Guys, this is not LA, but it is a cool place too
C-print, mounted on a light-box
124 × 83.5 cm (framed)
Inv. No. 0218
Kamen Stoyanov is a shrewd artist, who, armed with a pinch of humor, sounds out the border between the experience of the everyday and its sensitizing for the extraordinary. He works multi-medially, conceptually, and performatively. His work addresses the questions of migration, social-politics and urbanity. For this, the artist modifies tools and language from the world of media and commodities and uses them for a charmingly individual art critique. Many of the works are narratively constructed, (for example, Subway Yard Bratislava, 2007, from the evn collection), and take on happenings and biographies from his home, Bulgaria. The integration of his own person, also with a temporary change of identity, is another characteristic of his activities. A recurring element is the implementation of script and language, which can occur as text additions to the works, in the form of (commercial) messages, or as direct implementation in an autonomous object (like with neon lettering).
A central component of Kamen Stoyanovʼs art is the work in and on public space. The appropriation of places and non-places is quite often the basis for artistic action, which in the end can linger as a present object.
In the summer of 2013, accompanied by a concert of whistling and other noise from the long-lasting demonstrations in Sofia against the government, Stoyanov mounted an over-dimensional whistle on the roof of his car. On the circa 40 kilometer ride from Pernik to Sofia, the large whistle emitted loud tones caused by air drag. A video (Noise Trial, 2013) documents this crazy ride. The voice of the protest was carried from the urban space to the countryside. The pipe as object – present as a moveable symbol – becomes a transmitter for uprising and change.
The transition of the hard-line Eastern Bloc countries to a free-market system is illustrated by the photographs in the evn collection. On the trip from the Sofia airport to the city center, one passes a many storied residential building in a permanent state of change. The different facades and window framing indicate individual rapport with ownership. Kamen Stoyanov photographed the building in a phase where a memorable billboard is mounted on the roof. It advertizes in English in cheerfully colorful Latin script. In cyrillic-writing Bulgaria, the target audience is clearly defined: international business executives are wanted. Correspondingly, then, the allusion to the far West – Sofia is not Los Angeles, but just as cool! Stoyanov gets to the root of social phenomena. The clever marketing find could come from him. Art and life are really bound together by an indestructible and highly functioning relationship.
Heike Maier-Rieper, 2015 (translation: Virginia Dellenbaugh)Continue reading