Works from different periods of creation
We cordially invite you to the vernissage on Friday, November 10, 2023 at 7 pm.
Introduction Rolf Külz-Mackenzie
The upcoming exhibition at Wolf & Galentz is dedicated to the visual artist Jovan Balov (1961-2022), our dear friend who sadly passed away far too early a year ago.
Jovan Balov was a universal talent, he was comprehensively educated in art and art history. He was an excellent conversationalist in five languages (Macedonian, Serbo-Croatian, German, English, Dutch) and he was a fantastic networker: he easily got to know people, brought them together, had an integrative and social impact. He was a focal point in his living environment, a very popular person, smart and friendly.
Skopje – Berlin
As a wanderer between worlds, between East and West, Skopje and Berlin, growing up in the Balkans, at this crossroads of the most diverse cultural influences and traditions, he was interested in politics and the history of power throughout his life. A central focus of his work has been the examination of nation states, national identity and their intertwining with myths and legends.
Over the course of his life, Jovan Balov created an impressive oeuvre, a cross-section of which is presented in the exhibition:
- early abstract paintings with geometric formal elements from the 1990s, which he himself also saw as a counterpoint to the war in Yugoslavia;
- photographs of the homes of Roma, with whom Jovan Balov lived for several months at a time, near the cities of Skopje and Rome from the early 2000s;
- his monumental triptych “Dem deutschen Volke. Cyan – Magenta – Yellow” (2006), a mixed-media work made of printed flag silk and black and white painting on canvas, the result of the artist’s intensive examination of the political history of the last 200 years in his new adopted home of Berlin;
- several of his outstanding suprarealistic large-format portraits in acrylic on canvas (2007-2021), the results of many conversations with the models, sessions with sketches, photographs that bring the essence of the portrayed subjects to life, as well as
- video works from all creative periods, some of which relate to the works shown in the exhibition.
Jovan Balov was born and raised in 1961 in Skopje, then the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. He first studied archaeology and art history, then fine arts in Skopje and later at the Berlin University of the Arts. From 1990 to 1995 he lived in Amsterdam, where he ran a very artistic puppet theater. From 1995 until his death, he lived in Berlin as a freelance visual artist and curator. In 2004, he founded the art space Prima Center Berlin, a member of the project space association Kolonie Wedding e. V., where he organized and often curated around 250 exhibitions over the years, including many with artists from all Balkan countries. He has initiated and curated numerous exchange exhibitions with Berlin artists in the Balkans and vice versa. In 2007, he was honored with the Rigas Charta Cultural Award in Athens for his cross-border promotion of Balkan culture; in 2014, he was named “European Personality of the Year” by the Republic of Macedonia and “Cultural Ambassador” by the European Movement of the Republic of Macedonia in 2015. He received the first “European Capital of Culture” award from the Galerie Du Colombier in Paris for his painting.
After a long and serious illness, he died in October 2022 in Berlin, where he is also buried.
Image: Dem Deutschen Volke [To the German People], Cyan – Magenta – Yellow, 2006.
upper parts: Painting acrylic on canvas, each 200 x 160 cm
lower parts: Digital print on flag silk, each 100 x 160 cm