Лого на Софийска Градска Художествена Галерия
Анимация по време на зареждане

Vaska Emanouilova Gallery presents Between Welcome and Goodbye Artist positioning Vasilena Gankovska, Daniela Kostova and Olivia Robinson, Iva Vacheva, Kamen Stoyanov, Kosta Tonev, Lazar Lyutakov, Stoyan Dabov Curator Vladiya Mihaylova

14 December 2007 - 27 January 2008

The exhibition is featuring work from Bulgarian-born artists who do not live in Bulgaria. It is intriguing as it provides insight into the type of art they make in view of the specifics of the contemporary art scene in the countries they live in and the networks within which they work. The exhibition focuses on artists themselves – on the position they have chosen and the way they define where they stand with respect to the world and the general art scene which is turning more and more into a medium for negotiations and various social contracts as a result of the ongoing globalization processes. And the latter involve economic, cultural and political positions and interests. Contemporary artists participate in those negotiations defining their own position in the world. And this position is reflected by the variety of cultural hybrids in between the extremities of local and global without being that much influenced by the already outdated notions of traditional cultural or national identity. 

The diversity of artist positions is also reflected by the variety of media employed by individual artists, namely: painting, drawing, video, photography, sculpture, and also performance, action painting, installation.
The exhibition comments upon the art scene in Bulgaria and the opportunities it provides for the creation of art. It presents a multifaced image of the contemporary young Bulgarian artist, who is free from the limitations and the trauma of inherited cultural identity faced by artists in the early 90’s. The implicit message of the exhibition is that the artist is a “citizen of the world”. The crossing points of various cultural contexts with differing problems and perspectives constitute the exhibition’s content. Therefore the exhibition’s open perspective suggests that both the individual artist and the local art scene should seek to identify themselves within the broader context of the global modern art scene.

The exhibition is made with support of the American Foundation for Bulgaria

Works featured in the exhibition and artist profiles:
(original work titles are in English and German)

Vasilena Gankovska: “A Burggarten Afternoon” (1, 2, 3, 4, 2007
(oil paints, marker on canvas)

Vasilena Gankovska was born in Troyan, Bulgaria in 1978. She graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts in Sofia in 2001 and continued with her studies in the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna where she is currently working on her PhD thesis in the field of cultural research. The exhibitions of her work include: „Park Life“, Artothek-Galerie, Vienna, 2006, Raum/Zeit, together with Markus Dressler in Siemens ArtLab, Vienna, 2005. She also participated in group projects, including „Translation without alternative“, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, 2005, „Reproduction without alternative“, АТА Centre for Contemporary Art, Sofia, 2004, etc.

Daniela Kostova and Olivia Robinson: „I Am What You Want Me To Be”, 2007, video, digital prints

Daniela Kostova was born in 1974 in Sofia, Bulgaria. She graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts Sofia in 1998 and was awarded and MFA degree upon completion of the Program in Electronic Arts at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N. Y. (2005). Projects of hers were presented in Assab One, Milan (2007), Siggraph, San Diego, CA (2007), MAN Museum, Нуоро, Italy (2006), Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Ferrara, Italy (2006), CEC ArtsLink, New York, (2006), Small Gallery, Tirana (2006), Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2005), Centre d’art Contemporain, Geneva (2004), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Тоrino (2004), Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2003). 
Between 2000 and 2003 Daniela was the director and curator of the Irida Gallery, Sofia.
She is currently teaching Electronic Arts and curating the BioArt Initiative at the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensseler Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York.

Olivia Robinson lives and works in the USA. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art and was also awarded a degree in Electronic Arts by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York. She has put up performances and exhibitions in the Baltimore Museum of Art, the WPA/Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C., the American Visionary Art Museum, the Museo d'Arte Provincia di Nuoro in Sardegna, Italy, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Performa 05 at PS1 in New York, and the 2005 and 2007 Boston Cyberarts Festivals.
She is an assistant professor at the Department of Art at the Syracuse University in Syracuse, N. Y.

Iva Vacheva: „Two semesters at Studio No 51”, 2004, mixed media (Zwei Semester im Atelier Nr 51)

Iva Vacheva was born in 1981 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts Sofia in 2004 and went on with her studies at the Berlin University of the Arts (Universität der Künste Berlin). The exhibitions she participated in include Preview Berlin, Kunstagenten Contemporary Art Gallery in Berlin; Sondern Ausstellung der UdK in Art Frankfurt; Youth Arts Festival, Greece; Istanbul Student Triennale and her latest solo exhibition in Krammig & Pepper Contemporary in Berlin. 
In 2003 she won a painting award presented by the Post Bank Sofia.

Kamen Stoyanov: „Brake Shous” 15 drawings

Kamen Stoyanov was born in 1977 in Rousse, Bulgaria. He graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts Sofia and later graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He is currently an assistant professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. The exhibitions he participated in include “Last Minute”, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig; “Blood and Honey, Future is on the Balkans”, Sammlung Essel, Klosterneuburg, “Reproduction without alternative”, АТА Centre for Contemporary Art, Sofia, SUITCASE ILLUMINATED # 5 Parallel Economies, P74 Center and Gallery Ljubljana. Kamen Stoyanov won various awards including the Vienna Visual Arts Award (2007) and the MUMOK award in Zone 1 of the International Contemporary Art Fair Vienna (2007).

Kosta Tonev: Costa, 2007, video, print, wall drawing

Kosta Tonev was born in 1980 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts Sofia in 2004 and went on with his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in the same year. The exhibitions he participated in include „Important message” and „(Monstro)City tales” in the Sofia City Art Gallery, „Play Sofia” in Kunsthalle, Vienna, Donumenta in Regensburg, Germany, etc. Kosta Tonev’s solo exhibitions include: The Day Is Not Over – A New Day Is Coming Kunsthalle, Meidling, Vienna, Austria, The Full Picture, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia and Dimensions of Personal Comfort, Gallery XXL, Sofia.

Lazar Lyutkov: „Reserved”, 2007, 8 photographs and „The Thief”, 2007, action 

Lazar Lyutkaov was born in 1977 in Shabla, Bulgaria. Between 1996 and 1998 he studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts Sofia. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2005. The exhibitions he participated in include SOCIAL SCULPTURE / CULTURAL DESIGN No. 2, Michael Hall Contemporary, Vienna; Suedbahnhoff hl.st., Gandy Gallery, Bratislava; Same Same But Different, Ryllega Gallery, Hanoi; Fat Plants (together with Karin Fauchard and Michael Weidhofer) in the „Pistolet” Gallery and Remember Sofia Underground, at the Shipka 6 Gallery, Sofia.
Lazar Lyutkaov is among the co-founders of the Lassie exhibition space in Vienna (2004), who also co-initiated “Baba Vasa’s Basement” exhibition space in Shabla, Bulgaria.

Stoyan Dabov: Heart to Head Makeup, digital prints

Stoyan Dabov was born in 1985 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and currently lives and works in San Francisco, California. He is a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. Dabov's work has been exhibited broadly throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including "Drawing Chance," a solo exhibition at the Diego Rivera Gallery and group exhibitions at The Garage Biennale and Balazo 18. His public performances/interventions have been carried out in range of California locations, including the Marin Headlands in Sausalito, the Berkeley Hills, Treasure Island and Chinatown, San Francisco.

Dimitar Kazakov from the Bohem Gallery collection and presentation of the book Dimitar Kazakov-Neron - A Closer View

22 November 2007 - 16 December 2007

The exhibition includes some of Dimitar Kazakov’s so far non-displayed works from the privatecollection of Bohem Art Gallery. There will be presented works from different creative periods of the author dating from the late sixties, the seventies, eighties and nineties of the 20th century. The collection comprises graphics, pastels, water-colours, gouache works and paintings. What is of special interest and accentuates the exhibition is the black-and-white mixed graphic technique called by the author himself “neronographics” after his popular nickname.

Dimitar Kazakov was born in 1933 (he died in 1992). In 1965 he graduated in graphics from the National Art Academy under Professor Evtim Tomov. He worked on paintings, graphics, drawings, ceramics and monumental wood plastic pieces. In his works he gives a unique rendering of typical Bulgarian folklore themes and elaborates on the features of some universal personages. His preferences are directed mainly towards the genre compositions inspired by everyday life. He also shows interest in depicting the spiritual world of his characters. Throughout the years Kazakov builds up his personal decorative-linear style, which is easily recognizable notwithstanding the technique he applies. 

Bohem Art Gallery was opened in 2006. Its work is directed towards the serious professional setting up of a collection of eminent Bulgarian artists’ works. For a short period the gallery has managed to form the collections of Dechko Uzunov and Atanas Yaranov. This is the first private gallery in Bulgaria which Sofia Art Gallery has been cooperating with in its desire to make the public more familiar with the famous artist Dimitar Kazakov.

Vaska Emanouilova Gallery presents: PLACES WHERE THE WORLD BREAKS AWAY: LETS GO TO GIURGIU! a project of Kamen Stoyanovs

08 November 2007 - 09 December 2007

The exhibition in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery marks the beginning of a series of exhibitions and events within the framework of the platform for presenting young authors A place to meet which started a few years ago on the initiative of Sofia Art Gallery.

After a short break starting from November 2007 the platform resumes its active existence as a continuing project and part of the policy of working with contemporary art and young artists of Sofia Art Gallery. Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, a branch of Sofia Art Gallery, hosts the platform providing exhibition space for the projects materialized within its framework.

Kamen Stoyanov’s Places where the world disintegrates: Let’s go to Giurgiu! consists of three parts:
- a performance in Sofia Art Gallery on 5th October, 2007 at 7 pm
- an exhibition and a photo collecting campaign at Canetti’s Home, Rousse ( 9th October, 2007 – 1st November, 2007 ); opening: 9th October, 2007, at 7 pm
- an exhibition within the framework of the platform for young authors A place to meet in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, branch of Sofia Art Gallery, Sofia, opening: 8th October, 2007 (8th October, 2007 – 9th December, 2007, at 7 pm

At the beginning of 2007 the municipality of the town of Rousse organized a free trip to Gyurgevo on the occasion of Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union. Kamen Stoyanov shot the event turning it into a video film entitled Let’s go to Giurgiu! which is the core of the current project. From the position of a participant in the event, he renders the historic moment for Bulgaria from the point of view of the ordinary person. The one who crosses the border of the country for the first time having his own personal expectations and hopes. Thus the “big” political event is examined on a personal human scale. Trying to underscore this, Kamen Stoyanov organizes a campaign for collecting personal photographs of people who have taken part in the organized trip, which are going to be part of the exhibition in Rousse and then shown in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery in Sofia.

This transformed perspective of the events is something which is of great interest to Kamen Stoyanov. Apart from the Let’s go to Giurgiu! video the project also includes four more video works of the author. Each of them concerns the sometimes strange, accidental and unexpected conventionalities of our everyday life where the “big” topics of contemporary culture take a different perspective. Among the problems that grab the author’s attention are:
- the modern museum and the cultural representations it works with considered from the point of view of the dynamics of the changing environment outside the museum walls - Roma Open Air Museum, 2006;
- the problem of emigration and the contemporary forms of nomadism in different cultural and political contexts - Move your Hands, 2007; 
- the influence of Hollywood and the imprints it leaves on our culture as well as the images it creates with their marketing value and success stories - Don’t move your head, don’t move your hands, don’t move your lips, and you will succeed …, 2006;
- the status of the work of art itself, the broadening of the concepts of a work of art and the technologies of presenting art in the contemporary culture - Underground Butterflies, 2007.

The inclusion of the video films within the framework of the project Places where the world disintegrates: Let’s go to Giurgiu! aims at underscoring the specific standpoint of a documentary reporter and an explorer the artist himself takes in scrutinizing the everyday conventionalities. Each of these conventionalities represents a special moment of transformation and immersion into the current problems of contemporary culture and contemporary art in particular. Each of them is a special kind of an artistic document about a place where our personal concepts, often based on clichés, crack up acquiring a different perspective. The project emphasizes on the place, the topos, the local event which acquire a growing importance in the context of the ongoing processes of globalization.

Initiators of Kamen Stoyanov’s current exhibition are Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, Sofia and Elias Canetti International Association, Rousse in co-operation and with the support of the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria, Robert Bosch Foundation and Sofia Art Gallery.

Curators: Vladyia Mihaylova (curator of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery) and Timo Köster (a scholarship holder of Robert Bosch Foundation in Bulgaria and manager at the Elias Canetti International Association, Rousse.

Kamen Stoyanov was born in Rousse, Bulgaria in 1977. He graduate from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia and then studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He graduated in 2005 and is currently an assistant professor to Johanna Kandel at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He has been awarded a number of prizes: the Academy of Fine Arts Award, Vienna (2005); Young Author’s Award, Zone 1 at the Contemporary Art Fair, Vienna (Viennafair 2007); Visual Arts Award, Vienna (2007). His works can be seen in the contemporary art collections of Vienna Municipality, The Museum of Modern Arts (MUMOK, Vienna) and various private collections. 

SHORTLIST 2007 Gaudenz B. Ruf Award

18 October 2007 - 18 November 2007

The Gaudenz B. Ruf Award was created in 2007 by a Swiss national who, living in Bulgaria from 1995 till 2000, got acquainted with its rich cultural life and who is convinced of the artistic potential of this country.

The Award is financed by a fund established in Switzerland.

The Award aims at promoting and propagating artistic expression in Bulgaria in the field of visual arts and focuses in particular on the younger generation.

The Award is granted every year both for young as well as for advanced artists in the framework of a competition.

In 2007, the members of the jury for the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award are: Kamen Balkanski, Sofia, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Sofia, Lucia Coray, Zurich, Elena Panayotova, Sofia, Hedwig Saxenhuber, Vienna, Gaudenz B. Ruf, Berne.

The secretariate received 184 applications. At their meeting end of May 2007, the jury selected the following candidates to be included in the shortlist 2007: 

Young Artists: Svetozara Alexandrova, Stara Zagora, Georgi Georgiev - Jorras, Sofia, Nadezhda Karapencheva, Sofia, Ivan Moudov, Sofia, Bora Petkova, Sofia, Samuil Stoyanov, Dobrich, Violeta Tanova, Sofia, Stela Vasileva, Sofia, Borjana Ventsislavova, Sofia. 

Advanced Artists: Alla Georgieva, Sofia, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Sofia, Nikolay Koliazov, Stara Zagora, Emil Mirazchiev, Plovdiv, Kiril Prashkov, Sofia, Kalin Serapionov, Sofia 
Vasko Slavkov, Sofia, Simeon Stoilov, Sofia, Dan Tenev, Dimitrovgrad, Krassimir Terziev, Sofia, Alexander Valchev, Sofia. 

The selected artists participate in an exhibition at the Sofia Art Gallery. At the opening the two winners of the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award were announced:
Svetozara Alexandrova – for young artist
Krassimir Terziev – for advanced artist

Exhibition opening: October 3, 2007, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

03 October 2007 - 04 November 2007

“In search of history” is an exhibition of portraits, photographs and documents of Ms. Vaska Emanouilova, which is the first event in the exhibition programme of the “Vaska Emanouilova” Gallery.

In the exhibition are presented portraits of the sculpress by Stoyan Venev, Nenko Balkanski, Karl Yordanov, Alexander Stamenov, Lyuba Palikareva, Svetlin Rousev, etc., as well as photographs from various periods of her life that have never been on exhibit before. The portrait itself is viewed as a special record of time providing information not only about the diversity of artistic styles, but also about the topics and issues that artists consider to be of importance in the time they live in.

The documentary material provides the connection between definite phases, interests and artistic means the sculptress went through highlighting the most prominent features of her art, namely her pronounced interest in portraits during the 1930’s, her social convictions demonstrated in her sculptures of the 1940’s and the 1950’s, her interest in the naked body demonstared in both her sculptures and paintings, the compositional closeness employed in sculpting social, mythological and erotic figures, etc. 

The presentation of Vaska Emanouilova’s artistic biography with portraits, photographs, sculptures and paintings provides insight into various stages of the Bulgarian art tradition. The sculptress starts her career as a member of the Soiety of the New, then she becomes a member of the Society of Independent Artists, whose ideas were reformatory, she also participates in some of the first female artist exhibitions, in most of the Union of Bulgarian Artists exhibitions and also in exhibitions abroad. The exhibition is a chronological account of the said events telling the life story of the artist while focusing on details such as the artist’s working environment, her fellow artists, the atmosphere of conversations and meetings. All those details help reconstruct historical events and provide insight into the artist’s individual search for a specific aesthetic approach.

Finding history through details is provocative, as it aims to inspire various research approaches, as well as to trigger various initiatives related to the collection, systematising and archival processing of documentary material, which would expand and supplement the collection of the sculptress’s works left by her to the Sofia City Art Gallery in 1985. Thus the history of Vaska Emanouilova’s public collection, which starts in 1984 with the opening of the permanent exhibition on “Shesti Septemvri” Str., reaches a stage when it is necessary to find a new venue for the exhibition, and continues with the serach for new times, contexts and stories to describe the works of the sculptress. This would in turn help give an idea of the development of a whole period of the history of Bulgarian art, a period that has contributed to the formation of our tradition and heritage. 

„In search of history” is an open-ended exhibition from the standpoint of researcher curiosity, as well as from the perspective of history itself, as the “Vaska Emanouilova” Gallery will keep contributing to history pursuing an exhibition policy that promotes the works of young artists under the “Meeting point” initiative. 

DYNAMICS IN THE DIALOGUE The first exhibition 30 years later

27 September 2007 - 20 January 2008

After being founded by the mayor of the capital General Vladimir Vazov in 1928 Sofia Art Gallery went through many stages. It became a separate museum in 1952 but got its own space in the building at №1 Gourko Str. only 21 years later in 1973. 

The gallery opened its doors in 1977. At that time the necessary architectural reconstructions took place and the exhibition halls and storage rooms were completed. The first exposition of the museum was also in the process of preparation. Turning a small gathering of pictures into a considerable collection had taken a long time. In the mid-seventies it already amounted to 2607 works distributed into three departments – Paintings, Graphic and Sculpture. These works have remained the founding pillar of the museum. The 1977 exhibition included some emblematic works for the history of Bulgarian art from the period between the 20ies and the 80ies of the 20th century. In the course of several years it was only this exposition that was being renewed and enriched.

Recreating the spirit of the “first one” and celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of its inauguration has the ambition to go beyond being just one of the regular exhibitions in the history of Sofia Art Gallery. We hope that it will become a territory where different generations can conduct a dialogue. We will be glad if it further contributes to an adequate analysis of the development of Bulgarian art. 

In his speech at the inauguration ceremony on 1st November, 1977 the then current director Atanas Neikov said: ‘The gallery is not going to condemn to a “museum confinement” the works of art it possesses provided that it renews its exposition, constantly enriches its fund, searches for problematic works and recognizes the new phenomena in the vigorous development of our art.’ Unfortunately this outspoken confidence in the development of the museum has been confirmed only to some extent. Since the 80ies the funds have been complemented only by donations and the important process of buying works of art significant for the development of Bulgarian art has been interrupted. It is only this current 2007 that some changes have occurred, which make us believe that what has been missed for the last 18 years will be made up for. 

Adelina Fileva


30 August 2007 - 30 September 2007

GEORGI MASHEV 120th years since the birth of the artist

12 July 2007 - 31 July 2007

The exhibition organized to mark the 120th anniversary since Georgi Mashev’s birth includes 49 works of art from different artistic periods. The main part of the collection belongs to Stanislav Dospevski City Art Gallery of Pazardjik and consists of 34 paintings and 11 drawings. Sofia City Art Gallery participates with four works from its fund.

A versatile personality and a learned artist, Georgi Mashev expresses his artistic activity into two basic but presumably opposing ways. On the one hand he is a master of portrait where his psychological insight combines with a subtle observation and a precise vivid drawing. On the other hand he’s got paintings on fantastic and fairy-tale subjects where his unleashed imagination leads him to symbolic generalizations and emotional revelations. Another part of Mashev’s works worth considering are his historic compositions which present realistic and vivid characters rich in dignity and grandeur. His keen social attitude becomes apparent in the artist’s satirical works. 

A contemporary of the symbolic influences in our art and the infatuation with secession and impressionism, Georgi Mashev doesn’t remain indifferent to the aesthetic quests of our artists in the first half of the 20th century. Yet his mature works find their plastic support mainly in the precise realistic drawing which allows for an earthly rendering even of his fantastic pieces. 

Georgi Mashev was born on 1st January, 1887 in the town of Pazardjik. Until the eighth grade he studied in his home town and in 1906 he finished First Male Secondary School in Sofia. In the autumn of the same year he started attending the general Department of the School of Drawing (the present National Art Academy) under Prof. Petko Klisourov. For a short period of time he studied at the Petersburg Art Academy and then between 1909-1910 in the Special Department of Painting in Brussels under Prof. Edmond Richard. In 1912 he graduated from the Department of Painting of the School of Drawing under the professors Ivan Murkvichka, Stefan Ivanov and Ivan Angelov. He worked as a teacher in Second Male Secondary School in Sofia and then in Tsaribrod. In September 1915 Georgi Mashev organized his first solo exhibition in Sofia, which went off with great success. Right after Bulgaria got involved in WWI he was appointed military artist of the Cavalry division. In 1916-1917 he took part in the exhibition of Bulgarian artists in Berlin. After the end of WWI he worked as a teacher in Pazardjik where in 1920 he opened his second solo exhibition and took part in the exhibition of the Society of South-Bulgarian Artists. Between 1932-1945 Mashev organized solo exhibitions in Sofia, Plovdiv, Pazardjik and in 1945-1946 he took part in the general exhibitions of the Pazardjik artists. He died on 10th August, 1946.

Boris Missirkov, Georgi Bogdanov ON THE TRACKS OF THE BRIGHT FUTURE

12 July 2007 - 31 July 2007

Boris Misirkov and Georgi Bogdanov (together with: Dimitar Bojilov – interviews; Sandra Klincheva – Styling; Tsveti Hristova –make-up and hair-style) develop the On the Tracks of the Bright Future sequence inspired by the topic Cliché as Identity presented at the Visual Seminar*. The two authors are trying to find out those common grounds that create the image of the contemporary Bulgarian. They do not probe into any particular subjects but rather resort to the dreams as the most favourable territory which will enable them to identify the target group of people. These are 17-19 year-old youngsters, mainly students in the high grades, who are at the threshold of real life but are not yet active participants in it.

The conversations with the interviewees are based on the questions: ‘What would you like to become in the future?’ and ‘How do you imagine yourself in 20-30 years’ time?’ and the photographs present a visualization of some of these ideas about the future.

Boris Misirkov and Georgi Bogdanov give flesh and blood to dreams and offer a chance for those who dream to see their own forecasts come true. From the numerous interviews they have picked up only those answers which are indicative of the general trends and yet transcend the boundaries of the conventional. From here on the team builds up the images using some cinema techniques in creating a non-commercial product. The fantasies of the participants intertwine with the imagination of the authors to create something which is on the verge of reality and fiction. In the last phase of the project the characters face their own dreams while Boris Misisrkov and Georgi Bogdanov record their reactions. Are they going to like themselves or reconsider their own ideals? Are they going to stick to the cliché notion of prosperity or try to detach from it? To what extent does the visual cliché determine the mentality of whole strata and generations? These are only some of the questions Boris Misirkov and Georgi Bogdanov pose to the public.

*The Visual Seminar project was carried out in the period 2003-2006 as an initiative of the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia in co-operation with the Centre for Advanced Studies – Sofia. It was supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation within the framework of the relations programme.

Krassimir Terziev. Background Action

10 July 2007 - 31 July 2007

Background Action is a spatial narrative that reconstructs a journey into film making and the imposition of war in a globalized mode of film production industry.
It was a three month long journey taken by 300 Bulgarian men, hired by Warner Bros as “specialised extras” for the filming of the battlescenes of the motion picture Troy (2004).
The Bulgarians were hired to represent ancient warriors from the Greek and Trojan tribes in the epic war, described by Homer in the Iliad, that was to be brought to life again by the movie Troy.
And as in the Iliad, where the entire Book 2 is dedicated to the narration of the alias of the Achaean and Trojan armies hired from all the lands in Homeric world, the 300 Bulgarians were hired along with 1000 Mexican extras to stage that war. The only difference is that they had to battle both sides depending on the filming plans of the day.
Most of them made the journey with the idea to see how the movies are made, to see Mexico and to meet the great movie-stars. Some of them hoped they might be picked up and developed in the movie-business.
In fact the trip to the movie-world turned out to be a constant shift of the way they perceived their roles.
The extras were totally confused by the technique of film-making. From Mexico itself, they only saw a piece of a few square kilometers of desert where the film-set was built
and where they spent 12 to 14 hours a day under the scorching sun. The stars were severely guarded, if they were ever there.
What was left as a memorable experience were the battle scenes that went completely out of control and became very real, with injuries and real blood on top of the emulated make-up, running horses and showers of arrows.
So that by the end of the filming, Warner Brother’s simplistic vision whereby the extras could be misrecognised as Greeks and Trojans became reality, and they became that ancient warriors in order to survive the actual fights. Just like the warriors from Iliad they brought home their trophies and ransoms in the shape of photos and video recordings. 
These are the images in focus in the installation “Background Action”. They stand on a shaking ground between touristic photographs, and documents of hyperreal events and environments.
Epic scenes, coming from an ancient world, recreated by perfectly designed sets and costumes are suddenly ruptured by objects, gestures and practices from the everyday world.
The combination of these trophy-images with the personal stories of the extras, maps of the production activities and metaphoric figures creates a narrative that questions selfidentification
in a war staged by globalized film industry that far exceeds the boundaries of the motion picture.

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