Forget It, We Can Not Afford This
Having already presented three works at this year's Manifesta - one of Europe's most significant art biennials -, Kamen Stoyanov often deals with the relationship of art and economy and the dynamics of art world. Sensitive to social issues, his creative attitude is coupled with a refined sense of the problematic, with a strong claim for critical thinking and a markedly conceptual mindset. No wonder thus that despite his young age, the artist is already in the limelight of the international art world.
The Bulgarian artist living in Vienna comes out with three new pieces for his Budapest exhibition, reflecting specifically on the local art market. The works on show in Studio Gallery explore the positions and relationships of various - active or passive - actors of Budapest's art scene. The artist appears in the project as more of an initiator or facilitator than a creator.
The video work Which one should I buy? models the process that takes place between collectors and gallerists when a work of art is purchased. Throughout the experiment two gallerists, Gábor Kozák and Margit Valkó, compete against each other in making the collectors, Zsolt Somlói and Katalin Spengler, buy the piece offered by them. The participants, however, remain incognito to one another, and even the artworks up for sale remain unseen by the collectors. Communication is conducted through chat, using only written verbal communication in a dialogue about visual phenomena. The collectors' prying questions and the strategies used by the gallerists tell a lot about the principles governing the art market. Meanwhile, visuality is successfully - or unsuccessfully - translated into linguistic structures before our eyes. The exhibition presents a video documenting the two bargainings and the encounter/exposure, as well as a "photograph" representing the text of the chat talks.
The neon piece Forget it, we can not afford this was inspired by an accidentally overheard fragment of a conversation between a married collector couple from abroad. Besides being characteristic of the (Hungarian) art market and the global economic situation, the sentence receives a highly self-reflexive undertone by being hung on the wall of Studio Gallery of all places. Stoyanov offers this work for sale, to invest the returns in saving Labor, a small gallery run by the Studio of Young Artists. By this gesture he wishes to demonstrate that he considers it unacceptable that the Hungarian art scene can not afford to maintain this venue.
The Come and take project explores the attractiveness of contemporary art, reflecting ironically on the indifferent attitude of the - wider - public. The irony, however, is aimed not as much at the man of the street who is less adept at art, as at the actors of the art scene. Stoyanov handed out 500 flyers around one of the major shopping centres in Budapest. The first three visitors to show up at the vernissage with the flyer will get a free copy of the limited edition video work Come and take. But will the time proven advertising trick succeed in the context of art? Will it lure new visitors to the exhibition?
The artist, the curator and the Studio of Young Artists cordially invites all those interested to the opening of the exhibition.
Kamen Stoyanov is a guest artist in Budapest of the Opening the Closed Shops international studio residency program realised in the cooperation of Akademie Schloss Solitude, József Attila Circle and ACAX | Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange.
Opening the Closed Shops programme partners: