Award-winning contemporary artist Iva Troj creates fine art pieces which seamlessly merge Renaissance aesthetics and techniques with postmodern praxis. Her intensely detailed images achieve astonishing tricks of light and shade, as practised by the great masters while incorporating dreamlike scenes which challenge cultural norms. Exhausted by a society in which women often feel vulnerable, threatened, or powerless, Troj recasts the fairer sex as powerful creatures, freed from the oppressive male gaze and placed within Edenic settings where they can revel in their own beauty and potential. Blending abstraction with figuration, the natural world with the urban landscape, dream with reality, Troj’s breathtakingly beautiful artworks achieve something truly unique, both in terms of aesthetics and concept.
“In many ways, I am what you get when you throw ancient Sakar Mountain wisdom failing to adapt to totalitarian ideas right into the pits of post-industrial capitalism. My grandmother’s village used to be in the no man’s land surrounding the Turkish and Greek/Bulgarian border during the communist regime. It used to be totally isolated from the industrial world and there was no school or a library (or pollution). And somehow my grandma knew what Wabi-sabi was. I asked her about it and she told me a story about a lion tamer. Beauty is ”imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete,” she said. I am not sure how I came to find the clues to Japanese culture. She never talked about China or Japan, “intimacy”, or appreciation of the ”ingenuous integrity of natural objects”. That was not how she spoke. Instead of using fancy words she showed me things and explained their beauty to me. Her house and her garden were full of evidence of beautiful imperfection.”
In 2016, Troj was named Contemporary Art Excellence Artist of the Year and, in 2013, was the winner of the Towry Best of East England Award. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally and is permanently represented in Shoreditch, London.
As a child, I was taught to question one-dimensional narratives, which grew from a survival technique to a development technology of the artistic self. The foe I so often portray almost always represents the normalization of one or more dysfunctional discourses, such as the victimization of the female gender, religious dogma and racial inequality.
Like many artists, I discuss personal experiences. At the same time, I strive to escape the self, an urge that partially stems from crossing borders in the last years of the cold war. Living through cultural starvation in my childhood has made me restless and hungry for honest creativity with an almost childlike curiosity. In that sense, nothing I discuss is strictly personal. Sexual abuse, violence, trauma… I may present an unusual perspective on these topics stemming from the self, but only as an outset. The work needs to keep changing, relive itself, challenge its own conformity.
There is a point in every artist’s career when one is tempted to choose a tested and proven path. I’m constantly trying to resist this temptation by containing the “paths” in series where I can explore a motif or a theme without succumbing to the comforts of one visual style. The artists that I look up to for inspiration have one thing in common – constant renewal.
Traditional elements are very central to my body of work. It’s not so much a need to keep the style ”traditional”, but rather the way I speak. I grew up in a communist country. We sang songs about machines being superior to man and praised modernity while destroying nature and killing creativity and the human spirit with it. At the same time, my summers were spent in the mountains with my grandmother who had hanging gardens, thousand stories and no TV. These two realities are inseparable in my mind.
The painting technique I mostly use resembles the Flemish method of layering thin veneers of paint between layers of varnish. I start with pencils, pastels and varnish. After that I paint a lighter layer with acrylics and finish with a couple of thicker layers using a combination of mediums, often acrylics and oils, but sometimes gold leaf and inks.
EXHIBITIONS & EVENTS
MODERN EDEN GALLERY
San Francisco, CA, USA / Visit Site
Representational Modern: Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Art Prize Exhibition Jan 2019
DARK ART EMPORIUM
Dakuato + 12 Inches of Wood / Long Beach, California, USA Feb 2019
FLUX Exhibition at The Chelsea College of Art 11th – 15th April 2018. Visit: Site
TOKYO International Art Fair
TIAF 18 | 25-26 May 2018. Visit: Site
COREY HELFORD GALLERY, LA, USA.
THE NEW ROMANTICS GROUP SHOW opening at COREY HELFORD GALLERY on July 28th, 2018
COREY HELFORD GALLERY, LA, USA. May-June 2017. Exhibition site.
IVA TROJ 4 FRIENDSHIP – Friendship Vegan Apparel / Permanent Exhibit in Shoreditch, London, UK
The FRIENDSHIP collaboration. Visit site!
THE CHIMERA GALLERY in Ireland. Gallery site.
STUDIO45 in Brighton, UK
COREY HELFORD GALLERY, CA, LA, USA
DECEMBER 17 – JANUARY 14, 2017 Beneath The Waves
RANDOM ART GALLERY // Contemporary Beast Exhibit – 22/7-23/8 2016. Visit!
FED THE LIONS at DYNAMITE GALLERY // Solo exhibit – April 2016. Visit site!
IVY ARTS // Group Expo – March 2016
MAYFAIR with Roberta Moore Contemporary in London, UK – 6-16th of May 2015
CAMERON CONTEMPORARY Brighton, UK – October 2014
IMITATE MODERN London with Roberta Moore Contemporary, September 2014
LLOYDS CLUB GALLERY London 12/2013-1/2014
LUMEN 50 GLOBAL TOUR: Jan 22-26, 2013: London, Gallery 27, Cork Street // Feb 23 – March 3, 2013: Shanghai, FQ Projects // March 8-16, 2013: Hong Kong, Plum Blossoms Art Gallery // June, 2013: Cardiff, Wales – Arcade Cardiff // Nov 1-10th, 2013: Gallery 61, New York City, USA
Brighton Fringe Festival, Jubilee Library – 5/2013
”The Ivy Project”. Gallery Laveau, Stockholm, Sweden – 2012.