Sofia, February 11th. Ventsislav Zankov presented the second part of his trilogy ‘Limes Agoniae” . . . A video-camera shot a picture of the long-haired artist, a white sheet with headlines in Latin at the background. Then a barber cut his hair really short, in front of the eyes of the visitors. In the end the avant-garde artist ate up a steak mixed with his cut hair, and the TV set behind him kept showing his face before the haircut. His pictures were all around him, and all of them blood sprayed.
view‘Fax’ Newspaper, February 12th, 1992
Steak and Chips
Steak and Chips
On February 11th 1992 the Limes Agoniae Exhibition (castles, blood and Latin) was inaugurated with Steak and without Chips (‘Steak and Chips’ is one of Roland Barthes’s works published in the ‘Mythologies’, Editions du Seuil, Paris, 1957)
A voice was reading parts from Roland Barthes’s text while V. Zankov was served his cut hair, mixed with pieces of well cooked steak.
About one hundred steaks were served later in the exhibition hall, among the blood exposition, Latin headlines and black & white slides: the spectators, that had come to the inauguration, were delighted to eat the steaks up. In this way the exhibition turned to be the cocktail of the week for the yellow press (Venelin Sapundjiev, ‘Free nation’ Newspaper, of February 28th).
The year was 1992, the TV set in the exposition hall was used by the artist as a mirror to keep his image unaltered. Spectators could not see his face while he was having his hair cut, but only his image (with the long hair) from the TV set. A microphone followed the sound of clippers until the haircut was over, the artist turned his new face to the spectators. . .
I thought that was the limit of agony, the limit of my agony that made my past useless and dismissed my future as shapeless. Deprived of both past and future I was left in the grim past with its endless horizons . . .
The turbulent times and controversial claims of years that we have to get over push us back to hopes or memories, to nostalgia and ambitions. I still remember the time that made my past useless and dismissed my future as shapeless. Deprived of them both I was left to the grim present, with its endless horizons. 1990-1992.
The past and the future shrank and fused into each other , sinking deep there into the black whole of the present. The horizon of events was cut down to ‘today’, the blackness had a ‘tactile’ quality: darkness all around, no lights, with the only thought about what will come tomorrow.
I reached out for ‘The Bible’. Searching for my roots and ends. I read ‘The Old Testament’ failing to grasp it now and then. I saw how a nation named itself God’s elect. Desert, blood and sacrifice. I saw the ruthless face of Faith. I thought of death, I felt the agony, I went through the pain of lost identity, the pain brought by the acceptable world-order, the one that I know, the one which I got used to. A kind of world-order . .
I had soon graduated from the Academy as a sculptor. All my artistic ideas and skills, ready to work, craving for work, got suddenly useless, irrelevant, void of content.
I would sit at a cafe with a friend (Zhoro Ruzhev) in these early afternoon hours, and it was one of these afternoons that brought the question: ‘who told you to be a sculptor, anyway?’ (later I became quite good at substituting the word ‘sculptor’ with other words’). To cut the long story short I turned to doing the things that I needed to do, free of scruples, opinions, ‘evaluations’. Time was confusing and people were confused. The past was proclaimed irrelevant, there was no future, the present was void, a vacuumed society without rules, a vacuum pierced with relict rays (the astrophysicists will tell you they abide the lower red part of the spectrum), a vacuum in which I might have blown up out of my own pressures, yet a vacuum that I could set free, or maybe set myself free, free of my past self . . I reached out for blood. Later critics were late to draw their analogies with the ‘Wiener Aktionismus’, to juggle with Performance and with other terms. Yet we all went through the incomprehensible quality of these years, the ignorance and the confusion.
I know the feeling one has turning back to these years, the feeling that we simply imitate the history of modern European art for the last forty years, and that we do it at high gear. . . It is the feeling we have when looking at the first silent movies, the feeling of fun, the naive feeling of romance, and tender sorrow, and the nostalgia for the true zest, the energy and the enthusiasm to make things happen . . .
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Наследникът на македонски революционер и руска балерина рисува с кръв и твърди,
че живеем в блато от фекалии, Нощен живот, 1-14 април 1992, стр 2.
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авангарда, Труд, От петък до петък, 14-17 февруари 1992, No 7, стр. 16.
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Свраков, Красимир: Занков представя втората част на трилогията си
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Екимова, Марияна: Границите на агонията, сп. Експрес, No 2, 1-7 юли 1992, стр. 43