Pareidolia. Staged portraits

(Counter-intuitive project)

Concept note

By analogy with the scientific method and with symbolic references to “opus citatum est”, the project offers a model of the idea of ​​time cyclicity. A model, able to submit evidence for the possibility of experiences of an artistic image (stored in collective memory) to come as a vision through the prism of unabated citation. "Pareidolia" gathers as portrait protagonists - friends and colleagues, entering into theatrical and operetta roles. Through characteristic props - hats and helmets, and with slow shutter speed on the camera, the models as if playing a game enter into quasi-roles, giving new perspectives on the artistic present. Integrated stage movement in the compositional space of the portraits transforms them into a simultaneous performance of a post-dramatic nature.

 Gilles Deleuze defines "motion-image" as essentially related to an indirect representation of time - it presents time without giving us a specific image for it, that is, it does not represent image-time. Perceived through Deleuze's definition, the project allows experimentation with the notion for the "Exhibition-stage" with a fixed "cast", rehearsing in different times and spaces. As a result, there are multiple images-pareidolias from different by credo artistic practices - each with its own time hue in accord with the present-day veracity.

Staged portraits reveal complex and varied connections and dependencies, with deep saturation between photography and painting, and photography and theater, calming down as painting and theater. The paradox of losing the timeframe (no beginning, no middle, and no end) and replacing it with a "time glitch" making unstable the temporal unity, and provoking a time experience different from the usual one. According to Bart, "time crystallizes and transforms perception by turning delayed motion into a "form of time". It seems as if the visual object on stage keeps time within itself. The flow of time has become a "continuing present". A present capable of engaging the viewer in portrait dramaturgy, placing it in an artistic weightlessness, and moving a stream of subjective reminiscences. Directing staged portraits reminds us of the effect of a standing wave in a stationary environment. The movement of the form (in this case, the image) is "splashed" on the periphery of the picture plane, and the return wave interferes with the wave that generated it, thus touring in permanent performance of the image ... And all this in a world that aspires to transform even the image for itself into pareidolia...

Bogdan Alexandrov


portraits without a name



Yet another exhibition of Bogdan Aleksandrov, which is a series of portraits, executed in his characteristic „pointe” acrylic technique. Not surprisingly, they visually lay respect, as this is one of the authors, who can certainly be said that has already left his mark in the process of modernization of Bulgarian painting. Even if we do not know anything about his work that will hardly affect the power of immediate impact coming from complicated morphed images, coloring and painting surface.

But under the apparent professionalism of this intellectually subtle author usually lie far more complex intentions and the key to understanding of his semantic traps lies in the very first word of the name of the exhibition – palimpsest. In his working process Bogdan Aleksandrov uses photography, but not as an aid to construct the scenic image, but as its duplicate nature. Very often, he shoots mirror reflections of his characters and in such way; he achieves additional conditionality of image and compositional solutions. Such transformations of photography in painting underlie contemporary art and it is apparent that the artist skillfully moves in this area.

He is well acquainted with the history of conceptualizing strategies in painting and creates new meanings of portrait image using the ability of photography to “cut” thin layers in time and space. The palimpsest here is understood as an accumulation of old and new meanings, of half-effaced images from drawings, photographs or flashes of memory. For here images of real people are combined with those of already extinct animal and bird species, examined in old photos or drawings which came down to us from scientific expeditions of former times.

At the end, we face a new text in which memory even outweighs specifics inherent to portrait genre. The extinct species gives a new understanding of anonymous images of unnamed people. By examining the bordering attributes of painting and photography, Bogdan Aleksandrov creates a new image unity. Photography and electronic media affect the traditional concept of painting and create a metaimage, which opens up possibilities for interpretation of the past and at the same time brings a sense of actuality of the intentions of its author.