Artists Magazine

Layers of Time

I met Atanas Matsoureff at a beer garden in Sofia, Bulgaria, on a bright summer day in July 2020. At a time when most meetings were happening remotely, it was a privilege to talk in person, especially with an artist who cares so much about materiality. When I asked Matsoureff how he chooses his subjects, he pointed to the nondescript wall behind me where a roughly hewn stone stuck out of the thickly plastered cement. “I’ve been looking at this stone for the past 10 minutes and wondering how to paint it—what color it is and which paper I’d use for it,” he says.

Matsoureff is especially mindful of the marks left on various surfaces over time. In his painting (opposite) a leather jacket hangs on the back of a door. The leather is naturally polished at the elbows and shoulders and creased around the collar, having been molded by wear over time. It’s as if the owner’s body is still present, giving mass and form to the garment.

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