Public Space Revisited
Presentation and moderated conversation with Luchezar Boyadjiev and PhD. Silvia Petrova
Part of CHRISTO FOR BEGINNERS by Luchezar Boyadjiev
Sarieva Open Arts Program
29 November 2022, 18:30
Alma Alter, Sofia Univeristy St. Kliment Ohridski
“Christo for Beginners” by Luchezar Boyadjiev is a project about what’s private and shared in both the physical space and the imagination. The artist engages with the public space and that involves the urban, the media, and the virtual environment. Luchezar Boyadjiev is activating them with artworks, visions, exhibition displays, actions and lectures while involving the collaboration of both his fellow citizens and colleagues. Luchezar Boyadjiev is a known expert on the projects, the practices and the methodologies developed and used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. However, this is the first time he is implementing such a project as an artist, rather than as an art critic, a theoretician, a lecturer or a historian of art. “Christo for Beginners” is the pilot project of the Sarieva / Gallery and the Open Arts Foundation within the Sarieva Open Arts program.
The “Christo for Beginners” project began in August 2022 with the solo exhibition of the same name by Luchezar Boyadjiev at Sarieva Gallery, Plovdiv. Four side events and three months later, it’s time for a recap. Luchezar Boyadjiev, Silvia Petrova and Vesselina Sarieva invite the audience to a conversation that will examine the results and recapitulate the past exhibitions, tour and public project which enriched the art scene from August to November of 2022.
Following the exhibition “Jeanne-Claude for Beginners”, which explored the images and essence of “power girls” in the public space, Luchezar Boyadjiev continues the discussion on the visibility of women in art and through the public eye. Together with PhD. Sylvia Petrova, the artist raises the topic of strong, independent and bright female authors who declare and defend their positions, create and exist beyond limitations and norms. As Boyadjiev has already mentioned, this is a conversation which “is always simmering but never flaming”, despite its immense significance in and outside of the artistic circles. The audience is invited to join the discussion about the figure of the female artist in the public space, in all its manifestations, literal or figurative, and the definition of identity within them.
The audience is invited to join the discussion about the figure of the person and the artist, woman and/or man, in the public space, in all its manifestations, literal or figurative, and the definition of identity in them. The rights of the individual – acquired or won, imposed or enshrined by law, in the past and today, in the media and/or in the urban environment, around monuments or in their absence – are all topics to be discussed.
Luchezar Boyadjiev about the event:
It seems to me that artistic actions and interventions in public space are dependent on at least two qualities of the artist for their impact and constructive efficiency – courage and empathy. The first one is needed in order to challenge the status quo and kick start a process of re-negotiation as to the use of public space. The second is needed in order to make that challenge vibe somehow with the other “agents” in the “field” – the so called audience which as far as public space goes is always already there and involved is a participating agent, not just as onlookers. It does not matter which precisely part of the public space, or domain if you prefer, we are considering here – the urban space, or the media space, or the institutional environment of art spaces (and other reincarnations of the post-“white cube” mentality). But it matters a lot what the footprint, the profile, and “identity” of a specific context imposes on the artists – what are the expectations, the rules, the moods, the material aspects and so on all the way to the infamous patriarchal order.
In this conversation on November 29th, 2022 in Plovdiv I would like to concentrate on the issue of self-empowerment of female artists/agents in public space. (The male ones are empowered as it is, by definition, and in so many ways…)
– LB, Berlin, October 6th, 2022
Luchezar Boyadjiev (Sofia, 1957) is among the most prominent artists, born and based in Bulgaria. An author with extensive international practice, he is a public figure with a clear critical stance on the Balkan and international art scene. As an artist, curator, and lecturer, he contributes to establishing new definitions of art and practice, to new discourses and to the emancipation of a younger generation of artists in his home country. His media ranges from drawings and painting, to photography, installations, video and his, by now famous guided tours/performances in various cities, and art exhibitions. Luchezar Boyadjiev is one of the first in his generation of artists that have put down the foundations of contemporary art in Bulgaria after the mid-80s. With background in art history and theory, Boyadjiev creates art that defies both traditional norms and the social conditions of his country; in his work the whole ambivalence of the socialist past is put in relation to global changes.
Over the years, Luchezar Boyadjiev has participated in numerous biennials, group exhibitions, conferences and residencies spanning from Sao Paulo to Gwangju, and from Santa Fe to Singapore, as well as most everywhere in Europe. His works are part of museum, corporate and private collections worldwide.
Silvia Petrova (1979, Sofia) is a PhD in Public Communication and Information Sciences and a lecturer at the Department of Cultural Studies at Southwestern University “Neofit Rilski”. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Studies and a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the Department of Theory and History of Culture at Sofia University. She defended her dissertation in Mass Culture at the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication, Department of Printing and Publishing. Her interests are in the field of mass culture, feminism, lifestyle journalism, new media.
The project is realized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund.