Bulgarian artist Georgi Tushev creates near-sculptural abstract paintings by using magnets on paint with heavy cobalt or iron content. Borrowing equally from science experiments and conceptual art, Tushev’s works resemble astral expanses and geological topographies. Tushev shares his inspirations with Paddle8, and invites you to take a look at his process inside his studio.
Georgi Tushev and Adam Berg are the two artists featured in the inaugural exhibition of NY/LA, an annual project room series initiated by the Santa Monica Museum of Art. NY/LA connects contemporary artists from the east and west coasts, promoting ongoing discourse across the United States.
Paddle8: What interests you about metals and magnets?
Georgi Tushev: Iron comes from the core of stars as they burn their fuel; you need to burn an entire star to make iron–fascinating, isn’t it? Iron is the carrier of the electromagnetic force, which is the strongest force in the Universe. I like force.
P8: How did you come to realize that you could use these scientific processes?
GT: I like theories, so I was thinking of the possibility of using magnets to capture images of objects (like magnet photography). I tested it and it kind of worked and I realized I had an art project. Later, I became more interested in the abstract aspect of using stronger magnets and more paint; I wanted to show the paint’s advanced properties.
P8: Did you experiment with a lot of things as a child (e.g: play with magnets or conduct your own science projects?)
GT: Yes. I broke my glasses to make my own telescope at the age of 9. It worked.
P8: Was your process ever dangerous or harmful? What are the risks involved in your work?
GT: Rare earth magnets are very powerful and they can snap with great force. If your hand happens to get caught in between them, it can break your bones, so I try to be very conscious when I work. So far so good.
P8: Can you name one thing that you keep in your house or your studio that inspires you.
GT: Since you ask for only one thing out of the many, I’d say the ring I wear. It’s gold and onyx with a little diamond and it’s like the Jeff Bridges character from the movie Iron Man.
NY/LA is curated by Jeffrey Uslip for NY and Lisa Melandri for LA, and opens January 13th, and will run through February 25th at the Santa Monica Museum of Art; see here for more information. The Santa Monica Museum of Art is a partnering museum of ALAC. To see the exclusive online preview of the fair, visit Paddle8′s ALAC page. Video by Nina Kantcheva.