Yanko Tihov is a master printmaker, trained in Sofia, Bulgaria at the National Academy of Art. His training here placed a great emphasis on drawing. He told me they drew for 3 hours every day, from life models, plaster casts . . . everything that would be expected in a classical training for artists. I’m delighted to have two examples of the artist’s paintings on canvas, Pedestrians and ‘House in Kensington’ in his solo show.
Yanko’s work is exhibited and collected all over the world. On his visit to my gallery for the opening Preview celebration and to give a talk about his work, he mentioned Branded World sold out completely in New York, all 7 works as well as 2 of the 3 Artist Proofs. In other words, this one in my gallery is the very last Branded World print, as the 3rd A/P.
The artist’s body of work reflects his long standing interests in identity, belonging and social commentary. His passport series humanises the globe, reminding us that every country exists not only in its geographical features but is made up of people, who have an often desperate need or simply a desire to travel. His recent work, included in the show, looks at the shifting borders of Europe, at the disintegration of the British Empire, at the attempt to apply branding to humanity from a very young age, until death. In Branded Skulls in the Mexican tradition of a rich cultural celebration of ancestors on All Souls Day or ‘The Day of the Dead’, note that the skull of a person from Mexico is exactly the same as the skull of a person from the United States. A British skull the same as that of a person labelled in life ‘Iranian’. No matter where we’re from, we share a common humanity. We need artists now, more than ever, to refresh our vision from the state’s perpetual attempts to divide us from each other.
Yanko was born in 1977, behind the Iron Curtain. He lives in London with his family, having settled here some 20 years ago. His wife Nadia Tihova is also a very fine painter, under her professional name Nadia Tsakova.
It’s an enormous pleasure to host Yanko Tihov’s first solo show in Scotland here in my gallery in St Andrews.
– Beth Junor