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Kamen Stoyanov: At Arm's Length at Museum Moderner Kunst
Kamen Stoyanov, Stoyanov Persona. ©Kamen Stojanov

VIENNA.- With “At Arm’s Length” MUMOK will exhibit four works by the young Bulgarian artist Kamen Stoyanov: Videos, drawings and an installation reflecting the contemporary notion of culture, with all of its paradoxical aspects, will be presented in the museum lounge, in the passage-way between the actual exhibition spaces in the MUMOK and in display windows in the Babenberger underpass.

Kamen Stoyanov, born in 1977 in Rousse, Bulgaria, investigates the unbounded commercialization of the cultural field and of the public sphere. Seemingly secondary moments, inconspicuous persons, acts or places take on a special significance as they play an unconventional role with respect to the dominant economic order. The problems associated with migration, cultural translation between cultures and the construction of identity come to light in this field of forces.

On the walkway between the two exhibition spaces, Stoyanov will set up the series “Tiger Steps” (2007) consisting of photographs, documentary material and a puppet of a tiger which ironically refers to the story of the tiger lady Shakti. This animal was shown in a glass cage in one of the most exclusive and expensive shopping centers in Sofia as an advertisement for a café there.

Stoyanov’s video “Move Your Hands” (2007) which is shown in a showcase in the so-called Babenberger Passage, shows a Bulgarian woman playing a self-made folk music instrument in front of the Centre Pompidou in France. Her noisy fiddle along with her insistence on remaining in front of the pedestal of a sculpture coincides with the cleaning crew removing graffiti from the wall behind her.

A video entitled “Persona” (2008) can be seen in the lounge on the top floor of the museum, showing a translator in a movie theater in Sofia, where she works every day translating movies, in this case specifically Ingmar Bergman’s film Persona, which itself deals with questions of identity and the comprehension of the other.

A series of drawings entitled “Brake Shoes” (2007)can also be found in the lounge where Kamen Stoyanov critically addresses a passage from Frederick Bodmer’s book The Loom of Languages (1944) which described the Cyrillic alphabet as an “impediment”. At the same time, the artist reflects on the position of the artist in the contemporary art market and the medium of drawing itself.

Kamen Stoyanov was awarded the prize for ‘Zone 1’ at last year’s Viennafair, a prize specially designed for young artists presented in this area during the fair. The MUMOK purchases the works which were awarded the prize and an exhibition is then presented at the MUMOK during the period of the Viennafair 2008.

Kamen Stoyanov studied from 2000 to 2005 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He lives and works in Vienna and Sofia.

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