The Garden of Mysteries
Paintings and Drawings by Ralitza Dencheva
Art Gallery in the crypt of L’Église Sainte Marie-Madeleine – Paris
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear art lovers,
Ralitza Dencheva has already established herself on the Bulgarian art scene as a spiritual artist who has dedicated her work to the representation of the beautiful and its mysteries. I would describe her as a serendipitous incarnation of pre-Raphaelite art, whose echoes in her work are a testament to her inexhaustible search for a higher, spiritual realm and to her Renaissance versatility. Her secessionist-style paintings, full of cryptic messages, seem to find their predecessor in the incomparably rich work of Boris Georgiev; however, whereas Georgiev’s work is suffused with a profound sense of the sorrows of the world, Ralitza’s paintings – rich in colors, featuring delicate, ornamental, almost hieroglyphic details – reveal a joyful love of life. Beauty and love are her religion, a path to salvation and perfection. Her work recalls the contemplative stillness of Bouguereau’s religious paintings.
Ralitza often makes herself the subject of her paintings. She paints only female allegorical figures: men are not allowed into the fictional world she creates. This again leads us back to Gustav Klimt’s and Alfons Muha’s secessionist art, which similarly deifies Woman as the guardian of the secret of life. The women in Ralitza’s paintings, often represented as playing with secret symbols and signs, are transformed into a cryptogram of the Sacrament, and therein lies their seductiveness. The paintings reveal the mystical, feminine nature of the Grand Architect of the Universe, and through secret creatures, symbols, anagrams, birds, flowers and butterflies they deify Woman as an immemorial source of love and inspiration.
Ralitza’s work is meant for those searching for the spiritual and willing to take up the difficult task of deciphering the cryptic messages hidden in the paintings. Here one finds the eternal light of the Holy Grail, symbolizing spiritual transformation and self-overcoming – a return to the feminine nature of creation allegorically represented through images of Mary Magdalene, Isis, and Sofia-the Goddess of Wisdom. The paintings reveal the awakening of the sacred energy lying dormant in us through the mystical union of spirit and soul, the divine and the human. An apotheosis to life, the work of Ralitza Dencheva tries to lift up the viewer from the realm of the everyday and show her the way to Truth, Perfection, and Beauty, always searching to decipher the indecipherable secrets and mysteries of Creation.
Lubomir Milchev-Dendi, writer
The work of Ralitza Dencheva distinguishes itself from that of French artists like Leonor Fini, Marie Laurencin, and Leonora Carrington through its message of esoteric wisdom, its sorrowfulness, which however remains masked by beauty and sensuality, and through its contemplative nature and love for life. The paintings awaken the viewer to the existence of another, higher realm to be worshipped and adored.