Geometrical Figures, 2009; varyable dimentions; concrete, metal, basketball bolls
winner BAZA Award , 2009
INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART – SOFIA Presents
ON THE TOP – EXHIBITION OF SAMUIL STOYANOV AND ITS EFFECT ON GLOBAL WARMING
October 29th – December 4th 2010 / Opening: October 28th (Thursday), 6 pm
In 2009 Samuil Stoyanov (born 1975) became the second winner of the BAZA Award for Contemporary Art, an initiative of the Institute of Contemporary Art-Sofia realized jointly with The Foundation for a Civil Society (New York, USA). After his six weeks residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York City in the beginning of 2010, the artist is presenting his one-person show in the ICA-Sofia Gallery.
The title of the show mentions global warming – one of the most relevant political, social and cultural discourses of our time. The works in the show elaborate on its various aspects as part of the even greater problem of the relationship between human kind and the environment. In the view of the artist the environment includes also the “enduring” achievements of civilization such as art and architecture. For instance, his softly ironical style is in plain view when is planning an act of “mountain climbing” to the top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai while “visualizing” the ambitions of the structure (and its investors and architects) to surpass the wonders of nature; or when he is presenting the actual disaster with the oil platform this year and the following spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the form of floating chunks of margarine.
Such a synthetic glimpse over the signifiers of “today” is also present in the rendering of some encyclopedic items from the history of modern art such as the works of Vladimir Tatlin or Dan Flavin; as well as the sun, which has rather rationally been defined by Samuil Stoyanov as the “most powerful energy source” known to us”.
The works in the show, while each one having a meaning of its own, are combined in a joint and complex project. It is asking questions not as much about our attitudes towards the environmental issues as it is addressing our ability to critically orient ourselves in the world of trends, their propaganda and marketing strategies.
It would not be surprising if Samuil Stoyanov’s exhibition in the ICA Gallery will influence global warming indeed, if for nothing else than because of the well-known “butterfly effect”…Samuil Stoyanov lives and works in the city of Dobrich, Bulgaria. In 2001 he graduated the Ceramics Department of the National Art Academy in Sofia. He has had solo exhibitions in Sofia, Dobrich and Vienna, Austria. Some of his group exhibitions are: Urban Legends, Sofia City ArtGallery, Sofia; Important Message, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia; Visual Immortality, 2nd International Biennial for Contemporary Art , Shumen, Bulgaria all in 2006; In Search of Lost Time, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia in 2007; Zero Gravity. The architecture of social space, The Ancient Bath, Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria in 2008; From Ideology to Economy. Contemporary Bulgarian Art 20 years later, The State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, Moscow in 2009; Sites of Memory: Architecture and Remembering, Stephan Stoyanov Gallery, New York in 2010, etc. He was awarded with: Debutants in the Field of Contemporary Arts and Culture Project Fund, 2003; 1st Prize at TOGETHER since 1957 - Competition for an art project organized by Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2007; BAZA Award for Contemporary Art, 2009, etc.
ICA Gallery / 134, Vasil Levski Blvd., (entry from Ekzarh Iosif St.), Sofia / Tue–Sat, 3–7 pm For information: email@example.com
How does Samuil Stoyanov see?
The work "My Garage for Bugatti Veyron" (2009) suggests that the artist in fact possesses the dream car, yet it is not actually visible. The audience is offered to see only the specially designed garage which has very real dimensions and is roughly similar to the form of its presumable content, and which is purposely made of the cheapest materials at hand (could it be the priceless Bugatti is actually inside?). Thus, ironically, the work marks the boundary between fantasy and reality, testing our ability to control our desires and asking what should come next if we do realize them after all. Or perhaps this comment is relevant to the advertising strategies where attractive packaging compensates for product quality.
In three of his works, Samuil Stoyanov has introduced an intervention into medical charts normally used for testing the eye sight. Thus he is transforming the chart into an artistic text to test out the visual abilities of the audience. Through the text, the artist’s “vision” appeases the powers of intuition and thought (interpretation) in art. United and equaled, these powers begin to work to the advantage of understanding. “Understanding”, however, is the concept following closely behind the concept of “seeing”, waiting to step into action.
In 2006, Samuil Stoyanov was invited to participate in an exhibition on text and writing as a visual means of expression. He responded to the invitation by proposing an "anti-visual” 'work devoted to reading. "Eyesight check-up" is an exact copy of an ophthalmologic chart, only diminished to the size of a page from the catalog for the exhibition. It is implemented and exists only as part of the pocket-size book thus imparting to it the aura of an art work. The author does not determine the distance from which the viewer - reader should be looking at it, nor does he guarantee that good eyesight ensures adequate reading. The viewer is unable to verify their ability to read, unless they are given a text, because abstract symbols serve only the mechanical visual capabilities.
In his work “How do you see
The artist is replacing the graphic symbol from the chart, which is devoid of meaning and has a simple practical function, with something that looks like a pictogram, a sign, or even a stamp. The standard scheme from the chart determines certain positioning so the shape of the country is there not as an image but as form. This is a geographical quotation taken out of the context of the land so that it does not depend on either gravity or politics. Thus one can verify if the viewers’ perception will navigate the notion of the “State of Bulgaria” or it will stay as just a reminder of a piece from the world. Here thinking is modeled by the visual action.
In 2009, at the exhibition of the nominees for the BAZA award, Samuil Stoyanov once again uses the table in the form of an installation of two light boxes - "Eyesight Test Chart", which seem almost like the real medical tool. This time, the author has not revised their structure and size, or the shape of the characters. However, the contours of all the numbers and letters are blurred so that nobody can see them clearly, regardless of how acute their eyesight is. Of course, here again, there is no need to determine the distance from which to look at the work. But, with his typical sense of irony, Samuil Stoyanov assumes that the viewer will see a much clearer image from a distance, and more blurred as they approach, while, on account of the image, the idea will become more perceptible as one comes closer.
The act of seeing is also the point at which the interests of the artist and viewer intersect - a similar process, only with a different function and purpose. The artist sees while he thinks, but the viewer thinks while they look (at the work of art). The directions both of them look at come together where visual meditation becomes the object of the work. The contact with the audience lies in the idea of the installation A Mirror with a Counter, which mechanically records and saves the presence of anyone who has stayed before it for more than a second. In this device of vanity, the viewer is tricked by their own image, but as they approach, the mirror counts them as the next one in the multitude of public mass, thereby increasing the rating of the work. Whether the viewer is looking at themselves or the piece of art is looking at the viewer depends on the perspective.
In "Spectacles Sph/od: +3,75; Sph/os: +5" (2009) Samuil Stoyanov suddenly renounces his attempts to "test" the audience and reverts to his own natural vision, using it, absurdly and almost literally, to try to express how and what he sees. The beginning is set by his decision to undergo an eye examination without really having an urgent need for it. The main reason is artistic – the prescribed spectacles will be presented as an object, with everything, seen by the author in one year, passing through it. A substantial part of the work is that it (and everything seen through it) is on for sale as any other work. For some time (while the BAZA exhibition was on) the spectacles were exhibited, along with the medical prescription and a special certificate of authenticity and authorship, drawn by the author. Thus, not the things saved or treated in a particular material or artistic means, but those that are ephemeral and mechanically "seen" lie at the core of the idea. This is a continuation of the "optical" experiments and of the series of evidence and refutations of conformity in the meanings of the word "to see". The spectacles worn by the artist are not just the ordinary Readymade item, because they bear his own visual characteristics but also because from the very beginning they are on offer to be shared with the potential buyers as well as with anyone who can see them.
11. 09. 2011 22:21:59
|Copyright F-CCA | Web by SVEN creative 2007 | screen by rgb|