriguing style, combining a unique interpretation of surrealism with elements of photography, is familiar to many. On the other hand, Tekla’s paintings also stand out with their artistic language and original genre solutions. Several of her works became the focus of a recent exhibition organized at Sofia City Art Gallery and curated by Georgi Gospodinov and Georgi Lozanov *, became the embodiment of an entire era of our recent past. Recently, her paintings were presented again, this time in a joint exhibition with Iskra Blagoeva at Gallery One. Thus, the art of Tekla Aleksieva stands out with its own appearance, with a bright individuality and indisputable artistic qualities. It continues to excite even today, attracting younger audiences who get fascinated by their encounter with this artist.

Another important part of her art should be especially noted. These are the vast amount of popular science illustrations created for various publications in the field of natural sciences. They seem to be less well-known and they have not been shown in an exhibition context before, and it is on this side of Tekla Aleksieva’s work that the current exhibition at Little Bird Place Gallery is dedicated. The illustrations created in different years for textbooks and books are an interesting synthesis between science and art, between true recreation of reality, natural phenomena and a distinguished desire for clear, accurate and comprehensible reproduction, presented with taste, with measured stylization and generalization, with recognizable style and cheerfulness. These works build their own world, in which in addition to natural laws, impeccably visualized, the laws of scientific illustration rule with the pursuit of objective reproduction of the world around us, the laws of aesthetics rule with harmonious chromatic combinations, with thoughtful forms and compositional solutions, but it is above all the desire to make these images clearly recognizable, exciting and memorable that prevails. With these qualities, Tekla’s illustrations not only fully meet the challenges of a natural science illustration, but they also stand out as independent works of art with an exquisite artistic language. In addition, they provide an interesting opportunity to have a peek at the art of books and illustration before the digital age and the time of modern computer programs. And it is the handicraft that excites perhaps the most in these works, making them understandable, cheerful, accessible and impactful. Their presentation in an exhibition is necessary exactly today, at a time when the digital illustration with raw coloration and mechanically solved details shows a lack of thought, deviates from the definition of art, and becomes expressionless documentation.

The exhibitions presenting Tekla’s artworks certainly arouse special sentiment in the generations who know her covers of the Galaxy (Galaktika) series or her paintings from Collective Art Exhibitions. But her art turned out to be especially interesting and exciting for the younger generation, which for one reason or another discovered the works of Tekla Aleksieva for the first time. And this is indisputable proof of the remarkable artistic qualities of her art. This is an encounter that reminds us of the timeless nature of good painting, which, apart from classifications, definitions and formulations, always has a direct effect.

Dr. Lyuben Domozetski

Sofia, June 2022

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* The exhibition “The Afternoon of an Ideology”, 2016, part of the project “The Other Eye” of  Sofia City Art Gallery

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