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Radical Poetics

Let the talks within the anniversary exhibition allow us to the potentials of radical poetics.

To begin with, we will attempt a different kind of conversation – not the representative type of talking but the sincere, emotional, empathic attitude. Let these talks be also an attempt for a collective imagination – while sharing our stories, let us leave them open-ended for everyone to try to identify themselves inside.

Let us for a moment abandon critical attitude in respect of art, curating, text. Let us try to talk not by way of analysing and judging, but with a view to the opportunity to discover images and figures, to shape, to name. The openness should be intrinsic. At any one moment we should be able to imagine how all things connect, and in the images we build to create time and space – different from the present, maybe impossible for the time being, but plausible. This is how the institution itself will be transformed as well. It will become the home of what is yet to be.

The poetic potential of art lies in creating a world of the future. Not a different future somewhere else, however, this is a future that lives in us already, and we carry it inside ourselves.

This could also be the opening of a conversation in media res about the essence of art and its function in society. Only through poetics can art be political as well, and change our perception of what is political, establish the political.

The only possible methodology to hold such a conversation is to be radical, i.e. the poetics should be intrinsically formulated in respect of each work of art, each author, and everyone who asks. As we talk about art, the world, and us, let us not take anything for granted.

Here, in the Bulgarian context, there is an available field for us to explore the possibilities of poetics in a comprehensive way, and make this exploration productive in a global world. It is because here, again, certain issues occurring elsewhere too, are manifested probably in their clearest form. In this place we can only outline directions: in some of the works there are hovering demons born out of the paranoid perception of a long substituted reality; in others we discover communities existing fully outside the circle of the politically represented ones; we also find the post-communist consumerism based on going to the extremes; the melancholy associated with the sense of all that failed to happen, failed to take place, of standstill and deficiency; the intimacy, the shame – and their impossibility. The topic of self-determination and identity will invariably be present in the talks as a representation and experience, as a hallucinated image, a phantasm, a reality.

The radical, among other things, has always been related to the excess, which is a step beyond the existing, and liberation. Let us celebrate that too, within this anniversary event.

–Viktoria Draganova, 2018

*Introduction to the talks program of the exhibition "Shifting Layers. Young Art at the Museum" at the Sofia City Art Gallery in 2018, curated by Vladiya Mihaylova. More here