Author: Nadezhda Tzvetkova
Vihra Grigorova is an artist well known to the Plovdiv audience. She is a painter - addicted, loving, and devoted to the landscape genre. Vihra is one of the few women, winners of the prestigious Plovdiv Award for Fine Arts, which she dedicates to her father - the famous landscape artist Petar Grigorov.
In the year of the Black Water Tiger and in the astrological month of the zodiac sign Pisces, the artist will arrange her new works in Vazrazdane Gallery in a painting exhibition entitled "Windows to the Water". With her inherent sensual delicacy and creative wisdom, Vihra will gently immerse us in the natural beauty; she will connect us with the element of water to wash away the burden of everyday life so we can feel the lightness of existence. The purifying power of the author's landscapes will give us a deep sense of harmony and unity with nature. The meditative quality of her art will help us feel humbled, enlightened, and renewed.
Vihra, your new exhibition is called "Windows to the Water". Why not windows to the world, for example?
The world is a broad, even vast concept. I hardly have the strength (I certainly don't have the self-confidence) to take on such a task. We live in an increasingly closed world, in something like bunkers. We proudly wave a flag with the inscription "Isolation" or even "Self-isolation". The second is more frightening because it is an expression of inner consent. If we open a window to the living world in the bunker, we already see it, feel it, live it. Water is one of the natural elements that define the world. People first look for it in space when they hope to find traces of life. It has many manifestations that bring it closer to а living matter - it is hot and cold, turbulent and stagnant, soft and rough. There are aggregate states, it is changing. It's like describing a person.
- Water has various symbols. Ever since ancient myths and legends, it has been associated with the creation of the world as a source of life. In our folklore, it is presented as the personification of youth and eternity. In Christianity, water is an allegory of the purifying and transforming force, the medium for energy messages. It is also a metaphor for the innermost, the deep, the subconscious. However, it also carries the destructive power of decay. What is water for you?
I don’t know if you are interested, but the water is dominant at the time of the exhibition. We are already in the year of the black water tiger. In a month, in which the most watery of the water astrological signs reigns – Pisces. So there is water for everyone! I felt the embrace of the great water already grown when I was 17 years old. Then I learned to swim in the most natural way possible – in the sea. The next day, my dad armed me with a mask and snorkel, and I saw the deepness of the sea. It was love at first sight and for life.
Have you noticed how many different epithets accompany the word “water” in our speech? Since forever people create idioms, parables, proverbs, and whatnot with this word-formation. For somebody they say “he is in deep water”, for another “he is a fish out of water”, for the third “still waters run deep”, the fourth is “cold as ice”, and some “muddy the waters”. The purest horizons with the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets are above water. When the fire of the Sun kisses it.
- What can water teach us? Is it wise?
Water is inside us and around us and it is a matter of personal choice and inner disposition to learn our lessons from it. To be able to move into our personal aggregate states with natural ease and confidence. From firmness through the ability to penetrate deeply and in all possible directions, to “take the form of a vessel” and even to be ethereal, to overcome gravity and smoothly pass into a fog or a cloud. Everything is water. If we stand on the seashore and watch the waves of the tidal, we will feel how the water inhales and exhales, how the end of another wave somehow lovingly licks the coast or angrily slaps on the rough faces of the rocks. This has been the case for countless millennia. It has been and it will be. Carpe Diem – this is the great wisdom of the water for me.
- Nature is your favorite muse. You are constantly searching, finding, and recreating various natural states. However, to what extent does your landscape art reflects your own personal spiritual pursuits and moods?
Indeed, this is exactly the case for me – I am looking for different natural states and therefore the result is an art that it’s not strictly landscape. When I look for a plot, I happen to be ahead of a certain natural state in order to observe the magnificent spectacle from beginning to end. Sometimes I plan it, other times it just happens to me, and then I drop the plans and turn on all my senses. I admire both pink sunrises and powerful thunderstorms. I am so attached to nature that I adore all its manifestations. I accept everything with respect and without a shadow of fear or disapproval. I accept it with gratitude as a loved one is accepted. I rely entirely on nature as a source of inspiration. It was also the thing that taught me to try to be a good person, to accept the out of the ordinary, to look for some perfection of my own, and when I catch a piece of it, to turn it into a painting. As far as I can.
- In your work, is the focus on nature an escape from reality, or is it directing the viewer’s attention to the value, the eternal, the real?
Nature is the only reality we have. Humanity has been pushed into the so-called “virtual reality”, there is an attempt to define it as more important, more essential than nature. I do not want to oppose one against the other. However, more and more often I think that we are evolving with the help of nature and we are surviving with the tools of virtual reality. For me, direct communication with nature has always brought me a taste of honest relationships, which gives me peace, confidence, strength. I would not run away from such a reality. I’d rather run into it. And I find harmony in all-natural states, all this cyclicality provokes desire and skills to search and if I can to seize the moment. Sometimes this leads to a painting born out of a longing to share the blissful feeling that I am part of something immense and I have been lucky enough to touch.
- Some of your new works of art are framed in old window casings. Tell us more about this interesting idea of yours.
The story with these paintings is a vivid illustration of the escape from the virtual to the real world. When I can’t fall asleep (it happens to everyone), I rummage through all sorts of junk sites on the web. So I came across four windows dismantled from someone’s home. At first, I didn’t pay any attention, I am not building a house. However, imperceptibly, like a thief, the thought crept into my head that I could put paintings in them and make the window casing as a frame. I looked back at the ad and bought these four “buttons” to which I would add an “overcoat”. Due to the fact that there are four of them, I decided on the idea of four seasons for the landscapes inside. And the window frames are functioning, they can stay closed, and then you can only guess the view until you open them. I’m supposed to be a serious person, but I like to play too. Frankly, my other landscapes are becoming windows оn the bunker. However, their drawing and framing take place in reverse order.
- How important is nature for contemporary man? Do we respect it enough? Are our eyes and souls open to its messages?
The importance of nature for man is often considered in a quite simplistic way and without a real understanding of the topic. The mass sentiments end with benefits for the body – healthy food for the stomach, spring water for the kidneys, fresh air for the lungs, etc. It is time to learn to perceive ourselves as an integral world, a microcosm that is much more than a conglomeration of cells that make up our body. And we think less and less about that healthy spirit, which inhabits a healthy body. The last has a genetic memory of nature and the knowledge that sooner or later it will become part of it. We can start by peeking out the window but someday we will step barefoot on the grass, on the sand, in the water. It would be great to do it in our lifetime.
Vazrazdane Gallery invites you to the official opening on the 8th of March, 2022, Tuesday, at 18:00. The exhibition will be open for visitors until the 28th of March, 2022. The works of art can be viewed virtually, on the website, and on the Facebook page of the gallery: