Exhibition at SCAG: The Neighbours: Forms of Trauma (1945-1989)

Tuesday, 01 November 2022

Curators: Julian Chehirian, Krasimira Butseva, Lilia Topouzova

03.11 - 04.12.2022

Opening: 03.11.2022, 6 p.m.

“The Neighbours" is a multi-site installation that engages silence and fragmentation surrounding memories of political violence in post-socialist Bulgaria. It is the outcome of 20 years of scholarly research and 8 years of collaboration. Through object, video and sound interventions, Julian Chehirian and Krasimira Butseva compose spaces for bearing witness to silenced trauma built upon 40 interviews conducted by the authors (2002-2022) with survivors of repression and forced labor. Inviting us to listen to their listening, they offer a space for attention to an unsettled forgetting.

The exhibition unfolds across two sites. The City Art Gallery exhibition draws on a purged archive, charting the historical coordinates of political repression and forced labor in Bulgaria through texts and three installations spanning literature, film and sound. At Benkovski st №40, the authors draw on their ethnographic work in survivors’ homes: three domestic spaces evoke the material and psychological spaces where interviews unfolded.

Staged within them are fragments from oral histories, field recordings sonorized through domestic materiality, and video from two former camp sites, Belene and Lovech. The media conflux evokes the unstable boundaries between spaces of home and the psychologically proximate sites of violence.

The Neighbors is accompanied by a program of discussions, artist talks, educational tours and a workshop, which will be announced later in October.