The Rhizome of Bulgarian Contemporary Art


Boryana Rossa

Historical research project, drawings, diagrams, video

Commissioned by: MUSIZ Foundation and One Night Stand Gallery, Sofia

I was one of the five contemporary Bulgarian artists, and the only woman commissioned by MUSIZ foundation to make a “Family Tree of the Bulgarian Contemporary Art.” With my work I had proposed to follow a rhizomatic structure rather than a tree, which I believe better depicts important figures, movements and interconnections. The tree was a structure which was used by all other male artists, each of whom put themselves as a main stem.

I have focused on the years between 1885-2005, on major artists, artists’ collectives and artist run institutions and their relationship to topics and mediums such as gender, technology and the body. I have also made interviews with most of the artists presented regarding the influences they had within Bulgarian context – both old and contemporary. This research was depicted in a diagram, which showed that the rhizome is much useful structure to represent these connections and to display tendencies such as success depending on connections, historical events, gender or on artists’ ability to create networks. The final work included a large-scale drawing, printed diagram, video in which I explain my methodology, and a book with the artists’ interviews I made during my research.