14 Oct – 20 Nov 2011


Ivan Moudov

Oversaturated it is, the Dutch art scene, elitist, with enormous financial expenses, only interesting for very few people, self-righteous and coined by sparse entrepreneurial spirit.
W139 together with Ivan Moudov (1975, Sofia, Bulgaria) simulate the case of emergency as a possible answer.

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In Bulgaria there is no museum of contemporary art, almost no financial support for contemporary art and very few art spaces in general. This is a recurring motive in Ivan Moudov’s work, which often plays role-reversals under the rules of certain systems. In 2005, using billboards, he invited the public to the opening of the first contemporary art museum „MUSIZ“ in Sofia. A huge number of people came and, finally, stood in an empty, just renovated train station building (MUSIZ, 2005). For his work „Fragments“ (box #1-4), created between 2003 and 2007, he stole, while traveling all over the place, small parts of art installations, although only the ones that didn’t jeopardize the allover appearance of the installation. He placed them in a suitcase covered in red leather, reminding of Marcel Duchamps’ boxes „boîte-en-valise”. He presented the suitcase at the 52nd Biennale in Venice in the Bulgarian Pavilion. Although this time legally, but not less provoking, he proved business talent by selling an alleged Bulgarian sleight of hand („The Romanian Trick“, 2008). He spent the arising profit directly for art works or exchanged the entire installation resulting from the trick for art works of other artists in order to create a collection.

On the occasion of a series of art projects in public space, which I organized together with Britta Peters in Hamburg in 2009, he opened in an empty gambling hall a Bulgarian Institute of Culture (BIC) where he showed parts of the „collection“ of the non-existing MUSIZ. In reality, the presented works were borrowed from the cellar of a collection in Hamburg. They were hanged only as a backdrop visible from the window while the visitors stood in front of closed doors with a note on them saying: „Coming back in 5 minutes”.

Ivan Moudov subverts reality by appropriating the constituent conditions and matter. He does it with such rigorous conceptual consequence that his works start to have a life of their own which can assert themselves far beyond the addressed reality. If I remember comparable projects in the W139, it is no coincidence and might be representative for Ivan’s work that I can relate it to the exhibition of Jonathan Monk with his art-referential and conceptual approach, as well as to the one of the Experimental Jetset with the politically effective charlatanry of the Provo-Movement.

For the front space of W139 Ivan creates a narration in five chapters including already existing as well as new works under the non-title „%“. They present themselves in a reduced manner, need closer observation, are only experienceable through our own participation and, finally, long for a lot of wind. Regarding the background of the Bulgarian situation and in relation to the Dutch cuts and their argumentation the exhibition seems like an enormous black market of its own amusing rules. In this sense: It can always be cheaper!

Tim Voss, Director W139

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