Luchezar Boyadjiev was born 1957. He lives and works in Sofia. He graduated from the National Art Academy in Sofia in 1980. One of the most famous contemporary artists from Bulgaria, his work is about personal interpretation of social processes, about the interaction between private and public, about urban visuality and the world of today split between utopia and dystopia. His media is installation, photography, drawing, objects, text, video, and performative lectures. Selected exhibitions are: the solo shows “Christo for Beginners”, Sarieva/Gallery, Plovdiv (2022); “Re-building the World of Images. 1991-2019”, MOMus, Thessaloniki (2020); “Dystopian Cozy”, Sariev Contemporary, Plovdiv (2018); “Luchezar Boyadjiev. Sic transit media mundi /the present is too short and rather tight/”, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia (retro) (2018); “Places of Wisdom”, ICA-Gallery, Sofia (in partnership with Open Arts-Plovdiv, 2016); “Not a Library Artist either”, SALT, Istanbul (2013); “Artist in the Storage” from “The Other Eye” series, City Art Gallery, Sofia (2010); and the group shows “The time has come to talk of many things”, National Gallery, Sofia (2022); “Sparks of Imagination: On he frequencies of Beuys”, National Gallery, Sofi (2022); “Self-splaining (a Triumph of Empathy)”, Manifesta 14, Pristina (2022); “This.Play”, Arter, Istanbul (2022); “UNDER DECONSTRUCTION”, Sarieva @ DOT, Sofia (2021); “In Defence of Solid Material”, Sarieva/Gallery (2021); “Brittle Power”, Kunsthal 44 Møen, Denmark (2021); “25 Years and 5 Themes Later”, National Gallery, Sofia (2020); “Open Art Files: Notes and footnotes”, Kapana Gallery, Plovdiv (2019); “Symptoms of Society”, Guangdong Museum of Art (Guangzhou) and Zhejiang Art Museum (Zhejiang Sheng), China (2017); “Cold Wind from the Balkans”, PERA Museum, Istanbul (2016); “Upside Down: Hosting the Critique”, MCA, Belgrade (2016); “Low-budget Utopias”, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana (2016); “Inside Out”, City Gallery, Ljubljana (2015); “The Grammar of Freedom”, GARAGE Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015); “Art for Change 1985-2015”, City Art Gallery, Sofia (2015); “Disconsent”, CCA “Ancient Bath”, Plovdiv (2014); “Economics in Art”, MOCAK, Cracow (2013); “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times”, 1st Biennial, Kiev (2012); “The Eye Never Sees itself”, 2nd Biennial, Yekaterinburg (2012); “The Global Contemporary”, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2011).
The artist is a Founding Member of ICA-Sofia.
Luchezar Boyadjiev is represented by Sarieva/Gallery since 2018.
Luchezar Boyadjiev belongs to that first generation of artists who laid the groundwork for Bulgaria’s contemporary art scene during the mid-1980s. Trained as an art historian and theorist, Boyadjiev set out to create art that questions traditional symbols of power and religion as well as the social conditions in his home country with respect to global developments and the virtual world. His analysis of the situation in the Balkans as an interim zone or Lacanian “Other” moved him to problematize the notion of transparency in the region in his catalogue text for the 3rd Istanbul Biennial in 1992, which was the first in which Bulgarian artists participated. Ever since, Boyadjiev’s work has taken up ironically critical stances toward history and social deployment.
His works from the 1990s revolve around religious symbols and beliefs, which the artist deconstructs in a variety of installations. “Fortification of Faith” from 1991, for instance, tells the story of Jesus and his twin brother—thereby forming links with Bulgarian traditions and iconography. In his drawing series “Philosophical Cemetery” from 1992, Boyadjiev attributes coffins to different intellectuals and creates mythical symbols for those who influenced democratic as well as totalitarian modes of thinking. Boyadjiev also frequently constructs utopias out of the various belief systems, an undertaking that—especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall—led individuals to questioning their identities in search for a possible future. The latter is manifested in the photographic project based on the installation “Chairs and Symbols. A Project for Peaceful Co-identification” (1995–2001), a series of eleven color photographs in which constellations of red and black chairs are deployed in conference rooms to form a cross, a sickle or a swastika, referring to media gatherings by denoting the agency of ideology as such. Some recent works deal with changing urban structures in a globalized world, visualizing images and text inscribed by the artist into culturally significant sites. Here, Boyadjiev addresses the notion of billboards and other advertising in public space as present-day icons, surrogates for formerly religious beliefs. The advent of the Internet has also provided a means by which the artist has critically altered spatial paradigms: these are stripped of their ideological or monumental significance, but still remain as sites that reflect past, present and personal forms of belonging.
- Walter Seidl
On Vacation…. Simon Bolivar from New York, 2004.
- Material: digital print on paper
- Width: 60.00 cm Height: 80.00 cm Depth: cm
- Description: 2004 – in progress
The work is based on a simple gesture of digitally removing (and thus symbolically sending on vacation) the human figures from the photographic images of an endless number of public monuments from cities all over the world. It implies a personal involvement with globalization… By erasing the, predominantly male, figure of a political leader, historical character, military commander, or a royal subject, etc. the proposed idea is to liberate public space from political tensions even for a short while and in the context of a work of visual art.
- References: http://sariev-gallery.com/data/content/u/5/upload/LB_On%20vacation(1).pdf
Untitled Mummy Project (Hold your breath!), 2012.
- Material: 12 inflatable vinyl objects like mummies; faces of famous people
- Sizes: Each one app. 200x70x60 cm
- Description: The work is an ironical stand on the media reality of post truth and fake news. It treats as “disposable celebrities” persons that are heroes from the past or present – “heroes” whom one may inflate and/or deflate at will (much like a sex doll but with political identity), may hide in the closet or display in public in various formations. The faces on the mummies are: Gagarin, Einstein, Columbus, Lawrence of Arabia, Molotov, Stalin, Mao, the Manhattan Project (the Nuclear Mushroom), Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, Steve Jobs and Dobby – the House Elf from the Harry Potter series whose face is used as a substitute for the face of Putin at street demonstrations in Russia, Ukraine, etc.
Endspiel; or the Good, the Bad and the Lonely, 2012.
- Material: wood, metal, laminated print
- Sizes: table: 82х180х70 cm; chess board 150х50.5х3.5 см
- Description: Taking a clue from the work and interests of the late Marcel Duchamp who wrote a book on the end phase of the game of chess, the work proposes a time-unlimited game option which also says – “there is no end to art; there will always be somebody who wants to play and enjoy, and see, and participate”.
Existential Cemetery, 1992.
- Material: Cycle of 3 drawings on paper; pencil, tempera and watercolor, collage.
- Sizes: Each one 200x140 cm
- Description: At the end of the tumultuous year of 1992 in the life of the author – full of professional success and personal drama, the artist created 3 drawings of coffins:
a/ a coffin for the Ego – shaped like the English letter “I” with head separated from the body;
b/ a coffin for Two People who die in their love; and
c/ a coffin for Jesus – as a symbolic gesture of liberating himself from the 3 main existential items for each human being – the self, the other and the transcendental.
How many nails in the mouth? Self-portrait with 2 kg 12.5 cm long nails in the mouth, 1992.
- Material: digital print on paper
- Width: 60.00 cm Height: 80.00 cm Depth: cm
- Description: 1992-1995
The “How many nails in a mouth?” work started as an inner turmoil expressing pencil-on-paper drawing made on the terrace in front of the Albertina Museum in Vienna in summer of 1992. Later on it evolved into “Homage to Günther Uecker”, part of cycle of homage(s) first shown at “Orient/ation”, the 4th Istanbul Biennial curated by René Block in 1995.