Project

The Dessert (with the cherry on top)

2019-2020, video installation

Three-channel video installation, 2K video, synchronization, stereo sound; 42' (loop)

The Dessert (with the cherry on top) manifests the notion of celebration, ritual, psychological portrait and at the same time the idea of a community and artistic life. This is the third and last stage of a long-term project – a cycle of video works, that started more than 20 years ago – “The Hot Soup and My Home Community”, 1998 and “Main Course” 2007.

The final and most exuberant part runs like a performance, in which 31 artists and curators invited by the author and including some of the most acclaimed figures in the Bulgarian artworld, share a light yet festive meal – a stylish dessert. The filming process has employed setup and shooting set specially built for the occasion, with audience observing the process in real time, without taking part in the performance.

Thus, the consumption of a wide array of cakes and pastry becomes the main storyline in the video. It is supplemented by a “making” as an essential part of every artistic project that usually leaves out the viewer. The complexity of production, directing and organizing the acting participants is like a master class in cohabitation of vastly diverse characters. The dessert can be an individual pleasure, but also a small celebration to share with others. And everyone can feel like they are “the cherry at the top of the cake”.

Unlike the earlier studio-shot works, this final part of the trilogy is open to the public, larger in scale, duration and invited participants. It comes across as a reflection of a rather romantic perception of modern-day art, as it is overabundant with joy, colours, shapes and tastes and involves fellow artists from different generations, circles and interests.

The video installation comprises 3 separate, synchronized screenings with a common sound design, composed by Milen Apostolov. The three viewpoints from the different cameras convey a sense of shared space much like a large dinner table where we can sit and communicate with each other. People rarely realize that the simple things they do on a daily basis reveals their characters and habits to a great extent; that is why the work strongly emphasizes on the effect of the video portrait. It depicts human personality from two sides – the inner and the outer one, the face and the back, the visible and the invisible. This helps us understand it better, provides an all-surround view. The dessert is just a symbolic representation of the vanity in our professional and private lives and the ironic temptation to "sweeten up“ the basic meal of our careers that never satiates our hunger for artistic perfection.

The idea is to focus on our artistic contemporaneity. It aims to show the expansion of the scene and the active continuity and development of the ties between artists from different generations and groups with shared aspirations. Through directing of the visual techniques, manipulation of the images in time and the skilful use of editing, the work also emphasizes on the obligatory self-mockery and irony towards the professional community with its illusions of self-sufficiency and wholesomeness, coexisting with constant dissatisfaction and pursuit of outside appreciation; the sense that something didn’t quite turn out as expected.

Camera: Petko Lungov, Tilmann Rödiger, Nedelcho Hazarbasanov; Lighting: Vladimir Varadinov, Krassimir Yordanov; Grip: Georgi Georgoev – Gigunde, Eduard Moskalenko; Sound recording: Veselin Zografov; Editing: Kalin Serapionov; Music: Milen Apostolov; Color grading: Orlin Ruevski; Make-up: Jelena Kesic, Boryana Nikolova, Dimana Arnaoudova; Cakes: Liuba Atanasova – LUbakery, Yvetta Lukova, Villa Rosiche, Rawlly, Fabrika Daga (Rainbow Factory); Video ecquipment and installation: Dimitar Apostolov.

Special thanks to: all colleagues invited and participated in the project, Sofia City Art Gallery, Daniela Radeva, Orlin Ruevski, Milen Apostolov, Liuba Atanasova, Yvetta Lukova, Elena Filipcheva, Dimitar Apostolov, Structura Gallery

Installation views from Structura Gallery Sofia