1996, installation and photography from performance

Materials: rubber, polymers, aluminum, luminescent light

Dimensions: 9x1.5x3 meters

Sterility by Petko Dourmana at XXL Gallery

Petko Dourmana is one of the youngest , and as it become clear, one of those (artists) creating a new image of Bulgarian contemporary art. His installation Sterility has sprang from the modern type of social thinking which comes to replace the worn-out “Fluxus” symbolic “rituals” characteristic for the pioneers of vanguardism in our country. Irony disappears, because both life and art are to be considered seriously.

Dourmana lays meanings on the practiced by the Nazis sterilization practices through irradiation of people called to complete some forms for the needs of bureaucracy.

A real-size human figure made of rubber is hanging in the front of a corridor made of a transparent material. In the back a shaft of light is piercing a metal–cut symbolic anthropomorphic silhouette. The rubber figure is literally “taken off” the body of the artist and then inflated with a polymer. This work is not concerned with aesthetics or coquetry with the viewer who is made to reconsider his attitude towards the rest of the people. The idea is that one can be cruel with people only if they think of people in abstract sense, i.e. pure statistics. Only then you can imprison them in camps, expose them to radiation, or any other cruelty you can think of. But if you have a direct contact with an individual, if you have touched him by shaking hands, it is very difficult to even think of being cruel. The work “keeps the memory” of the modern European history and at the end of the repulsive 20th century “speaks” about the need of communication between people.

Text by Prof. Svilen Stefanov from Izkystvo (Art) Magazine, issue 41, 1997

(Prof. Svilen Stefanov is Head of Art History Department at National Art Academy, Sofia)