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The artist Martin Donev seeks for enlightenment in "Samadhi in the City"

01 February 2010 / 18:02:03  GRReporter
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Marina Nikolova

Martin Donev’s paintings are painted entirely with markers on paper and look like posters on the streets, because the same patterns are used as in printing but the only difference with Martin is that he is doing everything by hand. Martin expresses his anxiety about things that happen in society and seeks his role, creating his own Mandala. He enters into dialogue with the forgotten and misunderstood past, most likely looking for the light of enlightenment (Samadhi). K-art gallery presents the works of the young artist Martin Donev, for whom this is the second solo exhibition. The name of the exhibition is "Samadhi in the City" and it includes pictures in size 100x70, "global scale", as formulated by William Oswald in 1911. Avoiding to talk about myself, Martin focuses on his work and says that the five words that characterize him are "hardworking, hardworking, hardworking..." 

Where did you get the idea for the series Samadhi in the City, which currently we can still see in K-art? What was the first one you painted? 

The main idea of my new work is to explore the relationship between privacy and the public sphere. This idea came from my personal experience, things that I have experienced some time ago, but now it come to light in the form of this series of paintings. Thus my "ascetic” side in my studio appears as a public spectacle through one visual "mandala ", which ultimately flirts with the modern aesthetics of the city. The first pictures are basically diamonds, which connect tag painting with graffiti art.   

You draw people who are known to all and have turned history upside down - such as Che Guevara, or you put symbols in the center of the picture and around them there is chaos out of detail. What symbolism are you looking for? 

I'm interested in the symbolic dimension of the work of art and not in widely known symbols. I am doing abstract work on every painting, so I find other dimensions beyond the drawing itself. What is characteristic of my work are symmetry and reflections, which create a new kind of equilibrium.   

In connection to Che Guevara, what does the concept of "revolution" mean to you?

I'm interested in development as a whole and therefore my paintings relate to both the West and to the East.   

I think your paintings are very open. I like that they make me associate, guess…they catch my eye. According to you why are they so challenging? 

My paintings do not reveal the procedure of their creation. They drive the material to its limits, which means that the viewer is free to have his own opinion.   

You are part of the younger generation of painters in Greece, you have graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Athens... Tell me what occupies the minds of those young people, who have chosen to live their lives drawing? 

The new generation of Greek artists is in a transitional period. There are things that come from the outside due to globalization, but this is unable to change our way of seeing things. The state is doing the minimum it can and each challenge, which young visual artists are facing, has a very personal nature. In this respect, the artist needs to understand what he is interested in himself and to figure out a way to make a living.   

How will you describe yourself in five words? 

Hardworking, hardworking, hardworking, hardworking, and hardworking... 

How many hours per day are you drawing? 


How does your day go by? 

Drawing, but my hobby is fishing. 

What would you want to change in your lifestyle? 

I try to be more independent.   

What is your favorite place in Athens? 

The center.   

How do you feel when you finish a painting? 

It depends on the painting.  

What are you looking forward to during the New Year? 

My new participations in exhibitions. 



Martin Donev was born in 1979 in Sofia, he studied arts in the Academy of Fine Arts in Athens (2001-2007) and some of his teachers were I. Psihopedi and M. Spiliopoulos. He has also taken sculpture and graphics courses. He lives and works in Athens. 


The exhibition will run until February 6, 2010 in K-ART Gallery, which is on 54 Sina Street, Kolonaki, tel.: 211 401 3877. 

The gallery is open from Tuesday to Friday between 12:00PM and 08:00PM, on Saturday between 11:00AM and 02:00PM, and on Sunday and Monday it is closed.

Tags: Martin Donev Mandala Gallery exhibition arts Academy of Modern Art
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