ONLINE FROM APRIL 5, 2020
We find ourselves in difficult times, standing side by side in consciousness though not in body. Together in solidarity, surveying this new and shifting landscape evolving in front of us, one that is still very strange and morphing every day. As many of us are finding opportunities for slow and quiet reflection, we are also turning to many familiar forms of technological connectivity in new levels of focus. In this context I feel it is important to take this opportunity to share artwork that is particularly adept at bridging the gap into the personal and private space through electronic forms. Miná Minov has been operating in this space throughout his career in his video works. Long one of my favorite living artists, he speaks to human boundaries in faceted ways, many more than can be articulated in this short space. From the depths of friendship, it’s my pleasure to share with you a selection of his video works on our website.
(film still from “I Flew” North Sofia, 2015)
A decade ago I was fortunate to meet Miná through accidental circumstances on a trip to his hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria. I needed a place to stay for an additional month and he generously set me up to live in his studio. Over the course of that next month we hung out leisurely, bonding through humor, music, and eventually artwork. We hiked in the mountains bordering the city, ran from wild dogs, shot a few of videos, and spoke of future plans. We were in our late 20s.
During this time I had a close view on the artist’s process. Miná slowly develops an idea and tests materials, often building a crude construction to perform a pared-down physical task. Much time is spent in quiet contemplation punctuated by functional questions. Eventually this culminates in video documentation and usually very minimal editing in postproduction.
Miná’s video works unfold mutually between viewer and performer. At times the shadow of a tripod may intrude into the frame, at another time the tripod itself, and on a special occasion, Miná himself might turn and look at the camera. This gaze is not that of a performer but of a comrade discovering the moment with you, acknowledging that you are both playing this game together. Within this exchange, the works also seem to ask that ever-pertinent perceptual question: “How much do we change what we observe merely through the act of observing it?”
At a time when we have been forced to retreat indoors and slow down our lives, Miná’s videos feel particularly viewable. His practice and oeuvre can continue undisturbed despite a world currently in lockdown. With an environmentally neutral practice, Miná thoughtfully constructs filmic situations using whatever materials are at hand. This often leads to an Arte Povera-like aesthetic. Homemade mechanical contraptions, antique pulleys, and reclaimed seatbelt harnesses and handlebars attached to crudely built platforms give the filmed image an activated sculptural quality, as well as an immediate artifactual presence.
Far from home, sitting in self-isolation in London during this global pandemic, and now feeling the pain of this infection inside my own lungs, I find myself prone to see these works with a more dramatic and humanist tone. From then to now, Miná remains steady, undisturbed, plodding forward as the same wandering poet I first encountered. He presents us with videos that have human parameters, their duration and speed determined by the capacities of the human body. These reflexive parameters picture moments of our selves, exploring through physical limitations, and somewhere within these limitations we have a path to find experiences that will continue to indicate to us incremental notions of who we are.
April 5, 2020 – London
VIEW FEATURED WORKS:
we recommend full screen viewing
moved by (tree), 2013
face cradle, 2011
untitled (sail), 2009
untitled (fall) 1, 2019
untitled (fall) 2, 2019
moved by (over), 2014
scene #8, 2010
i flew, 2015
video documentation of untitled installation/performance in the exhibition ‘да починеш в почивен ден’ at one night stand gallery, sofia /14-09-2017