Self-portrait with mask and disinfectant

Dimitar Solakov shares his experiences placing them in their natural setting

The idea for Self-portraits predates the dramatic events of 2020 with the onset of Covid-19, the measures against the pandemic, the social isolation and the vast civil rights movement.

Initially, the focus of the exhibition has been on a particular period in the author's life. Namely, the year 2018, when so many things happened to him that it felt like global time slowed down and expanded beyond measure to accommodate them all. The microscopic living particle contains all segments of the world at large, yet it is their personalisation that makes them much more important. The personal account is what enhances the development of larger stories.

For five years now Dimitar Solakov lives with his family in the village of Voneshta Voda, Veliko Tarnovo province. As someone coming from Sofia, he faced new challenges there, different battles to fight. Through the exhibition, the artist shares his experiences placing them in their natural setting.

After this year's events, Dimitar Solakov adds yet another segment of equal importance. Once again, his self-portrait is in the centre of the universe, which despite the physical distancing regulations has its own rules of moving around. The main difference now is the masks and the quantity of disinfectant. The interaction between man and nature continues to be as complex as it has always been. The preoccupation with nature and its “submission” is just an illusion evoked by our short lifespan. The attempts for the resurrection of animals are another element of this submission, a kind of refusal to accept natural processes like death, mortality, etc. They are also a commentary on the collective attempt to ease our conscience by thinking that we do something good for the planet (separate waste collection, riding bicycles, vegetarianism, etc.), activities that have a minimal and negligible effect on the ongoing processes.

The pictures of sunsets are more than a romantic touch. They illustrate the conclusion of a temporal frame and the reality of passing time.

It seems like the end brings about more peace and quiet than the beginning.

The exhibition runs until 17 October in Structura Gallery in Sofia.

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