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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 identitied 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.        

 

W.S.        

1957, Sofia / BG

 

Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
Photo Marco Giugliarelli, 2017
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