In the Circle Framework
Yana Kostova, curator Photo: © the artists
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Within-the-Circle comments on art event that happened at the end of 2005, as well as the loud discussions around it directly connected with the activity of Ultrafuturo group. The event was the Ruen Ruenov’s retrospective project “Bulgarian Actionism. Salute Vienna!” at Gallery Circle+ 2005, that was meant to give a historical overview of Bulgarian performance art. What our group did. At the opening reception on 25.11.2005 we made intervention called “In the circle framework” as a critical comment on the exposition, its title and its historical statement.
We doubt the definitions, the aesthetical and ideological connections that had been constructed by this exposition and the supporting texts. So we considered our duty to pronounce publicly through this action our opinion on the vitality and independence of Bulgarian actionism called by the curator Yana Kostova also wrongly “visual betweens”.
Ruen Ruenov, curator, and Lothar Jaschke (right), Minister-Counsellor with the Austrian Embassy in Sofia, 2005 Photo: © the artists
As contemporary artists, we engage with the way Bulgarian art is defined, analyzed and presented in locally and internationally. We articulate our position through radical gestures, interventions and performances. We believe our activity is important for adequate understanding of the processes in Bulgarian art nowadays.
"Another action by the group in the same year, 2005, was focused on the distorted presentation of the performative practices in Bulgaria in Ruen Ruenov’s retrospective project Bulgarian Actionism. Greet Vienna! in Circle + gallery. The event was intended as a historical overview of the Bulgarian performing arts. At the opening of the exhibition, the artists made an intervention entitled Within the Circle as a critical commentary on the text, the title and the historical representation of Bulgarian art in the exhibition. The group expressed doubts about the aesthetic and ideological connections constructed in the exhibition by enclosing the speakers in a circle with a rope soaked in blood. They communicated a position that their blood was not a sexual symbol, as it was for Hermann Nitsch, and that the Bulgarian art has nothing to do with the traditions of the Viennese Actionism, which the exhibition was trying to suggest. They believed that the Bulgarian art was not secondary in reference to the “Viennese” one." from Art as a reaction to cultural policies in Bulgaria from the end of the 1980s by Vera Mlechevska - curator, art historian
Photo: © the artists. Encaptured artists: Oleg Mavromatti, Anton Terziev, Miroslav Dimitrov, Katya Damyanova
In the framework of the circle, 2005.
Yet again, the artists addressed criticism to both the general and the specialised audience for ignoring the actionist art and stated: “Such behaviour closes art within ‘its own circle’ and turns it into an impotent moan of life-worn old people!” The actions of the Ultrafuturo group were perhaps the only ones that raised the question about the rationalisation of Bulgarian art beyond the paradigm of the secondary place to the Western discourse and held accountable the very artists rather than others. In addition, their actions commented on the socialisation of contemporary art and its being driven to the periphery of public life.
Photo: © the artist
Unfortunately the public discussion that followed this action was dominated by “white noise” rather than constructive debate. It appeared that there was wide spread opinion among the Bulgarian critics and art historians that the Bulgarian artist had and still has fragmented knowledge and also suffers from late, bad informed and uneducated understanding of the international processes in contemporary art. In critics opinion this results in anachronistic artifacts, imitation and lack of unique artistic platforms, manifestos, theories and movements. This statement that we consider wrong inspired us to try to seduce with our public interventions the non-professional but engaged public to validate it by itself.
Photo: © the artist
We think that the incapability of critics and curators to define and read properly performance and actionist gestures creates vacuum and lack of important elements in the image of Bulgarian contemporary art. One of the most important missing elements is an adequate critique and history of art that uses the body as a basic concept and medium.
Through this kind of actions we want to stress on the autonomy and the socio-political uniqueness of our work that together with other Bulgarian artistic behavior has to be re-situated and re-defined by us and the public.
Text by Ultrafuturo group(Boryana Rossa, Oleg Mavromatti, Katya Damyanova, Anton Terziev, Miroslav Dimitrov), 2005