Tree of Life.
Genealogies of Bulgarian
The exhibition will be shown at ONE Gallery from 9 July to 31 July. It presents works by four Bulgarian artists from different artistic genres and groups, who, in addition to being artists, are distinguished experts in history and art criticism. Using techniques and media typical of their respective fields – video art and documents, posters, photography, fashion, etc. – they have visualised and textualised a specific period of Bulgarian art by each creating their own take on a “pedigree tree”. Their research is based on historical facts that have then been refracted through personal experience and participation in historical processes. This year’s edition features Albena Mihaylova-Bendji, Lilyana Karadjova, Mariela Gemisheva and Nenko Atanasov.
Albena Mihaylova - Benji
Mariela Gemisheva. Collection of women. 2020. Object. 39x26x9 cm.
Mariela Gemisheva's installation A collection of women presents documentation, part of which is already archival, and important objects that illustrate one of the fundamental ideas in my work as an artist and designer since the 1980s: "to paint with living people" . Gemisheva's work visualizes her passion to work with many people, very different from each other, but mainly women: art critics and curators, journalists, models, photographers, constructors, students, stylists… All kinds of women's and not so women's professions. Documents are present as a process, and objects as images - moments of an ongoing art action. "This is the idea - to create or at least for a moment to organize the perfect collection of women for me. And here fashion appeared quite naturally and logically as the main medium; The phenomenal ability of fashion to depict in action has become a major tool in my work as an artist and designer. ”The main segment of the installation is the fashion performance of Mariela Gemisheva Fashion fire from 2003.
Nenko Atanasov. Genealogy of the Bulgarian Theatre Poster. 2020. Ready Made. 70x50x7 cm
Genealogy of the Bulgarian Theatre Poster by Nenko Atanasov celebrates and chronologically intersects with some of the most significant artists making Bulgarian theatre posters. Starting from the teachers and pioneers who created this art form and its essence in the 1960s and taking us to the present day… This original arrangement is a subjective panorama of the names of artists who have left their mark on the most attractive and meaningful genre in poster art. This perspective distances the viewer from the impact of the work in question by focusing their attention on the personal signature of the poster artist. The autographs are arranged in a way that transforms them into shots constituting works of art that symbolise the order, influence and interconnection between different generations of artists. The first edition of the exhibition was conceived by Ivan Mudov and Desislava Dimova. Curator: Gergana Mudova.
Lilyana Karadjova. Personal Genealogy of Alternative Photography in Bulgaria. 2020. Wet Plate Collodion – Tintype. 18x13cm.
Lilyana Karadjova’s installation Alternative Photography in Bulgaria presents artists who use radical language to counter mass trends. Alternative photography originated in the 1980s as a reaction against aesthetic conformism in the commercial sector and later developed as a revolt against mass photography, which neglected the history of the medium and paved the way for today’s ubiquitous photographs of dubious quality. Institutionally independent photographers and visual artists express their opposition to the depersonalisation of photography through complex photographic processes, putting a contemporary spin on the relevant technique. Lilyana Karadjova has shot their portraits and invited them to create an artistic interpretation of their interactions. Participating, Vanessa Lou, Velin Zayachki, Veneta Tileva, Vladislav Lepoev, Kalin Kostov, Nikola Dyulgyarov, Radostin Sedevchev, Raina Vlaskovska, Stanka Tsonkova-Usha.
Albena Mihaylova-Bendji. I Am Pissed Off (II). 1991. Photo-performance.
“When we talk about contemporary art in Bulgaria, we always turn to the archives. So what are we actually looking at – the art of the present or the art of the past?” Albena Mihaylova-Bendji’s presentation I Dreamed That I Exist tells a story about artistic developments from 1989 to today. Bendji has collected some (arte)facts to which she has a professional and very personal connection, and has then ordered chronologically snapshots from the history of the EDGE group and supported them with documentary materials, taking a small turn through the exploits of the Women on the Edge group to reach the present. Her keeping most of the groups’ archives enabled her to do this.
The project is organized by the Musiz Foundation and funded by the Culture Program of Sofia Municipality 2020.
The first edition of the exhibition is an idea of Ivan Mudov and Desislava Dimova.
About the artists
Albena Mihaylova-Bendji is an artist and co-founder of the Plovdiv group EDGE that has become legendary for its unconventional approach. She has taught at the High School of Performing and Screen Arts in Plovdiv. Albena Mihailova-Bendji lives in Switzerland, where she organises exchanges of artists, projects and festivals between the two countries.
Dr Lilyana Karadjova is a photographer, philosopher, doctor of art history and fine arts, lecturer at the National Academy of Arts and the New Bulgarian University, and long-time columnist for the L’Europeo magazine.
Dr Nenko Atanasov is a chief assistant at the Department of Poster and Visual Communication at the National Academy of Arts and doctor of art history and fine arts. Member of management of the Graphic Design Division of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and member of the Governing Board of the Chamber of Designers in Bulgaria.
Assoc. Prof Mariela Gemisheva, PhD is a fashion designer and performance, installation and site artist, as well as lecturer in fashion at the National Academy of Arts. Mariela Gemisheva is known for numerous unusual and memorable experimental solutions in fashion and art performance. Provocation is an essential element of her work, turning restrictions into advantages.