Maxim Boyadjiev (1954 – 2012), Bulgarian artist:– a small, personal tribute


The Bulgarian artist Maxim Boyadjiev died yesterday of a stroke and lung cancer.

He was a great friend of my wife and her sister; both are, understandably, very upset.

I met him a few times over the past 5 or 6 years. A complicated person.

He was confined to a wheelchair for several years, the result of a car accident. His tiny apartment in Plovdiv was a complete mess: paints, canvases, paint-rags everywhere; domestic chaos; hardly anywhere to sit; Maxim seated on his bed, with everything he absolutely needed within reach, including glasses and bottles of assorted booze.

I remember he used to ask me to go out to the local shop to buy him – chocolate bars. A small luxury.

Despite this chaos, Maxim produced wonderful paintings.

Spiritual… restrained eroticism

To me (no art critic) they were expressions of a deep spirituality (no, I’m not defining that more specifically, ‘cos I don’t know exactly what motivated him); they embraced a restrained, at the same time frustrated, eroticism and abstinence; and his actual painting technique was hugely detailed and refined.

I remember one crazy night a couple of years ago, in the art gallery of the Sofia Opera complex. Maxim and a colleague (also gone) were holding a joint exhibition, due to open the next morning. We said we’d help (along with other volunteers) to hang his paintings.

What an unorganised shambles! The gallery curator (suitably ‘artistic’ – long fingernails, extravagant hair-do, hands waving everywhere) had made a complete mess of things, but kept interfering with everyone who was trying to do their best. Outbursts of violent arguments, while others kept their heads down, pretending not to hear. Comical, now – but not at the time.

However, the official opening, thank goodness, seemed to work.

Poor Maxim, who seems to have driven himself to some point of desperation, perhaps not even caring any more.

His legacy – the positive point of his life? A great affection for his friends (even though frequently expressed over long, rambling, drunken phone calls). His intense imagination and individual creativity. A distinctive artistic style. Many, many, beautiful, lyrical, provocative canvases. That’s what remains. Plus memories.

We’ll all miss him. RIP. Here’s the last painting he published online. Holding a candle… Meanwhile, our respects to his daughter, Denitsa, also an artist.


Related video: A short one by Iva Buzhashka and Pedro Dans

plus, YouTube (32 mins.)

and another (10 mins.)


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