Sic transit media mundi*
You don't really photograph the present, as the past is woven into it... Consequently, it makes seeing unforseen things more difficult.
It is no simple matter to write about Krassimir Terziev – not just because along with his active art practice he is also researcher of the processes in contemporary visual culture, not even because he can personally refer to the images he himself has created, or the very nature of his interests. Krassimir Terziev’s subject matter is contemporaneity itself. He is of course a contemporary artist, his topics and means of expression deal with the present, organically linked to the recently produced past, and seamlessly, naturally leading on to what is yet to be.
Whenever we speak of contemporary art we more often than not fail to mention the obscurity of the very term “contemporary”. It should be pretty obvious that it has to do with time, but that part of time which is “right now”, the part that is happening as we type these words. It is obvious that we live for longer than the “right now”, that we have a past and rely (at least briefly) on having a future – this attendance in the contemporaneity and the feeling it evokes does not comprise the understanding of it.
There are a number of ways to define “contemporaneity” – via information distribution, via technology, via the scope of political and social events. But how do we see it from within, from its own perspective, is perhaps something only an artist could reflect.
In art, and beyond, in visual culture there have been a number of revolutionary occasions with an impact. Contemporary visual orientation was formed after the invention of photography and film, but just as much after the Malevich Black Square (1915), or Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936), after mankind’s gaze at Earth from outer spare (1961) or after Marshall McLuhan said that “at the point where a new media-induced environment becomes all pervasive and transmogrifies our sensory balance, it also becomes invisible” (1969), after “TV – for each home” (circa 1970s) or the smartphone made the creation and sharing of “pics” an act of minimal effort.
This rapid, random listing relates directly to Krassimir Terziev’s artistic methodology, the artist and researcher whose works are subject to the current catalogue. Over the past almost 20 years he has been systematically building his relationship with the visual contemporaneity and the media through which it manifests itself. Not surprisingly his interest in the visual environment is grounded in his classical education (Terziev has a master’s degree in painting from the National Art Academy in Sofia since 1997), which on the one hand accounts for the ultimate “artist’s eye”, but on the other – derives from the principles of aesthetics. His first steps are during the chaotic 1990-s which break all principles, overcome isolation and challenge any status quo. The 1990-s were the times for the medium of video which became accessible to Bulgarian artists, in their infatuation with the opportunity to document or pseudo-document the dynamics of post-socialist changes. One of the country’s earliest video and media artists, Krassimir Terziev duly reflects the peculiarity of real-life situations with “instantaneously” disappearing contexts. The registration of the poor poetics of the fleeting world though quite soon proves insufficient. Pinning down “life as it is” (after Dziga Vertov) in the time of digital technology seems relatively simple to him. His video-eye is analytical and constructive both with regards to the subject of scrutiny and the opportunity for viewing. The artist’s research interests were reaffirmed in his doctoral thesis in Cultural Anthropology (2012), also published as Recomposition. Author, Media and Artwork in the Age of Digital Reproduction2.
* From Latin: Thus passes the medium of the world. The title of the essay is suggested by Luchezar Boyadjiev in a conversation with it's author.
2. Krassimir Terziev. Recomposition. Author, Media and Artwork in the Age of Digital Reproduction. Sofia: East-West / ICA-Sofia, 2012 <<