Iaroslava Boubnova on Mon, 2 Jun 1997 22:10:01 +0200 (MET DST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> artnews from the Lower East Side of Europe

Dear Nettimers,
Since I don't think you have been receiving too often news on art events
from Bulgaria, I have decided to use the nettime mailing list in order to
send you the following information. Hopefully you will find it interesting.
Best regards.
Iaroslava Boubnova, Director Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia
PLOVDIV, Bulgaria

"ARS EX NATIO. MADE IN BG", the 4th Annual exhibition of the Soros Center
for the Arts - Sofia opened on May 16, 1997 in the Old Town of Plovdiv,
Bulgaria. Curated by Iaroslava Boubnova and Maria Vassileva, curators from
the independent Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia, the exhibition shows
site-specific installations, video projections, urban environmental
projects, various object works by 32 artists of different generations and
media. The venues for exhibiting these are the yards, the basements and the
interiors of numerous early-19th century houses in the specific style of the
National Revival period and the street spaces in-between them which form the
Old Town of Plovdiv. Plovdiv itself being established in the 4th c. BC by
Philip, Alexander the Great's father, under the name of Philipopolis. Among
the artists in the show are the internationally known names of Nedko
Solakov, Luchezar Boyadjiev and Pravdoliub Ivanov, the non-conventional art
movement in BG initiators Lyuben Kostov and Kiril Prashkov, the very young
and very promising Tania Abadjieva, Nadia Genova, Kalin Serapionov and
Rassim Kristev and Milcho Andreev.  

"ARS EX NATIO. MADE IN BG" is meant to interfere in the currently relevant
in Eastern Europe artdebate about the national characteristics of
contemporary (Bulgarian) art. In the title of the show "Art of the People",
in the language of the first cultural assimilators - the Romans, is
supplemented with "Made in Bulgaria" - the stamped cliché on the packaged
goods that are meant to be sold outside of the country-producer. The
exhibition does not strive to exhaust the debate on the "national" nor to
formulate a distinct concept about it. It enters a question into the
discussion which was initiated by a new situation for art after 1989  - the
moment when a conservative, closed-off and even aesthetically
"nationalistic" art context is "crossing over" into another reality. This
reality is "measured" by the newly available loads of information about the
world (art included) and the newly formed incredible ambitions of the
artists to be part of it, on one hand, and on the other - by the harshest
set of current political, economic and social circumstances in Bulgaria. Now
the artist is put between two types of pressure - freedom and chaos. His/her
art exists in the middle of the shock produced by the clash between extreme
personal freedom and extremely restrictive surrounding reality. 

The artists in the show are attempting to visualize this situation and give
new meaning to the debate.
If in the beginning of the 1980-is the problem for the periphery was how to
invade the center, now in the 1990-is, the question is what, after all, are
the specific national characteristics of a quite universal art discourse?
The "introspective look", here and now, is triggered by the eagerly accepted
cosmopolitan nature of the entire cultural situation and the main question
is: "Just how art "Made in Bulgaria" is related to art "Made in the World"?
Or, to use some "foreign" terminology instead of a metaphor - just how
nationally productive is the International Monetary Fund (IMF), just how
Bulgarian is the World bank, etc.? And the "answers" offer among others a
specifically printed simulative "touristic" brochure on the displays in the
local Ethnographic Museum with discreet interventions by N. Solakov,
computer drawings made on the streets from the live nature of the Old
Town-Plovdiv and presented in the form of a large-scale panorama of computer
print-outs and of the "pulsating" Old Town in a computer animation, etc. by
L. Boyadjiev, 15 kg of used grounded Turkish coffee spread flat on the floor
as a carpet in an 18th c. room interior by N. Genova, a 4 m toll and open
"Door to Heaven" made out of silk and suspended high in the air above a town
square by L. Kostov, names of famous Bulgarians who have become part of
world culture such as Orpheus, Cyril and Methodius, Christo, Julia Kristeva,
Elias Canetti "written" out of tree branches to form fences by K. Prashkov, etc.

In order to investigate the relevant aspects of the problem an international
theoretical conference  under the title "Is there anything between "here and
there" in contemporary art?" took place on May 17-18, 1997 in the Open
Society Club - Plovdiv. Among the international participants were Bart de
Baere (Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst - Gent), Christopher Philips ("Art in
America" Magazine), Joseph Bakstein (ICA - Moscow), Yuri Leiderman (artist -
Moscow), Haralampi G. Oroschakoff (artist - Munich), Suzana Milevska (MCA -
Skopje), etc. who "joined forces" with Bulgarian philosophers, political
scientists, folklore studies specialists, art critics, curators and artists
in the attempts to debate the issue both "from here" and "from there". 

The forthcoming catalogue will cover both the exhibition and the
accompanying conference.

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@icf.de and "info nettime" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner@icf.de