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The Vigilant Writers

An exhibition of Aleksandra Chaushova

4 April – 9 May 2024

Opening: 4 April, 18:30–20:30

With the support of the Bulgarian Arts and Culture Foundation.

With the financial support of the National Culture Fund.

“Every historical representation seems to be determined by ideology. But ideology is elusive. It cannot be declared false, cannot be called a lie, because no one would support a lie. But it also cannot be said that ideology represents the truth. So perhaps ideology is a certain contamination of reality with fiction. As Terry Eagleton says: “...it might be more appropriate to assume that ideological discourse presents some connection between empirical claims and what can be called a ‘worldview’, with the latter having precedence over the former... Perhaps the closest analogy is with a literary work.” I am interested in this fluid boundary between reality and fiction of ideology.”
Aleksandra Chaushova

History is a narrative, and storytellers are often unreliable. Writers can be creators, agents of secret services, recruited citizens – agents. They all write stories and history. In the exhibition “The Vigilant Writers,” Aleksandra Chaushova blends works from several of her series, each with its own stories and protagonists, into a generalized image – that of the vigilant but unreliable writer. He is middle-aged, from different eras, simultaneously executioner and victim, and writes history as it is created, or creates it as he writes it, infecting reality with fiction.

“Schneider Pens” (2022) is part of the series “Burotica” in which Chaushova paints with oil pastel on a dark background objects that began their lives as inventions and rationalizations in the 20th century, but today stand as prosaic and almost disappearing companion of bureaucracy and the ubiquitous paperwork. The scale and the play of light and shadows in Aleksandra Chaushova’s drawings turn them
into sinister characters of administration, real weapons of control over human destinies.

“Still Life with a Man” (2012) is a drawing loosely inspired by the story of Danail Krapchev – journalist, public figure, founder and editor of the daily newspaper Zora (1919–1944). Committed to the Macedonian Struggle, but also expressing in his articles approval of the Bulgarian government’s pro-German policies, Krapchev was assassinated during the coup of 9 September 1944. The date of his execution, as well as versions of it, vary, and the People’s Court sentenced him to death one year after his death.

“Tchavdar Tepeshanov” (2017) is a video interview with a former operative in the Sixth Department of the State Security in People’s Republic of Bulgaria who was in charge of the cinema circles. Tepeshanov presents his profession as a regulated bureaucratic activity of gathering information and archiving it. He finds himself in the position of an editor of history in burning the writings of all the agents who
worked for him. An architect by training and now a poet and painter, the exhibition also features one of his paintings, “Cotton Thistle”.

Curator: Dessislava Dimova

Aleksandra Chaushova was born in Sofia in 1985 and lives in Brussels. She graduated from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia and teaches drawing at La Cambre, Brussels. Aleksandra is as brilliant a draftsman as she is аn accomplished storyteller and writer, searching for her heroes in history and archives, only to send them into the future. She is represented by the Nosbaum Reding Gallery, Brussels and Luxembourg.