Billboard heaven

Billboard heaven: Sofia 2005

This cycle of images is an exploration of the visual logic of neo-capitalism. It represents a vision of the possible future of the urban environment and visual interface of one neo-capitalist city, the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. Neo-capitalist societies originated from the late totalitarian version of socialism to be found in the eastern European countries of the former Soviet Block. Its “progress” is marked by processes of redistribution of public wealth and “normalization” under the pressure of EU membership. Neo-capitalism is capitalism without a bourgeoisie; a consumer society without consumers (at least not yet). The development of neo-capitalist cities is marked by the appropriation of public space by private interest.

All these features are seen in the interface of Sofia, a city where you can put up anything, anytime, anywhere, as long as you can pay… In a neo-capitalist city, the economic aspects in the life of the society overpower political ones; the market suppresses the civic agenda; the visuality of business and consumption eats up the visuality of reflection, contemplation, or representation of anything other than consumer identities. In fusing material surroundings with the advertising context, I have taken these processes to their logical visual conclusion.

At night, all squares are Red: Moscow 2007

For the first time ever in Russian history, everyone (or nearly everyone) living in Moscow has at their disposal everything that all their contemporaries throughout the world (or nearly all and almost throughout) have readily available on the streets of their cities – from Coca Cola and LG, to Prada, Bvlgari and Hugo Boss. For the first time in history, modernization is based on consumption.

Single exhibitions

2006 “Crawling Carpets”, EAF, Adelaide

2003 “Hot City Visual”, ICA-ATA Center, Interventions in the City, Sofia

1998 “Revolution for All”, Holden Gallery, MMU, Manchester (ISEA’98)

1994 “The Fountain of Europe: Doubletake”, CCS – Museum, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Group exhibitions

2007 “Footnotes: On geopolitics, markets, and amnesia”, 2 Moscow Biennial, Moscow

2006 “Belief”, 1 Singapore Biennale, Singapore

“Periferic 7. Focusing Iasi. Social Processes”, Iasi, Romania

2005 “Urban Realities: Focus Istanbul”, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin
“Sur les ponts, le long de la rivière…”, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg

“Belonging”, 7 International Biennial, Sharjah, UAE

2004 “Cosmopolis”, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessalonica
“Privatizations. The post-communist condition”, Kunstwerke, Berlin.

2003 “In the Gorges of the Balkans”, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel.
“Blood & honey / Future’s in the Balkans”, The Essl Collection, Klosterneuburg/Vienna

2002 “In search of Balkania”, Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria
Manifesta 4, Frankfurt

“The Collective Unconsciousness”, MIGROS Museum, Zurich

2001 “Konverzacija”, MCA, Belgrade

“Escape”, 1 Biennial, Tirana, Albania

2000 “L’Autre moitie de l’Europe”, Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris

“Worthless (Invaluable)”, Moderna Galerja, Ljubljana

1999 “After the Wall”, Moderna Museet, Stockholm

“TEMP-Balkania”, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki

1998 “Money/Nations”, Shedhalle, Zurich

“Revolution/Terror”, ISEA ’98, Manchester-Liverpool

1997 “Deep Europe”, Hybrid Workspace, documenta X, Kassel

1995 “Orient/ation”, 4 Biennial, Istanbul

“Beyond the Borders”, 1 Biennial, Kwangju, South Korea
“Beyond Belief”, MCA, Chicago

1994 22 Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo

Selected bibliography

Vitamin Ph, Phaidon: London 2006
Aaron Moulton, “Go East. From Kosovo to Kaliningrad: part 2”, Flash Art 251 (2006), 62-65
Ivaylo Ditchev, “The Delocalizing Gaze (Luchezar Boyadjiev reshuffling the city)”, 2005.

Luchezar Boyadjiev, “Billboard Heaven”, 2005.

Nicolas de Oliveira, Nicola Oxley, and Michael Petry (eds.), Installation Art in the New Millennium, Thames & Hudson: London 2003.

Fresh cream, Phaidon Press: London 2000, 142-147.

Published 25 May 2007
Original in English

© Luchezar Boyadjiev Eurozine


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