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Nov 18, 2014

LIVING IN THE POST-SOCIALISM


Вulgarian video art in Lithuania
gallery MENO PARKAS, KAUNAS, LITHUANIA
8 November 2014, 18:00

Exhibition view with 10 min National Museum of Natural History, 2013 Photo: Neno Belchev

On 9 November 1989, the Berlin Wall was destroyed by the Berlin citizens with hammers, pickaxes and anything they had on hand. However, 25 years after its falldown, a similar such "wall" still exists in people's minds on both sides of the former Iron Curtain countries and it is not possible simply to destroy it using just hammers. Where is Bulgaria after all these 25 years - the small country on the edge of Southeast Europe, which has recently signed a contract for cultural exchanges with North Korea? The selection does not attempt to answer this question directly, and it could hardly be possible to give a definite answer since Bulgarian society itself is divided by an invisible "Iron Curtain", which lately, after raging political scandals and the subsequent street protests, becomes more apparent. And although Bulgarians have recently attempted to lift it, the change did not happen as we expected. For this ? century, more than 1 000 000 people emigrated, especially young generation. Many Bulgarian artists have also migrated.

Does art, or moreso the individual artist bear responsibility for this? If so, what kind of responsibility? Where is the Bulgarian video art in this situation? Can video art offer a viable solution or will its desperate cry of protest remain without echo? Maybe video art does not resonate in Bulgarian politics, but politics affect directly or indirectly Bulgarian video art, though this is not a "political" selection. The participating artists do not directly answer these and other issues but rather indirectly offer their artistic methods and ways to purify human minds from "Berlin Walls" and "Iron Curtains". Bulgarian video artists handle this without complex visual, performance, or computer-generated effects, they have no filming crews nor huge budgets, but instead they rely on simplicity of expression and a strong idea. A little goes a long way.

For these 25 years, the number of people, who discovered video as their way of expression, has increased slowly but consistently and now there are a lot of people who work in this field. At this stage, it is difficult to talk about specific national face of Bulgarian video art, because in the current worldwide processes, it is difficult to talk about national specifics and characteristics. There are tendencies but they are international - the picture is very colourful: The artists have a different approach: from the purely irrational, irrational-documentary, or simply documentary, to the poetic and technocratic. Bulgarian artists do not make exception, they peer into the blue sky, run in the fields, sing opera in abandoned buildings, have conversations with silence, and etc.

In conclusion, we can say that there are many people who pretend that in the Balkan's value system rakiya (the Balkan alcohol drink) has a higher position than politics, watching this selection, we should agree that there are also many people, for whom art has a higher position than rakiya.

Neno Belchev

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participating artists:
Adelina Popnedeleva / Bulgaria / FRESH (4 episodes) / 2005-2009 / 25:40 / 3:4
Albena Baeva / Bulgaria / Substitution / 2013 / 15:00 / 25 x 25 x 30 cm
Jivko Darakchiev / Bulgaria/France / Fuite / 07:38 / 2013 / 16:9
Katelina Kancheva & Krum Yankov / Bulgaria / The Time of Clouds and Rain / 2012 / 06:59 / 16:9
Lipovansky/Nenova/Mechev / Bulgaria / Don't Kill Her / 2013 / 03:02 / 16:9
Samuil Stoyanov/ Bulgaria / 10 min National Museum of Natural History / 2013 / 10:20 / 16:9