Quarantine = Residency
Since I decided to go back to Bulgaria for the summer I knew I would have to be in quarantine for 14 days on arrival but I had to figure out where I would stay for this period. I din't want to stay with the rest of my family, which includes living with both of my father's parents, so myself and my family started to think about where I could stay in order to keep everyone safe. Luckily, a few years ago my father build a small studio bungalow in a village just outside of my hometown and we decided that would be the best place to stay for the quarantine period.
I got there on 5 June 2020 at around 9:00PM and I immediately loved the atmosphere. The bungalow was surrounded by fields of grass, forests full of trees, a river and pools with fish since my father has a small fish farm (it’s sort of his hobby). As soon as I got there I had dinner, took a long shower and pretty much went straight to bed as I was very exhausted from the flight because I have been suffering from flight anxiety for about a year now. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
The next day was a productive one. I woke up around 8:00AM and was ready for action. At that point I decided to do a vlog series about my quarantine. See the link in the end of this post. I started to walk around and look at materials that had a potential to be used for making art. In the last few months the way I make work has evolved and got to a point where I started using found materials to make some sort of dripping or painting devices. After I had a good look around and decided what could be used I thought about the idea of treating this time in quarantine as a residency programme. This would give me the opportunity to make work, research, read, think and explore. member of your blog a writer so they can write posts for your blog. Adding multiple writers is a great way to grow your content and keep it fresh and diversified.
Every day was different than the previous but all of them were full of potential. Some days were extremely productive while others were spent sunbathing or in the socially distant company of my grandparents, friends and family.
In the course of a few days I managed to create one dripping device and use it to paint onto a 1x1 m piece of metal which I then covered with some pure light ultramarine pigment.
The piece had very interesting textures and movements but aesthetically wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped it would be so I put it on the side for a few days. I then came back to it later and put it back next to the device which was used to create it. I thought it made more sense that these two would have to be displayed together in order for both of them to make sense.
The following days were full of rain so I decided to fill them with research. I thought about my work a lot and asked many questions about its concept and purpose. The same words started appearing on my sheet of paper where I had scribbled some of my thoughts – destroy, deteriorate, die, corrosion, cancer, death. Very dark, I know. This led me to research more into Gustav Metzger’s Auto-Destructive Art Manifesto and demonstration during the 1960s. After reading the manifesto one question was stuck with me more than anything – Is my art auto-destructive?
In the manifesto, Metzger states that auto-destructive art can have a life time from a few moments up to 20 years. Now this is very important because it defines if an artwork is auto-destructive. Would my work completely deteriorate within the next 20 years? I had no idea but I had to find out. After many hours of research into corrosion and corrosive engineering I found a formula which calculates the rate of corrosion:
ipy = 12W : TAR
Now, without going into too much details and mathematics, I managed to calculate that a 1m x 1m x 0.7 cm mild steel sheet, which is being corroded by water in a rural mountain area would only corrode 0.85 m within 20 years. Thus, cannot be classified as auto-destructive art.
If I do decide to go into auto-destructive art there are ways in which I can make this work. For example I could make a strong solution of nitric acid (dil.HNO3) and water. This would lead to the complete destruction of a steel sheet within the first 24 hour period. In order for me to test this, though, I would have to have access to a workshop which has the facilities to handle acid safely. I have started some conversations which could lead to some tests in the future but not for another 3 months due to the COVID-19 situation.
This was one discovery made in the quarantine period.
I have worked on a few other things including planning my first artist book which is still very much in the process of making.
On my 13 day, unfortunately, my oldest dog passed away at 14 years which made me quite sad but besides that my quarantine/residency went very well and I am curious to see how my work evolves in the next few months.
Have you been in quarantine lately? How did you find it? Tell me in the comments here or in my YouTube vlogs.
Link to my quarantine vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrfX_AKUnSc&list=PLrQ02D7ICBBSIzO3vuxZWnX0ucyplH-jX