Widely acclaimed for his sculptural work, Ivan Minekov is one of the few remaining representatives of the heterogeneous tradition of Modernism today. His figures are built upon abundant layers of history, while they capture the very essence of the subject vividly, in a contemporary manner. Their character overpowers the material and enters a direct dialogue with the observer, extending beyond the style. A prolific creator of timeless sculptures, Minekov is considered one of the most renowned contemporary artists in Bulgaria today.
The preferred materials Ivan Minekov uses are bronze and wood. He approaches each with a clear idea, dictated by the theme and the pliancy of the medium. While his wooden sculptures show a rather abstract quality, formed with stylisation and restraint, the bronze pieces the artist executes are brimming with character and drama. This is the reason why bronze is the dominating medium in all of his portraits - plastic representations of archetypal temperament. When we compare these dynamic works to the monumental wooden sculpture of Madonna (with icon painted by Loreta, the artist’s wife), we notice that the restlessness of these portraits is gone, while this paradigmatic piece is the model of calm and meditation. This dual approach explains the artist’s vision, which allows us to better understand his usage of material and treatment of form, conceived around the conceptual essence of each artwork.
Stylistically, Minekov’s work leans on the expressions of great Modernists, such as Giacometti, Brancusi or Rodin. Refining his recognisable language over the years, this versatile artist has become a true master of sculpture, a rare talent who manages to unify a legion of styles into one, eclectic and harmonious expression.
Ivan Minekov was born on January 28, 1947, in the small town of Pazardjik, Bulgaria. He studied at the acclaimed Academy of Fine Arts “Nikolae Grigurescu” in Bucharest Romania between 1970 and 1975 under the professorship of Paul Vasilesku. As a young artist, Minekov took part in all the recognised group exhibitions in Bulgaria and selected representative exhibitions around Europe, quickly rising to prominence. A 25-year long prolific period of creation followed his studies, during which the artist created a number of monumental sculptures installed in different Bulgarian cities. Today, we can see his work in his native Pazardjik, as well as in Burgas, Rousse, Lovech, Dorkovo and other places. Bulgarian national Television produced a short film about his monumental piece “Levski” from 1987, as well as a documentary about the artist made in 1988, which is now included in the “golden fund” of the institution. The same year, Minekov's work was chosen as a symbol of the second allied space journey of Bulgaria and Russia.
The early nineties marked Ivan Minekov’s entrance into the international art world, inaugurated with a commission of the portrait of Professor Denton Cooley, the esteemed founder of the Texas Heart Institute. At the same time, Georges Ecly expressed an interest towards the Bulgarian sculptor’s work, launching his name into the global art scene. One of the notable works from this period is the portrait of Peter Machailov, commissioned by The Harada Collection from Tokyo in 1993/94.
In 2000, Ivan Minekov created an inspirational portrait bust of Dimitar Peshev, paying homage to the heroic politician who saved a significant number of Bulgarian Jews during the Second World War. Currently the piece is being displayed in the Palace of Europe in Strasbourg. Minekov created another, monumental bust of Dimitar Peshev, which is today installed in a prominent public spot in Sofia, as a tribute to the national paladin.
Marked by numerous international exhibitions, the 2000s were a fruitful period for Ivan Minekov. He participated in numerous exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad, accepted international commissions and was chosen as the leading artist represented on the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official website. His bronze statuette “Ballerina” gained an emblematic status, being presented as an award at the 23rd International Ballet Competition in Varna in 2008.
More recently, Minekov was selected as one of the two artists for the “Legends of Bulgaria” an exhibition that took place in April 2012 in the European Parliament.
Today, sculptures and other works of this distinguished artist are present in numerous private collections across Europe, USA, Israel and Japan.
Ivan Minekov lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria.