THIS IS ME, 2020 – 2021

17/11/2020 – 31/01/2021 @ National Gallery / Kvadrat 500

Vernissage on Tuesday, 17 November, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., observing all anti-epidemic measures and with controlled access.

The exhibition, ‘This Is Me’, was prepared specially for Kvadrat 500 as a logical extension of Dr Gatev’s project, ‘This Is It’, presented a few months ago at the Rayko Aleksiev Gallery, and curated by Yovo Panchev. In the form of a complete work, ‘This Is Me’ raises the fundamental theme of the interaction between society and art, offering an answer to the questions posed earlier this year relating to the lack of a universal artistic model.

Galentin Gatev, known in artistic circles as Dr Gatev, has been one of the colourful figures in contemporary Bulgarian art over the past three decades. The dermatovenerologist from Botevgrad became popular as a collector and curator of unconventional art. He has also performed as the creator of bold and non-standard projects critical of the art establishment.

According to curator Yovo Panchev: ‘Dr Gatev’s leading observations of the process and the environment in his work, shape the anamnesis of art in this exhibition also. The focus on the instant of deciding on the work of art unfolds in a simple and compact mise en scène. The movement as tracking of the process takes up the topic of previous projects by Dr Gatev, where substitution is considered inseparable from the historical development of Western society. Tracking takes on a physical dimension, becoming a method of proving the obvious in strict interaction with the viewer.

‘Conceived both as a programmatic review and as a thesis view, the exhibition pursues a pure artistic model where the already implemented projects have turned from ideas into more or less conventional visualisations. In the spatial staging, the sought non-literal derivation of the modern artistic language is equivalent to the literal movement, to completion—a move through the total sincerity of the natural physical action, based on the instruction for the direction through entry, pit stop, exit.

‘In search of answers between the entry and exit zones, the material instant of making the choice and deciding on the realisation of the work are closed, for an act to be apprehended, for a process to be brought from a manifestation or behaviour to work. This moment is characterised by laconic and technical sharpness, comparable to the instant of breaking the weld: between doing nothing and doing another nothing as an alternative to the first.

‘The standardised use of basic models, genres, manner and style in art, of norms approved to varying degrees, is the reason for the total neglect of art as a field for intellectual exchange, on the one hand, and on the other, to support the mediocre in all its manifestations. To arrive at the question again: is something essential solved through the visible?’

The presentation of ‘This Is Me’ by Dr Gatev at the National Gallery allows for critical comments on the history of art and the artist’s questions to be addressed to a wider range of people.