Ivan Minekov and the Modernist Tradition

BY Claudia Moscovici | ART | CULTURE

This internationally renowned sculptor is a contemporary master of Modernism

Ivan Minekov represents the rich and diverse tradition of Modernism in contemporary sculpture. Born in Bulgaria, he’s a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts Nicolae Grigorescu in Bucharest, Romania. A student of Paul Vasilesku, Ivan Minekov quickly distinguished himself throughout Eastern Europe in the domain of sculpture.

Versatile in terms of material, subject and style, Minekov’s wood and bronze sculptures range from elongated figures reminiscent of Alberto Giacometti‘s art, to the more minimalist and essential forms associated with Constantin Brancusi, to comparatively realistic figures similar to Auguste Rodin‘s. The sculpture featured on the left, for instance, resonates with Brancusi’s famous Platonic saying that sculpture captures the essence of forms rather than their external appearance:

“...what they call abstract is what is most realistic. What is real is not the appearance, but the idea, the essence of things.”

Sometimes highlighting the essence of objects, at others capturing the realism of forms, Ivan Minekov is a contemporary master of modernism, in its multitude of styles.

Few sculptors have the talent to pull off so successfully so many different artistic traditions while shining through as unique in their own right.

Minekov’s versatility developed not only from his natural aptitude and diverse artistic influences, but also from his international success, as the artist adapted to his international patrons. Between 1975 and 1990, he was commissioned to do a series of monumental sculptures in several Bulgarian cities, including Pazardjik, Burgas, Rousse, Lovech, Dorkovo and more recently Sofia.

My personal favourite, the sculpture Ballerina (featured above), was offered as the award to the winner of the 23rd International Ballet Competition in Varna. Reminiscent of Degas’ famous dancers, Minekov’s statuette is gracefully elongated rather than realistic in style, capturing the fragility of youth and the fluidity of movement. In 1990, Minekov was asked to do a realistic portrait of Professor Denton Cooley, the founder of the Texas Heart Institute. In 2000 his portrait of Dimitar Peshev was placed in the Palace of Europe in Strasbourg. Not surprisingly, Ivan Minekov’s works are popular with collectors throughout the world, including Europe, Japan, Israel, and the United States.