A phenomenal, innovative, provocative, Grecian/Bulgarian, female, contemporary artist... this is only a handful of words that come to mind when discussing Marina Genadieva and her artistic output. Through both her performances and paintings, Genadieva encourages a philosophical connection between her work and the viewer.
"In my paintings, performances and installations I explore core issues of the body, identity and social distress imposed by beauty, gender roles and the expectations/anticipations of modern life" - Marina Genadieva
Genadieva's most notable performance is De-Facies. The performance involves preparing and then applying small pieces of glittering paper directly onto the face. The process is time-consuming and painful, with the finished product resulting in a fully adhesive sparkling facial mask. A clear emphasis is placed upon enlarging the mask's facial features.
The performance, which unfolds over a considerably, lengthy period of time, aims to address the pressure placed upon women to adhere to the beauty expectations of a society focused on one's aesthetic appearance. The tedious preparation and painful application of the glittered paper to her skin represents this inverted relationship between society and its attitude towards beauty.
"I look at it as a metaphor of giving up identity, abolishing uniqueness and becoming one with my art" - Marina Genadieva
Another of Genadieva's performances, The Painter and the Painting, reflects this idea of becoming one with art. The concept being that the artist's palette is the source of creation and is therefore a work of art in itself. Genadieva literally wears her palette as clothing - in the form of a long, white dress with a headscarf. This holds many intercultural, religious, ceremonial and social connotations.
In a controversial world, Genadieva subtly approaches many issues that plague humanity in an unassuming and dignified manner.
"Concerns such as the objectification of the female, the dehumanisation of a person, the idea that he/she can be seen as a commodity, a being to be possessed - constantly arise in my art" - Marina Genadieva
These concerns are the forefront of both her performances Hidress (Part of the Public Arts Festival in Athens, 2017) and Petshop. The former, is a powerful demonstration of the suppression of the female. A male figure can be seen to completely conceal her, by placing a full-length, hooded garment over her entire body. Standing, without moving for 30 minutes, as passers-by stare in confusion and curiosity - the smartly dressed male figure eventually returns to remove the heavy cloak, enabling her to once again become mobile and leads her down the street.
The fabric that the cloak is made from resembles that of a car cover. The liaison perhaps reflecting upon the objectification and ownership of the female, disguised in the form of protection.
The latter addresses the issues of the sale of animals as a commodity. Replace a caged bird, cat or rabbit with a completely nude female - is the possession and control of another living creature acceptable? Is one being of lesser importance than the other? Her performances place Genadieva in precarious situations, enabling her to create very public and deeply thought-provoking scenes.
Genadieva's passionate mélange between canvas painting and her performances makes her a unique and multitalented artist.
"Being the subject matter of my art and exploiting the boundaries of my own body is a key element on canvases as well as in my performances" - Marina Genadieva
Her self-portraits tend to embody all that is a 'social media aesthetic' - a trivial still life poised upon an everyday moment. Despite the vivacious use of colour, a pain and stiffness emerges from the canvas. Genadieva again addresses the issues between what is real emotion and what it not. The contrasting facial expressions between the protagonist and the portrait on the wall reflect upon this concept. The way that Genadieva distorts flesh through layers of colour and paint transforms a classical self-portrait into an abstract representation of emotion.
The painting above is one of four, based on the play, The Four Little Girls, by Pablo Picasso. Through this series of paintings, Genadieva manages to characterise each of the four little girls. The play itself is disturbing and devoid of a plot as it endeavours to encapsulate the evil aspects of childhood. Genadieva insightfully captures each of the figurative little girls in the midst of laughing. The sinister element to each of their expressions whilst laughing evokes a sense of unease and discomfort. The discomfort evoked within the viewer enables a reflection to be made upon the meaning of a laugh- which is not only representative of happiness.
Genadieva's innovative representation of her subject matter requires a unique and concentrated philosophical interpretation of its meaning that often pushes us beyond our cognitive comfort zone. Her canvas paintings embody a powerful range of emotions concealed by her lavish use of colour. Yet, Genadieva also addresses core issues, such as female ownership and the unrealistic beauty expectations of today's society, through her public performances.
To see more work from this artist visit: http://www.marinagenadieva.com/paintings/