OPUS PRObJECT, 1993
The Opus ProBject was the next show of the Edge Group. It took place in June 1993 in Plovdiv in the exhibition hall of the Association of the Artists in Plovdiv.
This time the space of the gallery was not changed at all. There was rather the intention to master all its capacities. The viewer even had the feeling that it was not the idea that was tailored to fit the space but rather that the space had been made to fit the idea. The exhibition hall was transformed into a huge installation taking over the whole lower floor of the gallery. In each of the four corners there was a large heavy bed made out of massive wood and covered with intricate silk covers in blood-red color. Those made the four actively aggressive focal points in the space. All around, the beds and the walls were full of scattered apples in endless transformations. Two of the walls were offering identical in size and positioned at equal distances to each other works, which were connecting via traditional techniques (painting, collage, drawing, and Xerox copies) the idea of the apple with some persistent themes that had been occupying artists over the ages. The works unlocked endless thoughts about time, light, infinity, and love; they conveyed limitless wealth of diverse associations; they suggested meaningful and absurd questions.
The works were not unified stylistically; it was as if each one had been executed by a different hand. The only unifying factor was the presence of the image of an apple or at least the metaphorical insinuation for such. The precise yet monotonous arrangement, which had overtaken all the wall surfaces, as well as the identical dimensions of these works, meant that they are the passive agents within the installation. The walls seemed to have been transformed into mirror surfaces reflecting the generalized face of the audience; they spoke of the multitude of individual readings, experiences, worldviews, emotional states and intellectual load that are the end product of the creative idea transformed and re-born within the viewer – from its literal reception and reproduction (the real apples that had been photocopied) to the far removed abstract and often unintelligible interpretations; even to the lack of impact or provocation.
While the viewer was facing these two walls, he/she would be consumed by the immense diversity of the talkative pictures generating rich and confused associations and emotions; the other two walls were strikingly laconic and clean in terms of composition. A raw of white plaster casted apples was arranged on the white wall at eye level. They were leading the gaze of the viewer down the end wall of the hall which was covered with numberless real apples looking much like a frozen waterfall. The precise lighting created the illusion of slow downwards movement of the waterfall towards the bed with the red-blood colored covers and also towards the scattered around freezed up apples. The square of the white apples in the center of the hall, which had been suspended in air above the visitors’ heads, was in fact the center of the spatial composition. This was the very center of the space formed by the four beds in the corners.
The show triggered endless associations – from the biblical symbolism with the fall of men, the red color of redemption, the predestined and so on; all the way to the ironical invite for the viewer to submit to the temptation offered by the untouched apples. The lighting was the basic compositional element which had been handled with exceptional professionalism. Two main types of lighting had been used – law spots and diffused sources. It turned to be a strong unifying element compositionally by creating a theatrical stage effect. In this show the viewer was also the main actor who seemed to have ventured center stage quite unwittingly. The viewer had no chance to withdraw as the whole space was a stage set. There was the powerless feeling that you are being watched, while the oppressive sense of passivity, produced by all of the installation’s components, allocated the main acting role to the viewer.