• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Luchezar Boyadjiev

Luchezar Boyadjiev belongs to that first generation of artists who laid the groundwork for Bulgaria’s contemporary art scene during the mid-1980s. Trained as an art historian and theorist, Boyadjiev set out to create art that questions traditional symbols of power and religion as well as the social conditions in his home country with respect to global developments and the virtual world. His analysis of the situation in the Balkans as an interim zone or Lacanian “Other” moved him to problematize the notion of transparency in the region in his catalogue text for the 3rd Istanbul Biennial in 1992, which was the first in which Bulgarian artists participated. Ever since, Boyadjiev’s work has taken up ironically critical stances toward history and social deployment.

His works from the 1990s revolve around religious symbols and beliefs, which the artist deconstructs in a variety of installations. “Fortification of Faith” from 1991, for instance, tells the story of Jesus and his twin brother—thereby forming links with Bulgarian traditions and iconography. In his drawing series “Philosophical Cemetery” from 1992, Boyadjiev attributes coffins to different intellectuals and creates mythical symbols for those who influenced democratic as well as totalitarian modes of thinking. Boyadjiev also frequently constructs utopias out of the various belief systems, an undertaking that—especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall—led individuals to questioning their identities in search for a possible future. The latter is manifested in the photographic project based on the installation “Chairs and Symbols. A Project for Peaceful Co-identification” (1995–2001), a series of eleven color photographs in which constellations of red and black chairs are deployed in conference rooms to forms a cross, a sickle or a swastika, referring to media gatherings by denoting the agency of ideology as such. 

Some recent works deal with changing urban structures in a globalized world, visualizing images and text inscribed by the artist into culturally significant sites. Here, Boyadjiev addresses the notion of billboards and other advertising in public space as present-day icons, surrogates for formerly religious beliefs. The advent of the Internet has also provided a means by which the artist has critically altered spatial paradigms: these are stripped of their ideological or monumental significance, but still remain as sites that reflect past, present and personal forms of belonging. 


Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, 1957.

Boyadjiev studied Art History and Theory at the National Art Academy in Sofia (Bulgaria) from 1975 to 1980. During the 1990s he worked for different cultural institutions. Boyadjiev has received several grants, including two from KulturKontakt (Vienna, Austria) in 1992 and 1996/1997; one from The Getty Grant Program (California, USA) in 1993; and the Artslink grant from the OSI (New York City, USA). Since 2003 he is a Resident Fellow at the Visual Seminar of the Center for Advanced Studies and Institute of Contemporary Art in Sofia. In 2004 he was elected Artist in Residence at the International Scientific and Cultural Reception Centre in Paris (France). Boyadjiev is a founding member of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Sofia.

Lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Solo Exhibitions (selection):

2011 "Luchezar Boyadjiev: On Vacation - Lomalla", (within "United States of Europe"), Kanneltalon Galleria, Helsinki, Finland

2010 “The Other Eye - Luchezar Boyadjiev: Artist in the Storage”, Sofia Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria

2007 “5 Views to Mecca”, Feinkost Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2001 Knoll Gallery, Vienna, Austria

1994 “The Fountain of Europe: Luchezar Boyadjiev“,  Bard College, Annandale on Hudson, N.Y., USA

Group Exhibitions (selection):

2016 “Social Contract“, Foundation Izolyatsia Platform for Cultural Initiatives, Kiev, Ukraine


2015 “Inside Out - Not So White Cube“,  Mestna Galerija / City Art Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia


2014 “Know Thyself“  ATA Center / ICA -The Institute of Contemporary Art, Sofia, Bulgaria

2013 "Veni, Vidi, Vici. Kumamoto!”, CAMK, Contemporary ARt Museum, Kumamoto, Japan

2012 “The Global Contemporary. Kunstwelten nach 1989“, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany

2011 “MULTIPLIZIEREN IST MENSCHLICH“, Edition Block, Berlin, Germany

2010 “GAGARIN the Artists in their Own Words - The first Decade”, S.M.A.K. Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium

2009 “ART, PRICE AND VALUE, Contemporary art and the market”, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy

2008 “Zero Gravity Art Today Association”, Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

2007 “Attitude 2007 - The House of Human Beings”, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan

2006 “Neither a White Cube nor a Black Box. History in Present Tense”, Sofia Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria

2005 “Play Sofia”, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria

2004 “Trans:it. Moving Culture Through Europe”, Adriano Olivetti Foundation, Rome, Italy

2003 “In the Gorges of the Balkans”, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

2002 “In search of Balkania”, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria



This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Drugoto oko = The other eye: Luchezar Boyadjiev. hudoznik v depoto = Artist in the storage. 2010. Sofia: SCAG [Exhib. Cat., Sofia City Art Gallery (Mar. 30-May 16, 2010)]


Mirazchiev, Emil, ed. 2009. Atlantida = Atlantis: refleksi ot badeseto = Reflections of tomorrow. Plovdiv: Art Today Association [Exhib. Cat., Center for Contemporary Art Plovdid (Oct. 10-Nov. 10, 2009)]


Saxenhuber, Hedwig, Schöllhammer, Georg, eds. 2005. Play Sofia: ein Ausschnitt der aktuellen Kunstszene der bulgarischen Hauptstadt. Vienna: Springerin [Exhib. Cat., Project Space Karlsplatz Kunsthalle Wien (Nov. 9- Dec. 8, 2005)]


Boubnova, Iara, ed. 2004. Sofija kato gledka = Sofia as a sight. Frankfurt: Revolver.


Šikoronja, Renata, ed. 2000. Leseraum: 7.12.2000 - 21.1.2001. Texts by Luchezar Boyadjiev, Róza El-Hassan, Milica Tomić, Beáta Veszely. Vienna: Secession, 2000 [Exhib. Cat., Secession (Dec. 7, 2000-Jan. 21, 2001)]


Barsch, Barbara, ed. 1992. Lytschesar Bojadshiev. Stuttgart: ifa [Exhib. Cat., ifa-Galerie Berlin (Oct. 16-Dec. 6, 1992)]

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