Studio hopping with ... Luchezar Boyadjiev
Every dedicated gallery owner and curator works daily in several realities. The audience knows mainly the reality of the exhibition space, when the work is completed, exhibited and contextualized. But there are many exciting stages before that, which are part of our work, reallity bites from the work between the galeriest and the artist, which you will probably be interested to know. One of them is a visit to the artist's studio. In the new section of Sariev's website we will take you with us to the studios of artists we work with and we will present you with them a project or work in development.
We are opening this section with represented by Sariev artsit Luchezar Boyadjiev and his toughts on the most recent work from the Cycle: Utopian Solutions for Dystopian Cities.
During this time of isolation, quarantine, coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic, and the State of Emergency in Bulgaria I am locked down in Sofia in my home-studio. I work and take care of my ailing 92 years old mother. I am missing terribly NATURE and JOY. I dream of a joy ride in nature, so to say.
I miss terribly being in and with nature (preferably in my ancestral village in the middle of the Balkan Mountains), and I miss having fun or some kind of joy and positive excitement with friends, preferably out in the open – in the mountains, or at sea on the beach (I think, once this is over, I will reinstate the practice of nudism on the beach from my younger years, and to hell with it all…).
It’s not over yet but at least the “roller coaster” that I have been through, is a bit milder after nearly 2 months. In these months I went from the pragmatic attitude of who-cares, we-will-get-over-it and taking care of things to the feeling of being totally desperate and suicidal. The worst is – at first, the fear; the anger for being powerless and stuck – second; and now the tiredness, the sense of doom which might go either way – it will be over at some point, one way or another.
I am quite comfortable with isolation. I need it actually – being alone in a studio for 3-6 months at a time for an artist’s residency – that for me has always been productive and soothing. But not the fear that comes with the virus, the unknown lurking somewhere out there.
The fear for loved ones and myself, for humanity and culture, for the world going into a self-destruct mode in terms of nature. And I have my 92 years old mother next to me… For me the problem is how not to infect her, rather than how to stay safe myself. In a way we are each other’s canary-in-a-coal-mine – if she gets ill, I will get ill and vice versa… I am socially distanced but it is impossible to be physically distanced in a household with an elderly person in need of full time attention.
So, I am developing the practice of “distanced physicality” whatever that means but – I invented it to help me get by, and I think I got it right as we are both healthy, so far. How this will play out in the future – we shall see…
But – I also think of another time of similarly strong and unidentifiable fear that I went through because of a virus, of a total lack of both knowledge of what is hitting us and of the cure for it.
That was in the 1980s and especially the middle of the decade when friends were dying left and right. We were living in New York when HIV / AIDS burst out – around 1982-83 or so. I remember the numbness in all of us at the time for not knowing what and how, and also – the constant blood tests (each time coming back to Bulgaria), and the same “distanced physicality” for which I had no name then but intuitively did it.
Then again in the mid-1980s we were back in NYC for a year or so – in 1986. People were dying, lots of them. Of the generation of the 1980s in New York City not that many artists made it past the early 1990s. I was living the same roller coaster, and my ex-wife too because of me and our art world involvement, modest as it was at the time. I was working hard physical labor during the day to earn some money – construction, studios and the like; while at night we went to the discotheques – dancing for hours at the Saint, the Palladium, the Limelight and what not, as if it was the end of the world.
And now again the fear is back, the roller coaster is in full swing, the future is unclear. It feels like a time warp - nearly 40 years later and 30 years after the big change in our world – the Berlin Wall and all of that.
They say these days that the BCG vaccine against TB helps/prevents us from the corona virus – and I would get optimistic because in my childhood in socialist Bulgaria we all got very thorough BCG vaccine, myself - both in Sofia and Moscow at a very early age in the late 1950s. But then I also know that though it might prevent me from the coronavirus, the BCG vaccine did not actually prevent me from getting the TB three times in my life already. And then there goes the roller coaster again...
So, I miss nature and I want to have more joy, or at least fun, in life…:)
This image is what I want for Sofia, and what I think Sofia needs now, and even more so in the future.
Sofia needs to grow into nature, to merge with nature and to regain something of its green identity – the parks and so on. In my work Sofia, my city, looks like it has “crawled” up all over the Vitosha Mountain. It has covered it like a carpet. In fact, the red dot indicating the center of the city map (a Google Earth map section, heavily manipulated for the purpose of this work – as I do in this cycle of cities) is high up on top of the mountain. In the real mountain there is a very popular plateau right up there, where people love to walk across.
At the very top of the mountain ridge I want to have a Ferris wheel, like they have in Vienna… I am not a big fan of riding on these beauties but I think this is a major joy ride for kids and adults alike! Also – at this location the winds are very strong – so, not only the wheel could be eco-powered by the wind force, but in fact it might also produce more clean energy at the same time!
It’s doable and that’s what matters to me.
Above all, my coronavirus ravaged Sofia needs to get a volume of water… There is no great, green, fun and joy loving city of significance in the world without water – the sea, a river, a lake or many lakes… So, I want to have a spectacular, breathtaking and clean lake next to the city, in the city, all around the city…
In fact, if I could I would relocate Sofia somewhere in the Pacific Ocean to become a tropical island; maybe with a silently fuming volcano in the middle of it… After all, the Vitosha Mountain used to be a volcano millennia ago, or so they say.
Either way, I not only want something spectacular for the city – the lake, but maybe I could also get my dreamed-of right now beach – clothes optional. I am so sick of masks, and disinfectants, and changing clothes for outdoors and for indoors that I think I will get rid of clothes, for a little while at least!
Sofia, April 30th, 2020
Luchezar Boyadjiev, "Sofia needs to enjoy (a lake, a Ferris Wheel, a climb up Vitosha Mountain)", 2020
Cycle: Utopian Solutions for Dystopian Cities
Photos in the article: Artist’s studio Luchezar Boyadjiev