Robert Baramov

2015 Bulgarian Pavilion and Venice Biennale

The Bulgarian artist Robert Baramov negotiated lease agreements for 125 cm3 in 17 national pavilions at the Venice Biennale 2015.

For several decades Bulgarian cultural backgrounds have been seeking to be part of the national presentations at the Venice Biennale.The absence of Bulgarian pavilion the refusal of the political circles for assistance provoke Robert Baramov to start Initiatives (2013 - '' Declaration of War '') to draw the world's attention to the strange fact that Bulgaria remains the only member state of the European Union without a national participation. In 2015 his project '' Rented air spaces '' received massive approval by the curators of national pavilions, with whom contact has been established. During the preview on May 6th,7th,8th the artist managed negotiate with the teams of 17 pavilions lease agreements for 125 cm3 from the air spaces for their national presentations (among them France, Germany, Switzerland, Great Britain, Romania, Brazil, Belgium, etc. etc.), thus declares Bulgarian participation in the atmosphere of the Biennale beyond the official program. The author closed some of the  rented volumes in transparent cubes with dimensions 5x5x5 cm and transported them to Bulgaria as tourist souvenirs. The registration of exterior presence in the spaces of national pavilions is commented as an innovative intervention in the status quo at the Venice Biennale on the one hand and on the other hand as an opportunity to generate energy which could solve problems of the Bulgarian artists in the process of active integration into the global cultural scene. By exempting from the institutional constraints and rules, Robert Baramov interprets the contemporary artist's role as initiating changes in cultural, political and social spheres. The positive reaction of the representatives of the world's cultural elite to the project can be considered as a confirmation of the thesis that despite obstacles and because of them contemporary art follows its natural instincts to be present in spaces that it and thus changes the established standards. The theme for sufficient integration of the former socialist countries and the role of their western partners in this process is placed on the table for discussion and public interest promises efficient development. 

1. Letter to the curators of the national pavilions at Venice Biennale 2015:
Dear colleagues,
the lack of a Bulgarian pavilion at the Venice Biennale is a known fact. In 2015 Bulgaria again will not register national participation! As someone committed to contemporary cultural issues, I decided to make a personal attempt to lay down the foundations of a Bulgarian pavilion with my project "Rented airspaces". In this letter I am addressing all curators of national pavilions with a request for leasing to me for an unlimited period of time 125cm3-(5x5x5 cm) of airspace of  the exposition areas available for their national presentations. Rented airspaces will allow Bulgaria to be a part of the atmosphere of the Venice Biennale and this initiative can become the basis for negotiations with the authorities on establishing a status of Bulgarian national participation! Your support is especially important for the Bulgarian cultural circles and my confidence in your commitment makes me hope that the terms for your lease won't be unbearably heavy!
Yours sincerely,
Robert Baramov / artist
2. Concept: 
The aim of my project is to deal with the invisibility that I am predetermined with by birth. The creative potential of enormous artistic masses from the former Eastern bloc is deprived of equal start due to political narrow-mindedness and inherited mentalities. I'm shocked that many poorer countries than mine have national participation in Venice. The strive for normality in Bulgaria is just an occasion used to trample on cultural communities. I came to the conclusion that the changes that I am trying to provoke - the establishment of a status of national Bulgarian participation at the Venice Biennale - cannot take place without the support of the foreign elite. My new project is markedly communicative. I regard it as a diplomacy in the allegorical sense that should discredit the mediocrity of the problems we are condemned to face in the 21st century in a member state of the European Union. An essential part of the concept are the correspondence and documentation about the reactions of the curators of national pavilions. One of my goals is to encourage the organization of round tables in Venice and Bulgaria, where the intellectual elite could discuss current maters and their specific meaning to the Eastern countries. I hope that with the support of the media our common messages will reach the Bulgarian political elite and we could expect  to see concrete steps towards the establishment of  a status of national Bulgarian participation in Venice in the near future. I would regard the initiative as successful if more foreign commissioners or curators support the attempts of the bulgarian cultural community to have national participation at Venice biennale by leasing  for an unlimited period of time 125 cm3 airspace of their national pavilion. I believe that the theme chosen for this year's Biennale tacitly encourages interventions in the status quo of significant events. In my "All the World's Futures" project authentic art bypasses all restrictions and refuses to become a victim of disagreements between political systems and cultural communities or of conflicts among them.

3. Description of the project stages: 
A. Communication with the commissioners and the curators of national participations at the Venice Biennale. 
B. Organizing discussions in Venice or Bulgaria. 
C. Establishing a constructive basis for the Bulgarian pavilion by storing 125 cm3 of airspace of the pavilions of participating countries in transparent containers with dimensions 5x5x5 cm and transportation of Venetian “atmosphere“ to Bulgaria as tourist souvenirs.