A co-authored project of Dr. Lilyana Karadzhova and second-year students of the Photography Bachelor’s Programme at the New Bulgarian University: Alexandra Argirova, Angelika Davidkova, Vladimir Ivanov, Victor Mladenov, Georgi Ivanov, Kiril Kralev, Kristian Kanchev, Kristina Todorova, Leonor Nikolova, Nina Stoimenova, Sanya Arnaudova, Yana Todorova.
Gigantic cyanotype photo prints annually drive numerous photographers and amateurs in art to join efforts in collective artistic pursuit held in city squares. Most popular are photograms when the participants lie on light sensitive canvas and leave a print of their shadow.
The first significant cyanotypes, using the photogram technique and interpreting the human silhouette, were created by Robert Rauschenberg in 1950. In the 70s, the idea was furthered by Floris Neusüss with his whole-body photograms series and Bruce Conner with his “Angels”. In the 21st century, cyanotype projects leave photo studios and conquer city squares. Such events were held in Avignon, France in 2013, Panaji, Goa in 2014 and London, UK in 2015. The latest record for gigantic cyanotype was set very close to Sofia: on September 18, 2017 in Thessaloniki, in the city’s port area, and covered 276.64 m².
The Film’s Not Dead project was conceived as the first of its kind large-scale performance in Bulgaria. It gives vent of the joint artistic energy of 15 second-year “Photography” Bachelor’s programme students from the New Bulgarian University in 2017/2018, inspiring them to create a large work with an original concept whose realization goes beyond individual efforts and reflects the contribution of all participants. The Project incorporates two works of 260 x 400 cm size which weaves Bulgaria into the powerful wave of group cyanotypes and advances practice with an artistic concept. Two messages, represented through contact prints of the portraits of the participants, communicate identity to their anonymous silhouettes. The theme, which consolidates the group in cosmic blue colour, is the interpretation of film as an unusual type of living capsule which keeps memory and takes conscious life into space-time. The lettering is composed from 120 contact prints of 132 images taken on 120 mm film cached on glass. The images show the authors at moments of work with camera using slide and negative film.
The dynamics between the small and large format, between the size of the canvas and the contact prints, between dominating silhouettes and delicate details triggers aesthetic distance. The interplay between the figurative abstraction and the tiny faces in the frames creates images conveying a complex suggestion beyond the literal interpretation of the message.