Ljudmila Dimova, Luchezar Boyadjiev

I think with my eyes. An interview with Luchezar Boyadjiev

I think with my eyes. An interview with Luchezar Boyadjiev
title: I think with my eyes. An interview with Luchezar Boyadjiev
year: 2004
place: Sofia
publisher: Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia
language: english
author(s): Ljudmila DimovaLuchezar Boyadjiev
source: Visual Seminar. Resident Fellows Program 1: Sofia as a Sight, 2004, Sofia: Institute of Contemporary Art - Sofia

An interview by Ljudmila Dimova

(First published in LIK-BTA Magazine, 1/2004, Sofia)

Every epoch not only dreams of the next one but while dreaming it is striving to wake up. The epoch is ripe with its ending and is revealing it with clairvoyance, as Hegel already knew it.
     Walter Benjamin, Paris, the Capital of the 19th century

Ljudmila Dimova: Hot City Visual is the title of the interpretation of the Sofia urban environment that is Luchezar Boyadjiev’s contribution to the Visual Seminar organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia, the Center for Advanced Study Sofia and relations, a project initiated by the Federal Foundation for Culture, Germany. I am talking with the artist about our visual irregularities and the art of the Balkans. We start this talk chaotically, from some point in the future when Luchezar Boyadjiev will be in Karlsruhe, Germany to take part in a project by Boris Groys titled The Post-Communist Condition that is dealing with the current situation of art and culture in Eastern Europe. When this interview is published the future will have become the past already. However, we are still in Sofia, it’s the fall and the artist has just installed his Hot City Visual in the sterile space of the ATA Center. On the walls there are photomontages of Sofia streets and buildings, texts, diagrams, collages. Stefan and his sons-in-law are captured smiling in a photograph next to the video projection with the sounds of the popular 1970ies song One Bulgarian Rose. I am chuckling at the image of a group of apartment blocks duly arranged as the words from the lyrics of the legendary All You Need is Love, that’s the artist’ plan for a new housing project Beatles 1A. Maybe the artist is trying to reclaim the city as he ones knew it, loved and then lost in the chaos and the aggression of the transformation. There is a feeling of intimacy and sentiment. It’s everyday activity in the gallery; the artist is photographing his works while our reporter Bistra is photographing him.

Luchezar Boyadjiev: I am writing a text titled The Revenge of Hedonism for the project of the Russian curator Boris Groys from the ZKM center in Karlsruhe, Germany. It’s investigating the discovery of the small pleasures of life after the fall of totalitarianism, the groping of the edges of freedom, very often as a quotation of Western models that had been taken at face value, out of context and in their most vulgar samples. My attitude is analytical rather then critical. It’s better when people and society are left on their own to grope the dimensions of tolerance rather then when somebody high up is imposing restrictions on them. The hedonistic revenge is not measured by the new freedom of the body alone but also be the level of the chaos in the society that is undergoing a never-ending process of transformation.

L.D.: And by the level of aggression too?

L.B.: The aggression is part of it all. It follows from the whole situation of change. But it depends on how you look at life as well as the visual environment. The aggression I see in the visual environment of the city of Sofia is a lot less threatening than the aggression of the organized crime and of that, which is not quite rightly called “initial accumulation of capital”. A huge amount of niches have been constructed during the period of transformation and all sorts of irregularities are happening there, not just visual ones.

L.D.: There was the Hot line for visual irregularities within your project. How did this go on?

L.B.: The hot line consisted of the availability of an e-mail address and a telephone number for complaints. The goal was not so much to define irregularities because anyone can see those as long as some guidelines are provided. The function of the hot line was to attract the attention to the very act of looking as a kind of attitude to the city and to seeing the actual things that are a matter of concrete concern for your life, taste, and status in terms of how you are being represented in this city. The bet support for the hot line came from the media. I was sending them the notorious postcard with the image of the laundry hanging on the facade of the former building of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party (now the offices of the Parliament members) together with a question Do You see Sofia? Roumiana Tchervenkova from the Dnevnik Daily told me about the reaction it triggered in their editorial offices and it’s most glorious. The moment when all of that poured in her In-box there was uproar in the office: Who got that laundry? Let’s send our photographers there, etc. Eventually they figured it out that there must be some kinds of a PR catch there.

L.D.: The artist as a reporter. And as a flaneur, there is something from W. Benjamin in your investigative approach to the city.

L.B.: I do not actually think of myself as a reporter. My interest in Sofia, the city where I was born and live, was not born in April 2003 when I applied for a fellowship with the Visual Seminar and had to formulate the project Hot City Visual. Actually in the spring of 1998 I was doing the graphic design for the advertisement brochure of one company in order to earn some money. Once with the boss of the company we had to go to a place she referred to as the parking lot in front of the National Bank. When we got there it turned out that for me this is a completely different place, the parking lot in front of the National Art Gallery. I realized then that for two different kinds of people, herself a business lady, and myself – an artist, the city is totally different in its inscriptions. Until only 10 years ago that place was the square in front of the mausoleum for all of us and we all tiptoed there. So, this realization was not analytical, it just happened as a reaction, by intuition. Later I made a project titled Home/Town (1998) based on this event. In a very non-digital manner I collaged for this work small photos of the interior of my apartment over larger size photographs from the exterior of the city. These small interior photos end up looking like billboards positioned in different locations around the city space. I thought I was re-claiming my visual possession of the city where I grew up and which is different now. Then in 1999 there was the cycle In/Out, in again... which is dedicated to the then Swiss Ambassador to Sofia Mr. Gaudenz Ruf. A marvelous man, he had become part of the cultural scene of Sofia and was organizing from time to time one-artist shows in his private residence on Shipka St. My show there consisted of digital prints based on the same simple principle – in the large size photographs of the interior of the residence I implanted digitally photographs from an entirely different set of reality, photos taken from the daily newspapers or photos from my apartment. The residence is a private space, and legally a foreign territory, though “implanted” in Sofia. At the same time  this residence was quite open and as they say a user friendly space which offered a regular meeting place, also for politicians who otherwise would never be caught dead in one and the same place. My prints were based on the conjugation between two spaces that are different in terms of meaning and symbolism but are physically continuous.

Together with Kalin Serapionov, my friend and colleague, we have made a number of city related projects. For instance, the well known two channel video film titled Quite (im)possible, (1998) but otherwise known as From the boutique to the flea market. The two parts are projected simultaneously on two monitors. On the left-hand side is the footage from the flea markets and open-air markets of Sofia while on the right-hand side are the boutiques on Vitosha Blvd. That’s a video collage work which is referring the stratification of the city, the two opposite ends in the shopping habits of the inhabitants of Sofia, as well as in the behavior of the salespersons. In the context of the flea markets these are much more open and willing to bargain with the customers. The flea and street markets are the live and real economy. As opposed to that, the owners of the boutiques often would not even let us in, maybe because being afraid of I do not know what. Everything in the boutiques is quite cold and disciplined as it is in the globalized economy.

I have other city-related works as well. Manifesta 4 in 2002 in Frankfurt was the context where I responded to the call of the curators for artists to find themselves in this particular city. Frankfurt is the typical average European city and place. It’s a financial center reconstructed after WW2; it has significant historical sites and
very strong contemporary art institutions. It’s neither too big, nor too small; it has the busy airport, which is truly the crossroads of Europe. However, my contact with Frankfurt was not consumed through the buildings or the environment. It was rather the concrete people that I was after. I offered on the job pages of two local newspapers 100 Euro to everyone who calls a certain phone number and makes an appointment with me, the artist, to pose for half an hour with my goal being the creation of a group video portrait of Frankfurt people. Finally, I collected portraits of over 30 people from the city in an 81 minutes long film. The film is a mosaic of talks with the models. That’s a different kind of relating to a given city. Under slightly different scenarios I have done other similar projects based on interviews with real people such as the project in Liverpool in 2001 and in September 2002 in Montreal. There is indeed a link to Benjamin that you pointed out but I think it’s in the fact that I am thinking with my eyes, I am crawling with my eyes. That’s a kind of a crawling approach to the city environment, a crawling exploration by visually touching the city. Something clicks in me then. The city is an endless source of inspiration and themes for me.

L.D.: But where is here the subversive activity you are talking about?

L.B.: In this case it is rooted in the logic of the whole project, more specifically, in its analytical part. When I concentrated on the advertisement context of Sofia, I realized that it is clearly divided into two main layers with a middle layer that has features typical for both of the other two. The two main layers are defined in a vertical hierarchy – there are high and low layers in the visual context. In the high end (level) are the corporate advertisement and logos that are located on top of the buildings as a crown over the “head” of our beloved, “ever growing, never aging” capital city. These are commanding visually huge urban spaces much in the way the socialist propaganda slogans of the type of Long live the Bulgarian Communist Party! were doing in the past. However, the corporate visuals are infinitely abstracted. They are relying on the immediate recognition of the logo although it does not refer to a concrete commodity. Visually these billboards are extremely posh and stylish, clean and splendidly executed. The low end (level) is occupied by the neighbourhood advertisement, which is positioned right next to the body of the city dweller. The neighbourhood ads are behaving like the stray dogs. Their range of operation is 20 to 50 m and they are quick to make clear what kind of service or a product is being offered for consumption. These ads are quite vulgar, pinned on walls and doors with simple nails, executed by hand with the simplest and cheapest means possible. The lettering is horribly rough; the style is rude to say the least. But these are the vital part of the city; they are advertising real stuff, the stuff offered, sold and consumed in the actual life of the city. As a rule, the corporate ads are promoting goods that are within consumer reach of a very small part of the city population. They appeal to a rather higher standard of living/consuming that is not yet a reality in this country.

The middle level (layer) is the context of my project as a real presence in the city. This layer is occupied by ads of the local business with nation wide aspirations. Its visual language has incorporated something from the vulgarity of the neighborhood ads (content) while it is as posh as the corporate ads wherever execution and style are concerned. Such are the billboards of the X-taz Vodka brand, the Karnobat Grapa brand, the Pearl Grapa brand, etc. In these cases the quality product is being compared/associated “by default” with the “quality” female body. According to the brilliant definition of Alexander Kiossev, the image of the woman in the public space of Sofia is an image of a “public” (as in “freely available”) woman... Why is this so? Is it possible because in Bulgarian the word “city” has a male gender status while we know our society to be a patriarchal one and man are the main consumer target for alcoholic beverages? A pile of nonsense (or too much sense) related also to the urging/arousing function of some foreign companies that are offering/promoting lingerie. In this case the target consumer/client is female but somehow the women on such billboards are also visualized as “freely available”. It is highly unlikely to find anything of the sort in a Western European city advertisement.

L.D.: What happens with this advertisement promiscuity when an artist takes a look at it?

L.B.: My project is in substance an advertisement campaign for a small neighbourhood/family business in a corporate way. Initially I had two ideas but I was able to realize only one of them. The one I could not do concerns my neighborhood key maker. Years ago on the roof top of Institute Pirogov, the Emergency Health Care Hospital in Sofia that is located near to where I live, there was a neon light red cross sign. Now it’s been replaced by the neon logo of the Philips Corporation. That’s one of my best examples for a visual irregularity for there is no indication that this is a hospital whatsoever. I understand that the corporation is a sponsor and both the hospital and its patients will not survive without the donated equipment. But they could have at least saved the red cross sign. I thought if there is Philips there might as well be my neighborhood key maker’s logo as well. We could pay Pirogov and we would advertise the neighbourhood business on a high corporate level. It did not work out due largely to budget limitations. What I was able to realize though, turned out to be rather more challenging and radical because it did not concern logos, words nor signs but concrete people. I chose to sample a family business (another word for neighbourhood business) of people who are not only poor, unemployed and have a hard time making a living in this city, but who are marginal in every respect. That’s because they belong to the Roma ethnic minority in Sofia. One can se them all over the city but Roma people are totally absent from the advertisement environment. It’s as if they are neither consumers nor producers and besides, their media representation is completely negative. I have noticed that Bulgarian media covers the Roma in the same way Bulgarian nationals are written about in the European media. I think that if the attitude of the Bulgarian media does not change the chances for real integration of Bulgaria in the EU are slim because they are equivalent to the chances for Roma integration in Bulgaria.

I focused on the family “business” of Stefan Metodiev, a Roma person in his 50ies whom I know for 15 years since the time he worked for the Union of Bulgarian
Artists. There is hardly a Bulgarian painter or sculptor whose works have not been hauled by Stefan from one to another exhibition space in the building on 6, Shipka St. That’s where Stefan got his training to haul heavy stuff around. In his words: I am among you for more than 28 years. I never had a problem with his
being or not among us, whoever we are. I just know him and when I can I find some job for him – to repair somebody’s roof, to rearrange the parquet floor, to  paint some walls, etc. That’s the real type of service offered in Bulgaria, people are helping each other for minimal pay. I got together Stefan and his sons-in-law and took a high quality photograph of them in a professional studio. Then there was the problem of where exactly in the city to put up the huge billboard. Its surface is very posh, completely advertisement like, whereas the content is extremely provocative since attention is directed to a minority group that is missing from the public space. There are all sorts of issues coming out of this action – negative reactions, identifications, some politicians saw themselves in this billboard, and so on. My first idea/wish was to put up the billboard on the façade of the largest building in the city, the National Palace of Culture. It took me two months
to negotiate. Finally the M-tel Corporation, the mobile phone operator that owns the huge horizontal spots high up on the roof, rejected my proposal with a special decision of the Board of Directors. I think they were frightened a bit maybe because of the upcoming mayoral elections or else, it’s too early for them to commit to such an idea. I was hoping that the company with the most significant and substantial input in the visual environment of the country, the company that involves marginal faces and ordinary people in their advertisement campaigns would respond. But I found an alternative location, the facade of the National Art Gallery, and it turned out to be even more suitable. That building is at the same time part of the advertisement and the artistic context, a former Tsar’s palace, located in a central urban space that is quite problematic because the Georgi Dimitroff Mausoleum located there and demolished few years ago, has not yet been replaced by anything. That’s where is that parking lot and there are a lot of Roma doing stuff there that is quite different from what Stefan and his sons-in-law are involved with.

Unfortunately, the billboard stayed up for less time than planned for I do not know what reasons. But it did attract the attention I counted on, if the media coverage is an indication. There were even full page stories in the newspapers about other colleagues of Stefan, the other Roma who offer to haul heavy stuff for you on the edges of Macedonia Sq. in Sofia.

L.D.: In a way you are challenging the media and their attitude towards the minorities.

L.B.: In its social and critical aspects that’s what the project is meant to do actually. It’s supposed to be like a flash from a photographic camera, a momentary lightening that is pouring light on some invisible aspects and niches of life or on some concrete people. In a long-term perspective it should work towards a change of attitudes. I think it’s completely adequate to promote a positive image of the Roma minority.

L.D.: You have defined your project as a visual diary. A diary presupposes something private and intimate. You actually want to claim back the city you have lost.

L.B.: I deal with the visual environment of Sofia as with a context. There are a lot of various interests hidden there, a lot of human stories, and a lot of money.
Everything that is produced for this kind of urban environment is the work of artists, printers, designers, businessman, and handyman. A lot of people earn their living there. But this environment interests me mainly because it reflects a 100% as if in a mirror the current state of society as well as of this city. And that state of affairs is endlessly energetic as well as endlessly chaotic.

L.D.: Even schizophrenic.

L.B.: Yes. There is no clear direction, no clear priorities. For instance, we agree that all new legislature introduced in partnership with the EU is good. However, right here and now while we are sitting and talking we may say this legislature does not apply. We are an exception and we could provide loads of very good excuses and explanations.

L.D.: Hot City Visual, it reminds me of Marshall McLuhan and his distinction between hot/cool medium. The hot medium involves only one of the senses and is hypnotic in its impact.

L.B.: The advertisement environment of Sofia turned out to be extremely hot in difference to most German cities for instance where there are much less
advertisements. We may compare it to American cities of the New York type although as a rule the billboards in the US are located along the highways and not so much inside the cities. The Sofia visual environment is very hot when compared to the grayness of the city before 1989. It is infinitely attractive and very interesting though I do not mean to say that I find it aesthetic.

L.D.: I like your suggestion for new urban planning of the housing projects, the idea for the housing project Beatles 1A.

L.B.: There are actually three suggestions. In housing project Beatles 1A the apartment blocks should be configured along the words/lyrics of All You Need is Love. The other housing project is meant for more patriotic minded city dwellers and it’s called Dear Motherland, after the first lines of the lyrics of the national anthem. The third suggestion is for the housing project Moto-Pfohe after the name of the car distributing company. The idea is a reversal of the one concerning Stefan and his sons-in-law. One can see how in Sofia the corporations are infiltrating the neighbourhoods by locating there their headquarters, shiny office buildings that appear very strange among the falling apart concrete panel apartment blocks. I suggest we should think ahead of time and to link up closer the housing projects with the presence of the corporate logos and other words or idioms with the status of emblems. A housing project arranged like that is a suggestion for a more natural way of synchronizing the corporate and the neighbourhood reality...

L.D.: Your participation in the exhibition In the Gorges of the Balkans curated by René Block in the Kunsthalle Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany was quite interesting.

L.B.: Kunsthalle Fridericianum is the place where once every five years they do the Documenta shows. In this exhibition there were 88 artists from all over the Balkans with more than 120-130 works ranging from paintings to video installations and performances. The substance of my project was to unite the inner, non-
physical space of the exhibition by means of performance. I was taking the visitors on guided tours while explaining the contextual background of the Balkans and the way the concrete works of art are relating to that. Normally a full tour lasted about 4-5 hours. After the first week of the show I did not even have time for lunch, there were all the time people coming and asking to be taken around. That project was basically a performance because it depended not so much on my knowledge, which is no doubt more substantial than that of the curator or the visitors alike, but on the flaw of adrenaline that is accumulating and starts floating around the body in direct communication with the visitors. I was navigating back and forth the history and the culture of the Balkans, the ethnic communities, religions, and the current political reality.

L.D.: In 2003 there were several exhibitions of contemporary art from the Balkans organized in both Austria and Germany. That’s a cause for joy as well as for disturbance. I wonder if romantic titles such as Blood and Honey and In the Gorges of the Balkans are not actually covering up the newest attempt to squeeze the Balkan exoticism in a ghetto? Why once again is the ethnic formula being applied?

L.B.: I do not think it has to do with politics. There have been Balkan contemporary shows around at least since 1998 and the Balkans organized many of those. They are the result of a natural process of mutual recognition of artists and artistic scenes on the Balkans, of the accumulation of self-confidence, infrastructure and ambitions to get out of the ghetto. Shows like the ones in Kassel and before that in Vienna and Graz, come after pressure originating here and interest originating there. That’s not ghettoization because the Western art audience already knows most of the artists with other works and not as Balkan artists. Many well-known artists from the region, here I would mention Ayse Erkman from Turkey, Nedko Solakov, Anri Sala from Albania, and myself, as well as at least 20 or 30 other names are now put by the curators in the Balkan Art package. That’s a result of a more serious interest for the Balkans as a whole and contemporary art functions as an agent of civilization. Its message is: These artists you already know actually come from the Balkans. See them together with many younger artists and some less known works produced 20 years ago in ex-Yugoslavia where there had been a strong conceptual scene.

From the point of view of professionalism these are all projects of legendary curators. For each one of them – Peter Weibel (Austria) together with Roger Conover (USA) and Eda Cufer (Slovenia) from the show in Graz; Harald Szeemann (Switzerland) from the show in Vienna; and René Block (Germany) from the show in Kassel, these projects were exceptional challenges. The competition about who will make a more meaningful and more beautiful show was incredible to observe. Each one of the three shows had its merits and faults. They are different although many of the artists are the same. Blood and Honey of Harald Szeemann in Vienna was made on some very basic and guttural level because that’s the kind of person the curator is. He was responding to complex conceptual works with his eyes only while grasp- ing immediately the point of the work. As a result he did a show with a powerful visual impact, a very concentrated show. It’s only later that one can think about the various aspects of history, culture and so on. The show in Kassel was with more air, it did not aim at such a punch across the eyes but rather at a balanced and unfolding relation with the complex Balkan context in its multi layered history, culture and politics. The aim of the first show in Graz was to reconstruct by means of art works the feeling of being in a bazaar. That means to put in a relatively small space three video works or two cycles of color photographs. The sound of the video projections is mixing. One gets the sensation of going to the flea market on Saturday.

In some way these projects are a trend indeed but it’s passing for nobody can tolerate more extensive shows of contemporary art from the Balkans. The interest is largely due to the fact, according to the sharp definition given by Kiril Prashkov, that the Balkans are and will be for some time to come the only Europe free part of Europe... Where hedonism is still possible, where there are not so many strictly defined rules, where one can enjoy the homemade brandy and many other things that will gradually disappear with the unavoidable unification. It’s another question what will be the level of unification; and yet another one whether the Balkan label will disappear as well. However, it’s true too, as Maria Todorova mentions in her book Imagining the Balkans and something I had to bring up all the time, that unlike other countries from the region that had a variety of positive and/or negative connotations for the Balkan definition throughout time, for Bulgaria there was no such problem ever. The mountain that gave the name to the peninsula is right here and there is no way one can bypass that. But this provides for other advantages: I take things rather easy and it’s quite easy for me to link up all the other artists to the Balkan context disregarding their wishes or thoughts. The title of my project in Kassel had even in its English version a German idiom that is hard to translate correctly. It’s Schadenfreude, which means gloating and a lot more – it means to take pleasure in the misfortune of your friend or neighbor. It’s rather relevant on the Balkans. So, in Kassel I was playing with all of that and abusing the fact that the other artists were not there. For instance, the young Bulgarian artist Ivan Moudov was showing the video film One Hour Priority where he is circling for an hour around the Vassil Levski monument in Sofia abusing his right of way in the round about traffic of that square. I linked him up with the video projection of the Croat artist Sandra Sterle where an elderly woman, the artist herself dressed up, is running around a ages old tree in the center of a green opening somewhere in the woods. These are both works about the impossibility to get away from tradition, be that as it may the binding force of history, or the force of the folkloric culture, which is moving in circles by definition.

I was not really trying to dismantle the clichés inscribed in the consciousness of the visitors in the show but rather to provide something extra, to tell them that these works are not just an aesthetic surface and there is a lot to be seen there. I was interpreting the show as a vehicle of knowledge.

L.D.: Your personal professional geography is quite rich; you have made shows allover – from Sao Paulo to New York, Istanbul, Gwangju and Stockholm. Are
you still interested in widening the limits?

L.B.: I would not say that the physical limits are widening. It’s a bit difficult for the globe is what it is. But I think I am going in depth. In January 2004 there will
be a commercial art fair in Bologna that will be profiling artists from South-East Europe. Harald Szeemann suggested me for a one-artist presentation there.

L.D.: Do you have to compromise as an artist?

L.B.: I would. I am nearly 90 % unsuccessful in market terms. In other words, I am selling everything but the problem is that few people are buying. Nobody in Bulgaria at all but even in other places my works are hard to sell. It may have to do with the works themselves, or with my inability to handle this context. The commercial realization in the USA or Western Europe depends on contacts with strong galleries. I do work with some galleries but it seems that until now I have not found the gallery that would be able to sell my works. As far as comprising, if I knew how to do it in order to sell at least some of my works, I would do it. In this sense do not have to compromise. What I must do now is to select these works of mine that would have a better chance of being sold in Bologna. Now that I think of it, the film with Stefan and his sons-in-law, the billboard and the digital print are represent- ing a kind reality that is unfamiliar to the Western eye but in a very positive and attractive way. So, if I have to think about selling as such, I should probably take Stefan and company. However, at this point I do not want to part with these works, I want them in Bulgaria for a while longer.

L.D.: Your project GastARTbeiter from 2000 is emblematic for the life of the contemporary artist from Eastern Europe today and his/her attempts to synchronize the local reality with the western context.

L.B.: This work is based on the documentation I have saved about how much money was spent on my career, excluding sales of works, only money for hotels, transportation of works, production costs, and so on expenses that I do not see as physical money. I only see and touch the per diem money which is very little anyway and is spent there, not in Sofia. So, it’s a project/work about one of the problems in the life of a contemporary artist. In practice my fellowship stipend from the Visual Seminar is the first artistic income I have had in Bulgaria ever since 1991 (the year I consider to be the beginning of my professional career). Normally one can apply for such a fellowship outside of Bulgaria. So the gastARTbeiter situation still goes on. By the way, that’s one of my most often exhibited works in the last 2-3 years.

L.D.: How do feel the borders between yourself and the Western art audience?

L.B.: I feel them less and less. With time passing the big differences are vanishing, only those generated by the so-called collective psychology remain, no matter how imprecise this concept is. The situation of a Swiss artist who has come to Sofia to do a project is identical to that of a Bulgarian artist showing in Kassel. There is identical level of under- standing and/or misunderstanding. The differences are disappearing because the artists in Eastern Europe are no longer focused only on the pre-1989 past. We seemed to have stopped complaining and are concentrating on concrete issues.

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