View with Gallery space – courtesy to Open Arts Foundation
From 2016, and once with the arrival of summer, the Plovdiv residents witness the apparition of a shiny object on Otets Paisiy street. The metallic cube looks first like a container, but is in fact an alternative art space offering a cycle of six summer exhibitions. Named FLUCA, this experimental gallery invites curious art lovers to discover the local and international artists’ pieces. The consecutive exhibitions can be visited between the months of May and October. We make a halt at the closing of Aaron Roth’s exhibition, At Liberty with the Time Frame and at the opening of Velizar Dimchev’s exhibition, Belcanto.
Founded by Open Arts Foundation, the FLUCA project is the result of a collaboration with the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria. The space’s denomination and building is inspired by those of FLUC concert hall, true propeller of Vienna’s nightlife, made of several containers. The exhibitions’ variety and dynamism in the 2021 cycle is due to its curator Valko Chobanov, whose motto is ”Art is fun for me!”
He is the one who intentionally planned the exhibitions as independent universes, pleasantly contrasted, with the mindset of dodging thematic or aesthetic similarities. His wish to step out of a global theme’s line allowed him to promote artists with very different profiles. One could see textile installations against a backdrop of pop psychoanalysis at The Zoo of Early Delights show (Alina Papazova, Alexandra Georgieva, Rosie Eisor), followed by organic sculptures created in situ for Poetische Tiere show (Karine Fauchard, Lazar Lyutakov). ”In my view, a theme can be restrictive for creativity. And if you chose to put art in a theme it should be more of a connotation and not denotation”, explains Valko Chobanov, curator and artists, for artevezi.
The exhibition At Liberty with the Time Frame, held between the 16th of July and the 10th of August, did not let itself be seen easily. Artist Aaron Roth intentionally hid his artworks behind a beads curtain, an object that delimited the exhibition space, usually overlooked the outside. This scenic accessory represented the artist’s cryptic criticism to the select codes of art consumption. Aaron Roth rejected through his project the art market’s value model, based on prestige, which transforms the perception of an artwork in a private product, destined only to some social categories. The paintings behind the curtain, simple representations of material comfort, were in fact totems of the actual mannerism. This vision was also inspired by the pop music market codes, and the 90s show business’ ones. For the exhibition opening, Aaron Smith collaboration with the artist Sophia Grancharova around a pop folk concert performance, using music tracks that commented the show’s questions.
Using the space as a scene, Sophia Grancharova chose five songs linked to the Bulgarian political context as a member of EU. “I’m interested in the general attitude of musical performers, specifically those from the local socialist era; how they behaved on stage, how the drama in their songs mixed successfully with the permanent flirtation with those who had the political power at the time” (Sophia Grancharova, artist). The songs echoed, among other things, to Schengen, to borders and customs, or to a local showman who won the elections. The two artists’ fruitful dialog was born from their common interests, linked to the recent local history in Bulgaria, but also to the imagery sampled from media they both use in different ways. “A scene has a lot in common with a communication media space. On both we have a relationship based on the roles of a performer and an audience (…) Both a billboard (…) and a scene are public spaces made to be seen”(Sophia Grancharova, artist)
At Liberty with the Time Frame, a critique addressed to the the behaviour of art consumption, is followed by Belcanto, a show opened until the first of September. With Belcanto, Velizar Dimchev is the only artist originated from Plovdiv, invited by Valko Chobanov. His project is specifically linked to the city. “The name of the show (…) is usually an opera term but in Plovdiv, it is a notable company for recycling and processing metal waste. (…) His project (…) merges Opera and recycling of metal in a strange yet coherent way that is very intuitive to understand through his strong and colorful visual language.” (Valko Chobanov, artist and curator) On this pun’s occasion, August Metodiev, professional opera singer, also used the FLUCA scene at the show opening. Belcanto style opera resounded in Plovdiv that day.
Asked what his future projects are, Valko Chobanov announced us he will be exhibited at the occasion of Art Encounters, between the 1st and 3rd of October.