1-4 September // Louvre // Paris

“Award winning contemporary artist, Dr. Iva Troj whose works have been exhibited all over the world, is about to receive one of her greatest achievements to date as a solo exhibit is about to go on display at FOCUS in The Louvre which takes place 1-4 Sept 2022 in Paris.

This is not the first time that Iva’s paintings have been hung in The Louvre. In October 2021, Iva was commissioned by Xbox to paint an epic Renaissance style painting as part of the Halo Infinite Masterpiece anniversary celebration and launch. Iva painted the 6×3 metre Renaissance style oil on canvas painting in less than 5 weeks. The work was filled with hidden references about the new game and Halo culture for fans to discover. Halo Infinite Masterpiece was displayed at Saatchi Gallery in London and then later at The Louvre in Paris.

Iva’s style of painting is very much influenced by her upbringing in communist Bulgaria. She grew up in the outskirts of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, right next to the Romani slums. The images of that place are something that she still feels and sees to this day. Iva’s parents, an oncologist mother and an electrician father who sacrificed his own degree aspirations and later health to pay for Iva’s art training, both believed in silver linings and that the only way to better yourself was through education. 

Like many other talented children growing up in the last years of communism, Iva was discovered by the talent machine installed by the communist party. At the age of 14 she entered a prestigious art school facing fierce competition for 20 places from thousands of other talented kids. 

Iva’s style and inspiration comes from the techniques of The Old Masters, not just Western but also Russian and Eastern European in general. “I would often look at art books from the Renaissance and wonder why the women in them were so powerless and passive, always laying there nude like they lost the will to live, combing their hair and undressing, etc. I grew up wishing to become good at painting so I could change the stories in classical motifs. My technique resembles the Flemish method of layering thin veneers of paint between layers of varnish,” says Iva.

All the emotions are expressed in Iva’s work, anger, sadness, pride, rage, love; it all comes out in the paintings.

“There is nothing left between emotion and canvas. I feel overwhelmed at times but it’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s the price of admission, I guess. You have to feel it through and through to do it properly. 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.”I started working on a graphic novel recently. It’s full of hyper-realistic pencil art and it addresses childhood sexual abuse. I am a survivor and although it’s not the first time I have discussed this (I have a book coming out in the coming months, it’s titled “Hello Troj, you can leave now), it has been painful. When I started working with these images, I felt physically ill for weeks. As said, it’s the price of admission. If the discourse you seek to disrupt is hiding in the gutter then you need to get on your knees and dig,” says Iva”

From article in London Life Magazine