NEXT Balkan or the Next Step – Bulgarian Contemporary Art in Belgrade
April 29th – May 14th
History has made a subconscious divide between the East and West of the European continent. Although this divide has managed to preserve a political and operational role, its relevance has been fleeting, in both capitalist and socialist states. Nevertheless, the “Eastern Block” label continues to reinforce the stereotype of demonizing the East and glorifying the West. Consequently depriving an entire society of equal opportunity. We have witnessed the reshaping of this discourse through history- from colonization (nowadays dressed in the gown of globalization) and slavery to a new form of political and social regression, prompted by decolonization.
Our version of truth is that life is harder in Eastern Europe. As creatures of habit, communities across the Balkans often get overwhelmed with cultural transition, and often fall back into the patterns of traditional establishment. At this decade’s critical turning point, it is our duty to transform the public perception of the Balkans as stuck in cultural limbo. Embracing the importance of change through time and space is the only way of moving forward.
Stoicism- a school of Hellenistic philosophy and postulate for transformation in the natural world. The world is a series of changing and colliding events, where societies need to adapt in order to thrive. To be ‘stoical’, in popular context, means to endure transition and hardship. The only constant of the world is change, and art can only remain relevant if it moves with the changes.
The Easter-European artist has historically been compelled to accept moral praise as a stand-in for financial compensation. Our role is to question and disrupt this idea of a “starving artist”, pushed to the outskirts of society. Our duty is to use the sway of change as a means of redefining art in the Balkans.
Should we not dive into this narrative and discuss the Pric/ze to pay?
Event is organized by DOMA Art Foundation in a partnership with Kulturforum ODKR, and support by Cultural Institute to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Embassy in Belgrade.
Photo: Mina Piščević