Friday, March 25, 2011

Houben Tcherkelov in the Venice Biennale

Houben Tcherkelov represents Bulgaria 
in the Venice Biennale this year

An article in the Bulgarian edition of MAX magazine about the Bulgarian artist Houben Tcherkelov was published in September, 2010 issue. Along with the article,  photographs taken by me  in Houben's NYC studio  were also published in the magazine.  

Tcherkelov  is one of the selected Bulgarian artists at the Venice Biannual this year. His work will be exhibited at Palazzo Carminati. The opening will be on June 4th, 2011.
Currently, he lives and works in New York City. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Past in Present

Text and Photography by: Stanislava Georgieva
Poetry by: Miryana Todorova 

Time: 21st Century 
Place: Somewhere in Bulgaria
Present: Abandoned
Past: Developed
Future: Unknown
Made in: Past in Present

It has been almost three years since I went back to Bulgaria in the summer of 2008 to work on the project ‘Past in Present’. I was surrounded by the memories and  places from my past. The Images created are illustrating the remains of post-communist Bulgaria, the threshold between two political regimes where a ghost from the past still lives in the present.

Her childhood started in the year of 1981, when she was born. She was born and raised between two political regimes, which encounter the changes in Eastern Europe in 1989, only able to wear the blue tie in her first grade. 

Once upon a time, there were Cultural Center and Youth Center, a stadium and a playground, which were all full of people and life.  They were young, they played, sang, danced, and performed. They played sports and competed with each other; they were free, young and innocent. One day, everything was forgotten and abandoned by them. Only the concrete remains were left behind; the concrete that was poured by the beliefs of their parents and grandparents. 

Trees started growing and bricks started falling. The halls were empty. No play and no music, no dancing and no singing. It was complete silence. Memories were turned into black and white photographs hidden somewhere in the great grand parents’ drawers. They were growing in the present, hounted by the ghost of the past and living without future.

Concrete monuments were destroyed and history was erased from the ground, not even a dust, not even scent or a sound left behind. The concept of history changed, books were written in a new language and new theories were created. The second language changed from eastern to western. The cultural landscape has collapsed and was neglected. How confusing, how frustrating, how na├»ve and how ideological is everything.    Images of memories, history, life, beliefs, dreams, hopes, changes, freedom, past, present and future…

The Czech writer Milan Kundera explains the concept of nostalgia and living between the past and the present. In his novel ‘Ignorance’ he writes: "In that etymological light nostalgia seems something like the pain of ignorance, of not knowing. You are far away, and I don’t know what has become of you. My country is far away, and I don’t know what is happening there." For someone who has moved from one place to another their mental or physical state create an illusion that what has been in the past is the same in the present, but actually things are very different, as time brings an inevitable change.

The following images are revelation of identity and memories. Those images are documentation of one person’s childhood memories. However, they are not reflection of the contemporary life in the geographical area nowadays.

I look back, 
I go back, 
I look around,
I am ready to know...

A beam of light  for a second.
The dawn will come soon.
A little bit more and will be there.

I step back again
I still belong here.

Cracks, cracks, cracks. 
To separate reality from dreams of better life.
People learning to play in a future full of new challenges.

I walk through the space again;
I look back, 
I think back.
I lose myself listening to the old on the road back, 
back again, and back again.

That's no longer enough. 
The past was too difficult. 

The future is open, hopeful, 
It gives promises. 
No tread to fallow.

Search for the lost piece, 
but answers are buried. 

Memories reappear in the dust, 
Among the old papers 
bit by bit , but never a complete fragment. 

I'm scared of going back. 
I'm scared of hiding, 
but can't face troubles. 

I'm tired, I need to escape, 
to find a new way, 
one that speaks to me and one that I can trace.

walk through the space again;
I look back.
I loose myself,
Listening to the old on the road back, 
back again, and back again...

I make a sketch, 
I situate myself in the picture, 
but the background is fading. 
I add more color, but it keeps drawing.

Words echo,
screams fallow
then laughter,
then parents whisper a child lullaby.

I dive into the action.
The moment felt frozen like running through
A dark tunnel and never seeing the end.

Forgotten spaces wait to be recreated. 
Abandoned objects lay on the isolate yard, 
waiting for somebody to encounter.

make a sketch 
I situate myself in the picture, 
but the background ids fading. 
I add more color, but it keeps drawing.

walk through the space again;
I look back.
I loose myself,
Listening to the old on the road back, 
back again, and back again...

Division of space I can't see beyond the open field.
My feet are freezing
I stop...
I'm out of breath. 
I can't jump forward.
I can't forget...