Valleys are productive regions. Cultivated lands.
Valleys are warm, lush, sheltered areas. Every so often, at dusk they seem to suck the sluggish, hot and heavy sky down their sloped walls as the sun retracts its rays, then you might say the valley is melancholic.
Yet they remain evasive and unruly, even after we have chartered them in maps, rendered them and transformed them into metaphors. We can’t ask ourselves questions on belonging, without getting lost in them. There we grapple with our desires for self-identification.
In the valley we also find woman. Mother Earth, The Rose Queen, daughter of a nation, field worker, Disneyland princess, valley girl. Wearer of blushing dusks, calming lotions, radiant creams. She is illuminated by the golden oily beams, from the product of an entire valley, ready to be exported.
The bearer of a pure national essence. If you so crave it…
In these valleys, we also find tourists, ambling. They arrive without embarrassment and full of apparent clarity. They photograph and dispel our complex of perspectives, uncertainties, the opacity of how we imagine ourselves vanishes. These visitors are hungry omnivores. They swallow clichés whole, and us along with them.
The Blushing Valley by Gery Georgieva marks for the artist a return to her native country. Unavoidably, it is a show about identity: representation and lived experience; appropriation of cultural symbols and their speculative potential; the role of the female image in the Bulgarian consumer culture; fantastical, almost hallucinatory clichés and archetypes; intimacy and embarrassment.
In May this year, the artist made a trip to the annual Rose Festival in Kazanluk which celebrates the rose picking season. Visitors at the festival experience a beauty pageant contest and crowning of the Rose Queen followed by a fireworks display and a carnival procession. Rose oil is one of the most important Bulgarian exports.
Gery Georgieva (b. 1986 Varna, Bulgaria) lives and works in London. Her work encompasses video, performance, multimedia installations and musical collaborations and she is a recent graduate from the Royal Academy Schools, London. Previous solo shows include Polythene Queen, Hunter/Whitfield, London, 2017; Original Cheese, ANDOR, London, 2016 and Solo Romantika, Res., London, 2015. Selected group exhibitions include: Ripe, Kingsgate Projects, London; No Place to Spit, SET space, London; CCTV, Caustic Coastal, Salford, all 2017. Balkan Idol (Frieze Film commissioned by Random Acts Channel 4), Frieze Art Fair, London, 2015; screening at MOCA Cleveland, Ohio, US; Outdoor II Continental Love, WARM, São Paulo, 2015; Open Source Contemporary Arts Festival, London 2015; Apophenia, Islington Mill, Salford, 2014; AFTER/HOURS/DROP/BOX at Modern Art Oxford and Spike Island, Bristol; and performances at Bold Tendencies and ICA, London, 2012-13.
The Blushing Valley is curated by Viktoria Draganova.