Multimedia artist, Elena Paroucheva (Елена Парушева) practices in environmental art, sculpture, painting, in-situ installation, urban space planning, interactive art, performance, and conceptual art. Born in Yambol (Bulgaria) in 1959, she graduates in 1983 from the Beaux-Arts Department at the University of Veliko Tarnovo. As a creator in a totalitarian country - where artists are forced to conform to official art, Elena belongs to the intelligentsia which confronts the regime. In 1999, she creates the artistic movement Electric Art and develops projects that transform high voltage line towers, windmills, or antennas into works of art.
Formative years in Bulgaria (1978-1983)
At the age of 15, she is admitted into the Decorative Arts School of Trojan, and then in 1979, into the Beaux-Arts Department at the St. Cyril & Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo, where she learns and expands upon the main artistic techniques: drawing, painting, engraving, sculpture, aesthetics, metrology and pedagogy of art, and spends two years in the class of Stanislav Pamukchiev.
The Dissident Artist, From Figuration to Abstraction and Conceptual Art (1983-1991)
A creator in a totalitarian country, where artists are impelled to make Sots Realism, Elena is part of a Bulgarian intelligentsia who faces the regime and overthrows it. At the opening of her first solo exhibition in 1984, she is confronted by the KGB, who strongly suggests that she takes her work off display.
While her paintings already attract attention, Elena is eager to break from the trivial means of expression: she wants to step out of the mould. This artistic aspiration produces remarkable works such as: Paper Body, Cub’s, Floating Figures, etc. The Ludwig Museum (Ludwig Forum for International Art of Aachen) still exhibits Floating Figures as an example of three-dimensional paper work.
In 1989, she takes part in the exhibition Sky-Earth, an important event in the history of art in Bulgaria, which precedes and foreshadows the fading of the totalitarian regime, a few days later, on November 10. As The Union of Bulgarian Artists has been denying non-conventional artists an access to its building in Sofia, Elena and her group settle on the building roof top and her work – The Way – leads the audience from the street up to the rooftop, before it is destroyed by the authorities.
Equilibrium between Colour and Non-Conventional Expressions (since 1991)
Established in France in 1991, she develops her network and works with several art galleries (Romanet, Orsel, Céline), especially with Opera Gallery. She makes exhibitions in Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, New York, Singapore, while teaching artistic expression and art history at several schools and for various associations.
Many performances illustrate her early years away from her country: Mélange des Eaux (in France), The Ten Truths, an action-installation inspired by Nietzsche (in France and Germany), the action 2000 Spheres for 2000 Years, to celebrate the year 2000… But everything changes after 1999!
Electric Art (since 1999)
Inspiration arises as Elena discovers that pylons are scheduled to be taken down in an increasing effort to bury power lines. She decides to intervene in her own way, by preventing the complete disappearance of the pylons and keeping some specimens as symbols of our time.
Her ideas materialize in drawings, models, photos, computer graphics, studies and projects to transform an industrial legacy into a cultural heritage. In 2004, she inaugurates Source – a monumental installation on four pylons near Metz, France – which is still being seen every year by millions of visitors!
It is the beginning of an adventure that gives birth to her new artistic movement: Electric Art. Her works and her unique artistic approach are published in the press and world media, in books and encyclopaedias and are studied in schools.
Noted as an environmental artist by CIGRE (International Council on Large Electric Systems), the artist is regularly invited to congresses, conferences and symposiums on the subject of sustainable development, of aesthetizing energy infrastructures – power lines, wind and telecom towers, etc. – and their integration into the landscape (Paris, Santiago, Rotterdam, Oslo, Seoul).
Acquisitions (museums, foundations, collections)
- National Art Gallery, Sofia (Bulgaria)
- Ludwig Museum, Aachen (Germany)
- Ministry of Culture, Sofia (Bulgaria)
- Sofia University, St. Kliment Ohridski (Bulgaria)
- Sliven, Yambol and Targovichté Visual Art Museums (Bulgaria)
- Modern Art Museum, Blois (France)
- “Art in Bulgaria”, collection, Sofia (Bulgaria)
- Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon (Portugal)
- National donor fund “13 Centuries Bulgaria”, Sofia (Bulgaria)
- Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain des Ardennes, Reims (France)
- Chalmers Collection, Gothenburg (Sweden)
- Spie Collection, Rotterdam (Netherlands)
- Doble, Foundation, Morrisville, NC (USA)
- Altalink Collection Calgary (Canada)
Personal Exhibitions (One-woman shows, actions, installations, congresses, meetings)
2018 From industrial patrimony to cultural legacy, Palais des Congrès, Paris, Label Europe for Culture
2017 Landscape Pylons and impact solutions, CIGRE Meeting (South Korea)
2016 Environmental Art, Green Solutions for Sustainable Paris, City of Paris
2015 Art-Pylons, with Statnett, Oslo (Norway)
2015 Electric Art, with “Les Ateliers de France”, Domont (France)
2015 Haute couture – Haute tension, European Heritage Days, Meulan (France)
2014 Art-Pylons, with Rosseti, Sochi (Russia)
2014 Sochi Skier, sculpture, Sochi (Russia)
2013 Nuit Blanche, Forney Library (Hôtel de Sens), Paris
2012 Art, Nature and Territory, Les ateliers Christofle, Paris
2011 European Heritage Days, Amnéville les Thermes (France)
2010 Energy & Art, Palais des Congrès, Paris
Electricity Landscapes, House of Human Sciences, Pessac (France)
European Heritage Days, Amnéville les Thermes (France)
2009 CIGRE International Congress, Santiago (Chile)
European Heritage Days, Amnéville les Thermes (France)
Marchand Tower, La Defense, Paris
Alcazar, Putterschoek (Netherlands)
2008 Networks into Artworks, Palais des Congrès, Paris
2007 Electric Art, Bulgarian Cultural Centre, Paris
Electric Art, Andre Malraux Cultural Centre, Le Pecq (France).
2004 Source inauguration, Crid’Art gallery, Amnéville les Thermes (France).
2002-2003: Orsel Gallery, Paris
2003 Zwindows, performance, La Nacelle, Aubergenville (France)
2000 Romanet Gallery, Paris
1999 2000 years – 2000 spheres, action, Ile de France (France).
1997 Amarante Gallery, Tours (France)
The Ten Truths, EspoArt Gallery, Saint-Germain-en- Laye (France)
1995 Fallet Gallery, Geneva (Switzerland)
1994 The Ten Truths, Dome Gallery, Frankfurt (Germany)
1994 Galerie d’Arcadie, Le Mans (France)
Célima Gallery, Munich (Germany)
Mixing of Waters, action, Corbeil (France)
1993 Alexio Gallery, Blois (France)
B-Z-P-NY, Contemporary Art Festival, Process–Space , Balchik (Bulgaria)
1992 The European School of Advertising Graphic Arts, Saumur (France)
1991 Galerie d’Arcadie, Le Mans (France)
Monsters, in situ performance, Targovitché (Bulgaria)
1990 Le Nouveau Mur, Gallery, Geneva (Switzerland)
To the Top, installation, Earth and Sky exhibition, Schipka Gallery, Sofia (Bulgaria)
Silvery River and Birds, actions, Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria)
1989 Face-lift of downtown and City Centre, Sliven (Bulgaria)
1988 Paper Silhouettes, Ludwig Museum, Aachen (Germany)
1985-1988: Six personal shows in Sofia, Sliven, Targovitché, Burgas, Yambol (Bulgaria)
2017 Power strip-tease, Arty garden, multimedia installation, Bazemont (France)
2015 Panta rei, Exhibition, University of Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)
2014 Guest of honour, Arts Fair, Carrièrres sous Poissy (France)
2012 The aesthetics of overhead power networks, IHEDATE conference, Paris
2011 Electric Networks of Art, CIGRE conference, Reykjavik (Iceland)
2007 Sculptures in Andrésy island, Andrésy (France)
2007 The couple in all its states, Dialogos Gallery, Cachan (France)
2006 Visual Immortality, International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Shumen (Bulgaria)
Integration Show, with Orange, Lille (France)
2005 European Meeting of Sculptures, Montauban (France)
2004 Urban Public Space, Barcelona (Spain)
Céline Gallery, Paris
2003 Argos, the Third Dimension performance, Paris
2002 Opera Gallery, Paris, Singapore, New-York
2001 Sense of the Mystery, Castle of Sedan (France)
Contrast Gallery, Barcelona (Spain)
2000 Céline Gallery, Paris
1999 Palais de Beaulieu, Lausanne (Switzerland)
1995 International Show of Contemporary Art about Music, Angers (France)
1994 Médiart Gallery, Paris
Art Festival, Strathkelvin (Scotland)
Union d’Europe, exhibition, Strasbourg (France)
Brussels’s Art Gallery, Brussels (Belgium)
Art & Prestige Gallery, Paris
1991 Salon d’Automne, Grand-Palais, Paris
1990 Humour and Satire in Art, International Biennial, Gabrovo (Bulgaria)
Wittgenstein Gallery, Vienna (Austria)
1989 Young Painting, International Biennial, Sofia (Bulgaria)
1984-1989: 18 national exhibitions and shows in Bulgaria