CHRISTO FOR BEGINNERS
By Luchezar Boyadjiev
August – November 2022
Sarieva Open Arts Program
“Christo for Beginners” by Luchezar Boyadjiev is a project about what’s private and shared in both the physical space and the imagination. The artist engages with the public space and that involves the urban, the media, and the virtual environment. Luchezar Boyadjiev is activating them with artworks, visions, exhibition displays, actions and lectures while involving the collaboration of both his fellow citizens and colleagues. Luchezar Boyadjiev is a known expert on the projects, the practices and the methodologies developed and used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. However, this is the first time he is implementing such a project as an artist, rather than as an art critic, a theoretician, a lecturer or a historian of art. “Christo for Beginners” is the pilot project of the Sarieva / Gallery and the Open Arts Foundation within the Sarieva Open Arts program, which is also a part of the 'City and Culture' program. The foundation has a long history of working with projects related to the urban, such as "Public space and St Joseph Church"
Luchezar Boyadjiev’s interest in the works and projects, the practices and the methodologies used by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, the departed artists, dates back decades. Their acquaintance goes even further back in time. However, this is the first time Luchezar Boyadjiev is developing a project as an artist rather than an art critic, a theoretician, a lecturer or an art historian who is a known expert on this subject.
Luchezar Boyadjiev’s project is titled “Christo for Beginners”. With this title the author acknowledges that Jeanne-Claude, who passed in 2009, and Christo, who passed in 2020, are fully interchangeable as partners in art, just like they always were in the past. The passing of the author “Christo and Jeanne-Claude” makes us all beginners, those of us interested in their legacy. The new beginning presents us with new questions about the life of art after the death of the artist, about the activation of what we have learned from them in the ‘here and now’, about acquiring the resources and a kind of a “exploratory mandate” which is not only shared between the artist, the host of the project, the audience, the media, the sponsors, the city and so on, but will lead us to a new understanding for art in the public space.
The goal of this project is not the creation of idols, fetishes or false gods; it is rather the activation of the public domain. The conversations and debates, the looking into various options, locations and means to intervene in the public space, and above all the dynamic view towards the future through the “screen” of the art “heroes” from the past will be positioned within the domain of artistic heritage. That even before said heritage has had a chance to “freeze up” as a source material for monuments or other institutions of memory. The goal of the project is to build up a space for wisdom which would connect the life of the city now – Plovdiv, with the practices of contemporary art as a means to create a community.
The project’s program envisions displaying scale models and visualizations, as well as their activation in public space – urban, media, and virtual through the collaboration with citizens and colleagues. It also plans for parallels exhibitions, actions and lectures that will engage with the endless possibilities of art to create the conditions for the future to happen via the critical take on the past. The project by Luchezar Boyadjiev, Sarieva / Gallery and Open Arts Foundation is a project which will an environment where a shared process of fantasizing will happen.
With this project the two organizations and the artist are furthering their collaboration and shared interest in the public space, as well as in the realization of joint projects such those in the past, among which are the billboard for the festival “Otets Paisiy Street” 2013 – Behavior (curated by Stefka Tsaneva); the artistic tour/performance “Plovdiv Tiki-taka (The Sleep of Monsters produces Reason)” along the “Otets Paisiy” Street for the jubilee program of the “Dark Side of the Night” (curated by the “Art – Deeds and Documents” Foundation), within the Night/Plovdiv Festival in 2014; the project “Places of Wisdom” in 2016 and the walks/talks in Sofia (curated by the “Open Arts” Foundation). In 2017 Luchezar Boyadjiev took part if the jubilee exhibition titled “10 Years Open Arts Foundation: Here Everywhere” (curated by Vladiya Mihailova), part of the Night/Plovdiv Festival for which the artist created a special installation inspired the “Alternative Map of Plovdiv”, a project by Katrin Sarieva.
Luchezar Boyadjiev (Sofia, 1957) is among the most prominent artists, born and based in Bulgaria. An author with extensive international practice, he is a public figure with a clear critical stance on the Balkan and international art scene. As an artist, curator, and lecturer, he contributes to establishing new definitions of art and practice, to new discourses and to the emancipation of a younger generation of artists in his home country. His media ranges from drawings and painting, to photography, installations, video and his, by now famous guided tours/performances in various cities, and art exhibitions. Luchezar Boyadjiev is one of the first in his generation of artists that have put down the foundations of contemporary art in Bulgaria after the mid-80s. With background in art history and theory, Boyadjiev creates art that defies both traditional norms and the social conditions of his country; in his work the whole ambivalence of the socialist past is put in relation to global changes. Over the years, Luchezar Boyadjiev has participated in numerous biennials, group exhibitions, conferences and residencies spanning from Sao Paulo to Gwangju, and from Santa Fe to Singapore, as well as most everywhere in Europe. His works are part of museum, corporate and private collections worldwide.
Sarieva / Gallery was founded by Vesselina Sarieva in September 2021 as a third generation gallery space. Sarieva / Gallery represents leading artists from the Bulgarian contemporary art scene. At the same time, it is not only a space but a gallery situation, a program and a statement in art which extends beyond any physical borders while encouraging dialogues and the deeper knowledge of the artists’ works. The abundant, ambitious and innovative program reaches beyond the model of either the white cube or the black box. Sarieva / Gallery is part of the hybrid environment of Sarieva HUB together with the Open Arts Foundation and other related organizations.
The project is realized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund.