Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, 07.03. - 01.04.2012
Curators: Georgy Bogdanov / Boris Missirkov
Misho Novakov is like an extraterrestrial that has landed on the Earth and by sheer force of circumstance has found itself in Bulgaria, among skaters, DJ’s, hipsters and casual idlers. His observation apparatuses – most of them semi- amateur cameras which break easily but are quickly replaced – register everything they come upon, no matter beautiful or ugly, important or unimportant, on or off focus. At first glance, the chaos is complete but gradually the different frames build up a very curious – and beautiful – documentary picture. A narration about a group who couldn’t care less about local politics but is yet quite at terms with current trends worldwide and would probably look almost the same in any European, Asian or American metropolis. The global lifestyle, or, at least the idea of it, together with the local background comprising crumbling residential blocks from the 70's, half-finished beach hotels and Bentleys stir up a weird mix. It is before our eyes every day, indeed, but has come to be so casual we hardly notice it. The absurd scenes of the trashy surroundings are not an aesthetic problem for Misho or for the protagonists in his photos, these are just part of the environment but they do not prevent those people from having fun. A cheerful endless theatre which at times whiffs off an end of the world feel - but it might be as well just a way to enjoy self and life.
The photographs of Misho Novakov are based on a richly developed tradition of the colourful, almost kitschy documentary observation of everyday life nonsense, established by Martin Parr back in the 1980’s. What sets the images in this exhibition apart from the multitude of photo-blogs online is the sincere curiosity about the world around, the slight degree of irony towards the environment and the self, and an eye for the beauty of the absurd. The pleasure of shooting film is also part of the game – the patience to wait for days or weeks before you are able to see the images and the surprise of re-discovering them are a process totally different from the snap self-affirmation of digital image. This game continues in the exhibition hall – the mechanical click of the Kodak slide projector acts as a metronome that should bring a bit of order in the chaos.