16.11.2007 – 12.01.2008
curator Iara Boubnova
In his works Ivan Moudov is focusing on the borderline spots in time and space where reality becomes art and vice versa. He is a collector and sometimes a creator of situations where the familiar and the monotonous seem to stumble while acquiring new characteristics. The everyday life is for the artist an environment that awaits his intervention. The intervention though is targeting some details, which are focusing our attention in much the same way as we, as viewers, are used to look at classical art. Most of the time his seemingly harmless interventions into the "body" of conventional art reception and habit are transforming into serious critique on institutions, conventional thinking and cliché.
In the cycle of performances titled Traffic Control realized in Graz (Austria, 2001), Cetinje (Montenegro, 2002) and Thessalonica (Greece, 2003), the artist is dressed up as a Bulgarian traffic policeman. Disregarding the indications of any other signage, Ivan Moudov is regulating the local car traffic and investigating the reactions of the very real participants in the traffic - from the intervention of the proper authorities, to their ignorance, and the developing mass happening where they are willing to take part. On another occasion, while strictly abiding by his driver's right of priority on the road, he is analyzing the fast developing human relations around his action and their dependence on the cultural context. («One Hour Priority», Sofia, 2000 and «14:13 Minutes Priority», Weimar, 2005). In "The Winds of Change", his project for "Dialectics of Hope", the 1st Moscow Biennial in 2005 Ivan Moudov installed surveillance cameras in the exhibition space. These were powered by a wind turbine mounted on the roof of the building. This combination of elements was a strong reaction to the contradictory political and cultural context of today's Russia.
Between 2003 and 2007 one of the main works in-progress of the artist is "Fragments". This is a collection of small fragments from art works that the artist likes a lot. The fragments had been stolen from museums and galleries. Lovingly arranged in boxes, similar to the Boite-en-valise of Duchamp, these fragments have become part of a personal collection. Taken out of their original context they are formulating a new one while asking a number of questions about the substance of the original, about authorship and its legal aspects, about the context of art and so on.
Ivan Moudov titled his first one-artist show in a private gallery in Vienna "Already Made". This is a name that echoes like "all ready-made" while offering many different interpretative possibilities about the role and the function of the object in the global world of consumption. On the nearly identical doses of non-alcoholic drinks, two authentic found objects from the sea coast in Turkey (Already Made 1), one can still read the barely distinguishable logos of two corporations whose marketing strategies and long-term rivalry for markets are already the stuff of textbooks on business. The normal tap water from the artist's studio is bottled in containers with specially designed labels, which certify that very fact, while the aura of art there is somehow taken for granted (Already Made 2). The infamous faïence water fountains, sanctified by the history of modernism, are not only transformed from radical objects into objects fighting to regain their original function but are also trying to change the function of the art gallery by urging the visitor to used them with their utilitarian function in mind... Ivan Moudov also honors and continues the work of Timm Ulrich, one of the main figures in German Total Art, by showing documentary evidence about his own attempt to "snatch" the other artist's documentation showing how in 1971 he tried to "steal" the drawing of a colleague from a museum display (Already Made 4). These works, specially produced for this exhibition, are complemented by a cycle of "self-portraits" made using non-conventional media - coffee sediment and the interpretation of a professional fortune reader. Even the recently famous blockbuster movie The Matrix Reloaded from 2003 is used as an object through the re-montage of the film according the way some viewers can recollect selected scenes that they remember best (Matrix, 2004).
The materialization of ideas through objects in the interpretation of Ivan Moudov may have many different messages as it happens with his Wine for Openings #2, produced especially for Galerie Hilger. It is meant to bring closer together lovers of art who have come to greet one of its proponents.