Luchezar Boyadjiev (b. 1957, Sofia) is an artist whose work is a critical visual study of the present, he studies and shifts the relations of personal and public space, capitalism and democracy, consumerism and more sustainable living. In his artworks he reflects on the radical change of way of life and economic system that began with the dissolution of socialist societies. Boyadjiev works in drawings and painting, photography, installations, video and his, by now famous (Schadenfreude) guided tours/performances in various cities.
Boyadjiev sends us a letter for the project, with his memories and a message during this time: Back in the early 1980s I was living in New York City when another virus struck – so vicious and lethal that we still, even now, do not have a proper way to vaccinate or cure, or get rid of it altogether. The AIDS epidemic was killing friends left and right in NYC by the mid-1980s. By 1986 in NYC I was working construction work in studios during the day and we were going to the discotheques at night, dancing mindlessly as if it was the end of the world. We had figured that “distanced physicality” (my term for it now, but born back then as a practice…) was probably the best chance we had to make it over to the other side…
I hope one thing that will change in the near future after the coronavirus is (hopefully) contained, is to get over the nostalgia for the “unlived” decade of the 1980s… We need to get over it and learn the lesson. We need to stop just dancing to those hit songs from the 1980s and start doing something to change the world. We are still dancing, even the millennials, to those tunes that bring to me, subconsciously, the chills of desperation and living on the edge of something frightful and unknown. There is something unresolved about that decade and its music. We have to put it to rest.
For instance, Cyndi Lauper was singing “Money Changes Everything” around 1983-84. That was the time when neo-liberalism was born and money did indeed change everything in the world in the following decades (of course not for all of us in the 99% but who’s counting). Until now, in fact… For what if not money caused all the change in the world in the last 40 years? What if not the global expansion of capital and the abuse of the environment have brought on humanity (and the animal kingdom, the natural world) this crisis now, and that one from back in 2008, and that REALLY BIG one that will hit us for sure one day – the one, which we know is coming with much more than a 100% certainty and which will take the form of a planetary doom; that big one, which we refuse to acknowledge, let alone deal with...
People now like to say – “Virus Changes Everything”… It’s like a mantra. I truly hope so. But we must act, for change does not happen on its own, right?
So, dear friends from Croatia – stay safe, wash hands, wear masks, and drink… – whatever it was that you liked drinking with friends in the pre-isolation world!
Today, especially for you, I put together this visual collage of two very recent photographs of mine. I wanted to demonstrate for you how “distanced physicality” is practiced by its inventor. :)
So, stay calm and please, practice “distanced physicality” – it works, after all I am still alive!
I’ll see you on the other side!
There is so much to do and make sure that everything is changed!
Artists Respond project was started by the Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde and the Marinko Sudac Collection. Addressing the current global pandemic, the project aims to virtually present the thoughts and attitudes of neo-avant-garde artists, their energy and the message they have for the present moment. This is the moment in which the world as we know it is on hold and the moment in which we need optimism and solidarity more than ever. We wish for the public to welcome the creative energy of these artists - artists who are ready to point out the state of things, to respond with art and creativity, as they have done in all difficult times in the past.