Luchezar Boyadjiev, Pravdoliub Ivanov and Driton Selmani
curated by Vesselina Sarieva
“SIT” is an exhibition realized by the invitation of LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina, which develops the concept of the curator Vesselina Sarieva about “The Carpet” as a meeting place in every art institution. The exhibition presents works of Bulgarian artists Pravdoliub Ivanov and Luchezar Boyadjiev in dialogue with the Kosovan artist Driton Selmani, panel discussion with the participants (on-the-carpet-talk) and documentation. The concept of “The Carpet” as a meeting place in every art institution was born in 2021 and was developed by Vesselina Sarieva as part of her multidisciplinary project “Future Unforgettable”1. Later on by invitation of Catherine Nichols the concept was presented in the podcast “Pristina is Everywhere”, part of Manifesta 142. “The Carpet” is a suggestion for an alternative to the traditional idea of an art institution - gallery, museum, art academy, art fair, etc. It presents an experimental idea about the future of the art world, which is egalitarian, open and accessible for everyone. The gesture of taking off the shoes and sitting on the carpet right next to each other universalizes all participants, regardless if they are visitors, artists, curators, collectors, etc. Everyone is equal, sharing experience and opinion, developing their ideas in a whole new way. With this approach the institution forms communities and subcultures, which create, discuss and think together in a completely new, equal and neutral territory. The concept of “The Carpet” is inspired by a metaphor by the artist Luchezar Boyadjiev. Subsequently, Boyadjiev and Sarieva created a collaborative work, a mind map, called “The Mad Carpetmaker = Лудият килимар, 2021, which materialized their ideas. The mind map was exhibited in Sarieva / Gallery, Plovdiv in December 2021, while several other events were taking place in the space - an exhibition by a young artist, a musical installation (“sound mural”) and distribution of the “Manifesto of Happiness”3. All of them were united by a hand-woven rug style carpet placed in the center of the gallery, on which the visitors were invited to sit and share time together. Later this year, the concept of “The Carpet” became part of the launch of Sarieva / Hub - a place which brings together an existing gallery, community center - café and art foundation in one, to make art more accessible and horizontal for all. Sarieva shares that the idea for the carpet itself is related to the end of the pandemic and was inspired by the Balkan context. It is no coincidence that its first international presentation is taking place in Pristina, where it has the opportunity to gather other like-minded people to push for institutional change. “SIT” is a carpet-meeting-place-exhibition at LambdaLambdaLambda - Pristina, which aims to continue this rethinking of our ideas about art, its territories and artistic institutions. “The Carpet” is here again reincarnated as a critical weapon against the idea of the gallery as a white cube. In this sense, the presented artists Luchezar Boyadjiev, Pravdoliub Ivanov and Driton Selmani also rediscover and “reimagine” found objects, themes and stereotypes by revealing, changing and adapting their essence. Their creativity goes beyond the banal and seeks new, unexplored and unknown territories. In Pravdoliub Ivanov’s historical work “Ready-made”, 1996 the chair - as a symbol of a place to sit - grows planted from the soil of four clay pots. The work was created for an exhibition in the first years after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The curators wanted to present new media such as installation and “readymade” objects to the conservative, at that time, Bulgarian public, orientated towards classical painting and sculpture. Ivanov already works with similar and more experimental media but does not want them to be perceived as imported to Bulgaria, but as “naturally grown, native”. The artist presents an old wooden chair as a “readymade” and “plants” it in four pots with the ironic hope that it can sprout. Luchezar Boyadjiev shares a rather critical perspective on a similar plot in “Chairs and Symbols. A Project for Peaceful Co-identification”, 1995-2001. From the individual to the collective, he presents a community of people like chairs arranged for an event or lecture in the form of a single ideological symbol. Although at first glance it may seem like the opposite, the work calls for identification with and “sitting” in a foreign symbol. The symbols that divide people, from the male-female binary to religious and totalitarian symbols, can also serve as a reminder that we are different, but have been and will always be in this world together, for better or worse. In his work “Are We There Yet?” from the photographic series “Archaeology of Capitalism”, 2012, the young Kosovo-based artist Driton Selmani presents vinyl-covered ruins whose status between archaeological excavation and landfill is indeterminate. He paints stairs as a dreamy and poetic possibility of a way out. At the center of the exhibition is “The Carpet” - a curatorial gesture and a real meeting place, for sitting in a free order and for grounding, for holding the presentations and conversations that are be part of the exhibition. On the carpet is located “The Mad Carpetmaker – a Mind Map”, 2021 - a collaboration between Luchezar Boyadjiev and Vesselina Sarieva.
The exhibition “Sit” continues the mutual work of Isabella Ritter, Katharina Schendl (founders of LambdaLambdaLambda) and Vesselina Sarieva in their interest on rethinking the Balkan context and exchange, carried out so far in the conference “No trauma, no Balkans? No wars, no Balkans?”, 2018 organised by FLUCA and the Open Arts Foundation; as well as the online fair “Not Cancelled East x South” - a week-long digital art event featuring 17 galleries from the wider South-East European region initiated by Lambda LambdaLambda and Sariev Gallery; the exhibition collaboration in the program of “BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv”, 2019. The exhibition will be accompanied by a presentation of the website www.OpenArtFiles.bg and the program “Introduction to Contemporary Art” of the Open Arts Foundation. Organized by LambdaLambdaLambda, Kosovo and Open Arts Foundation, Bulgaria The project is realized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund, Bulgaria.
1 “Future Unforgettable” – curatorial project in six time and thematic phases (September - December 2021). Including exhibitions, documentary video series, screenings, meetings with artists, debates, exhibition tours, collaborations with collections, publications in Plovdiv, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna. https://futureunforgettable.com 2 The Carpet – Meeting Place in Your Art Institution? https://soundcloud.com/europeannomadicbiennial/prishtina-is-everywhere-manifesta-14-prishtina-ep-3-the-carpet-meeting-place-in-your-art institutionsi=7037ae41fd524c4b8e46a48d45195aa4&utmsource=clipboard&utmmedium=text&utmcampaign=socialsharing 3 Future Unforgettable - Phase VI - with works by Rudi Ninov, ULTRAFUTURO, Prof. Georgi Arnaoudov https://futureunforgettable.com/phase-6/?lang=en