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 Eagles from Berlin


"Eagles from Berlin - Jovan Balov"


Barbara Barsch


There is always an investigative principle to Jovan Balov's work. Having worked for a long time in a purely constructivist style, he goes on to more figurative displays in the new series of his paintings; he does, however, style them in a certain manner that equalises them to his constructivist way of painting. His most important subject in the series of Berlin Tryptichons is, as in his previous paintings, discovery itself by means of painting.


As an accurate observer of his environment Jovan Balov noticed that there are eagles all over in Berlin, in different places and from different times, as emblems and symbols of power and strength. He was interested more in the plastic shaping than the political symbol. He takes photographs and later on makes sketches, in which he seeks to seize the respective character,  as base for his paintings. His search for traces is also a historic observation, and a confrontation with German history. The eagles of the 18th and 19th centuries all spread their wings, ready to fly. Their glance is proud and free. Eagles dating from the thirties of our century have closed wings, do not fly; their strength is locked in their shapes. Their glance is somehow grim. While the older eagles seem majestic, these ones radiate threatening power. Jovan Balov wants to capture the different expressions that are hidden in their posture and the plastic shape.


These eagles' displays are being encountered by a geometrical element, which is taken up again and varied in the other parts of the Tryptichon.  Jovan Balov got the feel and the interpretation for the respective geometrical shape from the eagle's plastic shape. On purpose, he chose cool colours. He is using pure acrylic paint, only th black parts in the painting are done with pigments, thereby achieving the different hues of black. It is important to him that the works create a cool distant atmosphere, and that the dynamics come across by means of the contents. The construction of the abstract shapes is putting its volume into correlation. The magnitude, springing from the abstract shape, is again having its effect on the figurative way of portraying the eagles, who are still recognizable in their historic roots. The artist is also planning to do a video documentary of the locations where he found the eagles.


Jovan Balov is always working in a process. His enquiries are dedicated to one subject, which he pursues with his artistic means. On this path, he is combining painter's principles with conceptual studies. Through working with three parts of a painting that are responding to each other, yet intercombineable, he reaches flexibility in space and makes his paintings a room installation. His basic thoughts are rational, but in the making become more and more emotional. Thus, his paintings are characterized by contrasts that give them their own dynamic and strength.



"Crossroad, The art of Balkan Countries"

Emil Aleksiev, Director of Museum of  Contemporary Art in Skopje 


…While manyartists, in a quest for new knowledge and experience, courageously set off toward the desert of the real itself, changing the artistic process of creat­ing works of art in conformity with reality, Jovan Balov (1961), with his project called The Eagles of Berlin (MCS, 1998), turned his attention towards neo-con­structivism. 


The conception of a universe, harmonized according to precise numeric proportions, to whieh the analogous proportions of the work of art eorrespond, is a paradigm that is today shattered like the image of the world. In this postindustrial, hi-tech and cybernetic phase in the development of our civilization, the work of art no bonger expresses the structures of universal order, in accordance with the metaphysical view of the world where the homology of the structures sterns from the essence of the very reality and reveals the construction of the structure of the universe. 


Using fragments from reality and seetions cut from works of art, Jovan Balov starts again the process of their restitution. The dynam­ics of this process are cumulative and lead to the disap­pearanee of own fragmentariness and limitations - to the revelation of the universal order of things…