A few years ago I built myself a house on the seaside.
I decided to leave the stairs without a railing, so that I could have an unobstructed view to a painting I hung on the second floor.
That was a mistake. I fell a few times.
My piece for the show Intimacy and Spectacle in the Age of Social Media is a sculpture made of metal (which slightly resembles a railing). After the show is over the “sculpture” will be taken to the seaside, where it will be permanently installed on my staircase.
The square inscribed in the center balances the composition, but the Vitruvian man has left, no longer willing to be ‘’the measure of all things”. The square is unbearably narrow, the size of a display device. The three horizontal lines underscore the movement from East to West along the axis of the decumanus, as originally the sculpture was intended to face that way.
The right triangle inscribed in the composition encodes the Pythagorean theorem, but also refers to Pythagoreanism, which itself represents the desire for absolute power in the hands of a few initiated.
The master of the initiated preaches from behind a curtain, the only light coming from the flames behind him, casting dramatic shadows. The triangle - a reference to the iron fist of power - is situated in the so-called “triangle of power” and its side intersects the East-West plane, forming a 45-degree angle in the distance. It marks the polar opposites of ‘’up” and “down”, but it also happens to coincide with the angle at which the sun rays hit the ground at 4.10 pm on June 10th, immortalizing the last minutes of the workday, the walk into the subway station, the jangling of coins and keys in your pocket, the sudden thought of ancient Romans, which makes you slow down for a bit before rejoining the bureaucratic rat race of the gentry. At exactly 4.10 pm, the sun rays hit the metallic reverberations of the railing.
What is the intention of the artist? He is probably a subconscious shaman channeling higher powers which want to remind him of his spiritual existence, parallel to his material existence that can lead to wealth and comfort. Can the artist ever be so materially satisfied as to stop creating art altogether? Or is the persistent need to produce, in fact, his calling? Because if the work is not produced, it cannot take part in the circulation of goods and services and therefore few galleries would legitimize it as a work of art. Thus, if an artist achieves material satisfaction, would he then acknowledge that he’d rather not take part in that game, the game of pretending to create art which the public then pretends to like (for the mere purpose of avoiding awkward moments)?
Such acknowledgement would grant immense power to the ordinary loser, who dreams of becoming a masked executioner of artists with monstrous muscles and an unwavering guillotine powered by his god-like self-righteousness. But in fact, this “executioner” is nothing but a blob, soft as an overripe fruit. His true image will make viewers sympathize with the artist, because even though he is a charlatan, the artist is more charming than an impostor-executioner spilling out his bile.
The object before us, rather than a harmonious shape, has, in its ambition to be functional and sturdy, become a rather inelegant fort: a sign for a reserved parking space, a barricade against protesters, a piece of misguided architecture, a bike stand; a confused thing, ostracized and shunned by all categories of beauty and contemporary design. It resembles an antique table that’s too big for the space, except if it were a table, it could at least be sold as a “unique” hand-made item on Craigslist. In fact, the ugliness and questionable functionality of this thing makes us turn it around and around in search for its purpose. Until finally, sweaty and tired, we decide to just leave it here - for now.
Ivan Moudov (1975, Sofia) graduated in 2002 from the National Academy of Art in Sofia. His artistic practice comprises photography, video, performance, and installations. In his work, which has a strong metaphoric charge, he questions the field of contemporary art within the systems of power as well as the sociopolitical and economic conditions; furthermore, by subverting the existing norms and rules he reveals the levers of their functioning.
He has presented his work at numerous solo and group exhibitions: Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Cabaret Voltaire (Zürich), Kunstverein Braunschweig (Braunschweig), Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt), the 52nd Venice Biennale, the 1st Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - MUMOK (Vienna).