Invisible Streets

Invisible Streets, detail
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Invisible Streets

A Photography Installation by Lilyana Karadjova and Dimitar Stoyanovich
20.09 – 23.10.2022, Sofia City Art Gallery

Invisible Streets presents an imaginary cultural topography of Sofia as a cross-section of the cultural achievements in the city. Six thematic streets are organized according to the vocations of notable people from the Third Bulgarian State (1878–1946). Their homes have been detached from their topographic context, urban plan, and architectural style and have been photographed as personal abodes. Some of them have special features in which one can discover signs of their presence. This imaginary cultural map of Sofia passes through the Street of Statesmen (25 key figures), the Street of Actors, a first and second Street of Writers, the Street of Poets, the Street of Artists, and the Street of Musicians (each marking 12 key personalities). The streets are “constructed” from frontal views of house façades shot on 35 mm black and white film, and running beneath them is an uninterrupted line of details. Along these roads runs the text of Dimitar Stoyanovich, which casts a bridge to the title of the exhibition, inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

The photographic labyrinth in the back of the gallery shows an imaginary urban environment, following the subjective human gaze during a flaneur walk throughout Sofia. The houses drift in the city, creating many invisible connections non-existent in the physical world. The installation is constructed of panoramas printed on light synthetic fabric. The medium-format black and white film was loaded into a pinhole camera with a manual film advance, allowing the frames to be overlapped so that the iconic houses are arranged next to each other, connecting in an imaginary panorama with smooth transitions.

The connection between civic awareness and historical memory is a constantly renewing living object of subjective perception. The coordinates indicated on the topographic maps in the first part of the exhibition are replaced by associations following the personal appearance of the buildings. Thus the labyrinth transforms into a reflection of the personal experience of the artists and their emotional connection with the urban trail of the notable figures of the capital.

The Project is realized with the cooperation of Culture Program of Sofia Municipality