part of the 2008 September of Photography
Today’s world is constantly opening new and exciting possibilities for photography. In this spirit, one of the romantic qualities of photography is still preserved: its ability to be a witness of its time. The Bulgarian works selected here reflect this unstable period of transformation and adjustment typical of the political and economic
upheavals of the 1990s.
upheavals of the 1990s.
The selection can appear condensed or haphazard. Yet it contains the spirit of the time, without much drama or final victory; it retains the atmosphere of hope and desire, of enchantment and frustration.
When in 1995 Luchezar Boyadjiev (born in 1957, lives in Sofia) designed his project Chairs and Symbols, A Project for Peaceful Co-identification, he sent out a call to the whole world, politicians and citizens alike, offering them a chance to resolve their conflicts and questions of identity through one single action. Arrangements of chairs (shaped like a hammer and sickle for Communists, a cross for Christian Democrats, a crescent for fundamentalist Muslims, etc.) located in a huge international congress hall would undoubtedly thrill the mass media.
In The small Eiffel Tower meets the big one, Kamen Stoyanov (born in 1977, lives in Vienna) is ironic about his new privilege, which exists more as abstract potential rather than as a real possibility. “Paris” is a cheap bar somewhere in Bulgaria, whose name and location are made real by the existence of a small and primitive copy of the Eiffel Tower on the bar’s roof. This is enough for the artist “to experience” Paris, the city of dreams. However, later in 2007, Stoyanov was not only able to personally visit Paris, in France, but also to transpose his previous “Parisian experience” in a photographic frame-within-a-frame. For Transfer, the artist is also presenting a recent video called Phantom.
A large number of works by Stefan Nikolaev (born 1970, lives in Paris and Sofia) reflect the state of confusion in the real world surrounding us. In the video Screensaver / The Hard Disk / the Disk, a man walks effortlessly on the ceiling and walls, while channel hopping with his remote control the international standards reinterpreted in Bulgarian. In Monument to Monument, a Bulgarian hero visits another of its kind in Switzerland. Since our minds have been corrupted by various virtual mani pulations, and to convince the viewer that the trip actually took place, the artist shows the visit in a cycle of photo graphs, hoping that our faith in the photographic documents is more stable than our faith in the stability of monuments.
in partnership with the French Institute in Sofia (Bulgaria)