South Africa-based Bulgarian artist Rado Kirov developed an interest in metal art at a very young age, when he was first exposed to the Panagyursko Treasure, an exquisitely hand crafted collection of golden artefacts dating back to the 3rd century BC. Rado initially trained extensively in copper smithing under the tutelage of Alexander Raev, one of Bulgaria’s great craftsmen. After moving to Cape Town with his family in 1991, he turned his attention towards working with silver and gold as artistic media and he worked for many years with the prestigious Pagliari Group in Cape Town. During this time he had the privilege of hand-crafting numerous prestigious pieces, including a silver chalice presented in 1998 to the late Pope John Paul II by former President Nelson Mandela on behalf of the South African Government.
Over the past 15 years Rado has been working with a renewed artistic freedom of expression and his focus has shifted towards the creation of striking, large-scale, 3-dimensional contemporary metal artworks. Using his wealth of experience working with silver, copper and gold, Rado embarked on years of experimentation with stainless steel as an alternative medium and subsequently developed the unique and beautiful "Mercury Effect". This is a revolutionary technique of manipulating sheets of stainless steel under extreme temperatures to achieve a rippled surface that is mirror-polished to reflect, dynamically, its surroundings.
The "Mercury Effect" technique is a closely guarded secret, which Rado uses to create truly unique artworks, both free-standing pieces and 3-dimensional wall sculptures. The intriguing, multi-faceted effect of these metal artworks causes, simultaneously, a mirroring and distortion of their surrounding environment. Also distorted and transfigured in their surface is the beholder, who is transformed beyond recognition within the undulating, light-reflecting ripples of the sculpture.
“As an artist, I believe that one’s creative pursuits are a mirror for one’s understanding and perception of life; it is my unwaveringly optimistic, positive outlook on life that I endeavour to express through my art. My mirror-polished stainless steel artworks reflect, whimsically and playfully, everything in their surroundings transforming even the ugliest surroundings into a beautiful vision.”
Rado is most certainly “one to watch” on the contemporary sculpture circuit, following a great deal of success exhibiting with the prestigious Albemarle Gallery in London this year.