Luchezar Boyadjiev, Stefan Nikolaev, Nedko Solakov, Pravdoliub Ivanov – Manifesta 14

Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia partnered with Manifesta 14 Western Balkans Project: Co-Producing Common Space and Shaping Formations of Solidarity in the Western Balkans and beyond.

The Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia organized events both in Sofia and in Prishtina. Loosely described as “visual talks”, these will encompass theoretical, visual and critical “voices”, off and on-line contributions, panel discussions and exhibition displays by a multitude of contributors from the region and beyond.

Luchezar Boyadjiev, Stefan Nikolaev, Nedko Solakov and Pravdoliub Ivanov were the gallery represented artists who were featured in the exhibition called Self-Splaining (A triumph of empathy). The group show will take place at University of Prishtina, Faculty of Arts Gallery, from July 22 till October 30, 2022.

Stefan Nikolaev, Under Reconstruction, 2002, 2017

Yellow and blue plastic helmets, stenciled text

The helmets might be produced at different times and for two different contexts (Montenegro in 2002, and Bulgaria in 2017) but they imply the same constant process of see-saw transformation, typical for the Balkan region. This is the first time they are shown together.

Pravdoliub Ivanov, Protest Yourself, 2013-2022

Manipulated B&W photographs from the protests in Sofia in 2013; pens, hooks, rubber bands

Every day for more than three months the artist was protesting on the streets of Sofia against the corrupt government with a slogan in his hands. Now the visitors of the exhibition would be able to fill in the blank fields on the posters with their own message of discontent!

Luchezar Boyadjiev, Golden Age, Second Chance, 2015

Customized trampoline, metal, fabric; drawings printed on memory vests

The popular leisure device has been repurposed as a nostalgic outlet and a new beginning in human relationships.

Luchezar Boyadjiev, Rent-a-Gov, 1998/2022

Poster, various sizes, printed text

The work is a dystopian comment on the interaction between global and local politics, propositioning to failed states to hire (rent) governments of international experts, rather than holding elections, which reproduce their failures as states.

Nedko Solakov, Some of My Capabilities, 1995

Video, sound, 1’38’’. Digitally remastered: Kalin Serapionov, 2002

The simple, sometimes too simple…, capabilities of a young artist and man are demonstrated in this short video, which turns into a statement of self-belief and optimism.

Nedko Solakov, Silent (But as Rich as Only the Bulgarian Language Can Be) F Words, 2009

Video, sound, 2’07”. Camera and editing: Kalin Serapionov

The video is a reference to TV coverage of sports events, usually football, where one can lip-read the athletes’ cusswords. The “silent” F-words are directed at the rival team or the referee but in the video the “target” of abuse are the politicians hiding in some emblematic governmental building in the center of Sofia.