Specially created and found “images-postcards” were used as a starting point for working on the exhibition itself. These interpretations, commentaries, provocations, quotations after the inner monologues of the institutions, the media, the artists and the society – a kind of imagination triggering devises that the artists exchanged between them, turned out to enjoy vastly different interpretations within the preparatory process for the actual art works. The exchange “game” helped participating artists and project leaders alike to investigate what is hidden within the process of creating art for public presentation now? The exhibition does not have a unifying theme; each author developed her/his own statement – sentimental, emotional, investigative, experimental, and occasionally rough, while being a unique reflection of the living fabric of everyday reality of our existence. Various artistic means are used too; what binds together the “Close Encounters” show is not as much the art works as it is their authors who have spent a lot of time reading and debating theoretical and critical texts in a lot of meetings, visits, discussions, evaluations and commentaries in between the group as well as with the specially invited Bulgarian and international “mentors”. No matter how many themes were opened, answers offered, voids identified, confusions marked and roads as well as options demarcated, still the field turned out to be endless. What is it that the notion of “young artist” constitutes? What happens if she/he does not concentrate exclusively on the market results, nor does she/he turn to the simplified formal effects or the repetitive use of “relations” and “traditions” established by others? What is actually meant by the clichéd wording “to find one’s own way in art”? The “Close Encounters” exhibition offers a snapshot reflection by the members of a certain generation.
The program for continuous education for young and active artists titled “Close Encounters – Visual Dialogues / School4artists” – at the moment of its inception, announcement, application calls and selection process of participants, was defined as an attempt to create a platform for a wide and systematic understanding of the field of contemporary art in its links to the much wider field of contemporary culture. That was meant to facilitate successful artistic strategies and practices of the young artists.
ICA-Sofia and the project “Close Encounters – Visual Dialogues / School4artists” express their gratitude to our mentors: Anna Jermolaewa (Russia/Austria), Boryana Rossa (Bulgaria/USA), Vadim Fishkin (Russia/Slovenia), Ivan Moudov, Kalin Serapionov, Kiril Prashkov, Krassimir Terziev, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Miran Mohar (Slovenia), Miryana Todorova (Bulgaria/USA), Nedko Solakov, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Julieta Aranda (Mexico/Germany) as well as Mami Kataoka (Japan).
The “Close Encounters – Visual Dialogues / School4artists” is realized with the financial support of the Programme “Culture” of Sofia Municipality for 2017