written(not)said

The letters, exchanged between Anastasia Tabakova (a teacher in the village of Mihaltsi) and Stoyan Georgiev Hadzhiev (a soldier in the 29th Yambol Regiment), are kept in the Gorna Oryahovitsa Historical Museum. While separated because of the war, they exchanged about a thousand letters and postcards, from 1914 to 1920, when Stoyan returned to Gorna Oryahovitsa. Their correspondence is the starting visual material for today’s art project and part of it is present in the exhibition as documentation. For Boryana Petkova and André Serre-Milan the specific content of the letters is not so much important but rather the systematic maintenance of the connection, even if one is not aware whether the other one would send a reply, where he is, and even whether he is alive. Importance is laid on the study of the mechanics of movement and the resulting sound, on the similarity between writing and drawing. They recognize the hand-written text as a drawing and deal with it taking namely that perspective. From the point of view of art, these abstract drawings represent an analysis of the question whether a work of art can be both concrete and abstract. This writing-drawing is mechanical process, but the action goes along with the experiencing of emotions. Such complex conclusions have been reached following multiple experiments with automatic drawing, in parallel with reading of the letters and recording of the sound.

The exhibition also includes part of the many drawings resulting from this experiment. The work, which has an even higher status, is the sound composed by André Serre-Milan.  Portraying a written text in terms of sound is a powerful affecting element. The sound record is edited and processed digitally so that the listener can hear writing, drawing or breathing, without clearly distinguishing the different actions.
In an era, in which a digitally reproducible image has long assumed a fully artistic status, more and more artists rethink the analog means of expression and the (viewer’s) personal interference they allow. Whether participating with his/her own emotions or experiencing the story of Siyka and Stoyan, the spectator is involved in the artwork physically and mentally.

Daniela Radeva curator

https://www.contemporaryspace.bg/en/exhibitions/writtennotsaid/