“The Other Eye” is a series of exhibitions by the idea of Maria Vassileva, where non-art historians and non-curators are invited to work with the Sofia City Art Gallery museum collection. The project aims to look beyond traditional interpretations of history and, possibly, “unearth” somewhat forgotten works, and also trace new links connecting the latter.
The Other Eye project is designed to fight precisely the inertia in viewing and interpreting. It includes in the dialogue with museum exhibits people who exercise their imaginations in other cultural fields or who are not burdened with narrow specialized knowledge. We rely on their fresh gaze to offer us surprising discoveries and to build new contexts for familiar works.
The first exhibition under this project, Luchezar Boyadjiev: Artist in the Storage (2010), took us through an installation labyrinth built on the basis of intimate, friendly, collegial and official relationships between generations of artists, relationships that have interwoven their works into a canvas of invisible, but definitive for their oeuvre, dialogues. Through the personal gaze of someone who is part of this amalgam of intrigues and emotions situated on a small visible territory, Luchezar Boyadjiev drew a tale about different times and storylines running uninterruptedly through them. In Out of Time (2011), the philosopher Boyan Manchev countered his own expectation of discovering in the collection primarily grand historical subjects and ideological narratives. Conversely, he found a harmonious balance between “private/public, everyday/holiday, human/inhuman, coercion/freedom, ideological utopia/idyllic utopia” and devoted his study to the specific, purely artistic time that seems to overcome historical time.
Ani Vaseva, Boryana Rossa and Monika Vakarelova juxtapose different views and perceptions about the collection which, albeit conflicting at first sight, find multiple points of intersection. Their gaze moves between the drama of the bleak reality and the timelessness of the reality that-may-have-been, between expectation and action, between the existent and the non-existent; it explores the storage rooms and tries to discover works with a “dual foundation” (as Ani Vaseva puts it). The world of art is made up of many worlds – as, in fact, is life itself. Ani, Boryana and Monika mark a territory of their own over the decades and offer it to us as one of the many possible routes through time and space.
The exhibition features approximately one hundred works by artists from different eras and trends from the late 19th century to the present day, performed in various techniques - painting, graphics, sculpture, photography, video, object. Among the authors are Georgi Danchov, Ivan Mrkvicka, Andrey Nikolov, Tsanko Lavrenov, Pencho Balkanski, Veselin Staikov, Binka Vazova, Stefan Gatsev, Georgi Baev, Lika Yanko, Vassil Simittchiev, Stanislav Pamukchiev, Margarita Pueva, Edmond Demirdjian, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Ivan Moudov, Stefaniia Batoeva and others.
A catalog was published in Bulgarian and English.
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Ani Vaseva (born in Sofia in 1982) is a playwright and theatre director. Her productions include the radio play Sick (2010), A Dying Play (2010), Frankenstein (2012), The Alleater (2012) and Meteor (2013; all in Bulgarian). Co-founder of METHEOR.
Boryana Rossa (born in Sofia in 1972) is an interdisciplinary artist and curator who works in the fields of performance, film, photography and digital arts, as well as on her own curatorial projects. Together with Oleg Mavromatti, she co-founded the ULTRAFUTURO group in 2004. She teaches at the Department of Transmedia at Syracuse University, New York.
Monika Vakarelova (born in Sofia in 1987) is a doctoral student at Sofia University’s Department of History and Theory of Culture. Her research is in the field of cultural history of modernity, and her present interests are related to images and imageless events.