Plamen Dejanoff at Emanuel Layr Gallery, Vienna
Central to Plamen Dejanoff’s current exhibition at Emanuel Layr Gallery is the project Plamen.
Composed of books, posters, sculptures, a stage and a series of photographs, the presentation concentrates on a Czechoslovakian magazine from the 1960s by the same name. Plamen (meaning flame), was distributed in Prague between 1960-1968, and managed to incorporate critical viewpoints in politics, art and culture, despite a repressive political regime. 50 years after the original magazine was banned, Plamen Dejanoff orchestrated, among other things, the publication of a new edition, Plamen (Literature, Art, Life) (1/2015), on the occasion of his solo show at 21er Haus in 2015, compiling articles from various writers, advertisements and exhibition images. The new magazine contained art, social concerns and politics, and served simultaneously as a catalogue to Plamen Dejanoff’s show.
On display at Emanuel Layr are fragments and previews of a second issue of Plamen. A selection of cover page designs, page layouts, and a new photo series titled Foundation Requirement (Trifon) give an overview of the magazine in-progress and the associated production processes. During the course of the show, critics, artists and football experts will be invited to participate in interviews and contribute texts, which will be collected for inclusion in the final publication. A stage in the form of a large table installed in the gallery functions as a collection point for issues of 60s, the 2015 edition, as well as a platform for lectures, discussions Plamen from the and presentations of assorted materials. Another main element of the exhibition and the new issue of Plamen (1/2016), is eccentric, cult icon football player Trifon Ivanov, who is originally from Veliko Tarnovo, the same city as Dejanoff. Alongside diverse architectural and construction elements featured in the show, such as a medieval stone floor, the football player and cultural asset of recent Bulgarian history is a substantial motif in Dejanoff’s new work series. The fragment of stone floor is reconstructed from the original plans of buildings in Veliko Tarnovo, and is displayed in 3m2 scale. It belongs to a larger project titled Foundation Requirement, in which Dejanoff develops various artistic projects to conserve old buildings in his hometown, and turn them into cultural institutions before they fall to ruin. Singular streams can be seen to conjoin in an inclusive, specifically Bulgarian cultural tradition, that stretches back from medieval architecture, to recent history—with football star Ivanov—and right up to Plamen Dejanoff himself. His practice can be seen as a form of historiography, into which he inscribes himself, both directly and indirectly.
at Emanuel Layr Gallery, Vienna
until 30 July 2016
Plamen Dejanoff installation views at Emanuel Layr Gallery, Vienna, 2016
Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Emanuel Layr, Vienna. Photo: Georg Petermichl and Sophie Thun