RESIDENCE FOR BALANCE – The Ancient Mammoth, Martin Penev

Martin Penev (born 1985) lives and works in Sofia. In 2009 he took his MA in Theology from the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski and in 2012 – MA in Digital Arts from the National Academy of Arts, Sofia. Since 2010 he has participated in group and solo projects in a number of festivals and events in Bulgaria and abroad. He has interests in object, installation, interactive design, performance.

The objects created by Martin Penev are both direct and mysterious in a kind of child-like way. They remind us simultaneously of the defenselessness but also of the unconditional freedom of fantasy confronted with the unknown and the unexplainable.

His hybrid forms neglect the rational and push forward the empathy. The references to toys and to something primordial in the shape of the object, as well as the “buildup” of the installation are attracting the grown up viewers to the “naiveté”; the deformations and the obsessive presence of his objects in the space are pushing the viewers into a labyrinth of interpretations.

Luchezar Boyadjiev

The Ancient Mammoth About to be Created

The installation is an ironic look at counterfeiting, substitution, demagoguery. The mammoth did co-exist with the human race after all, and we probably have an innate, unconscious memory of our life together, of what happened. An extinct species is mock-recreated in a space reminiscent of a natural history museum. The museum institution serves for the conservation, restoration and display of historical artifacts, but in this case the “historical” is yet to be created.

In sociopolitical terms, “creating an ancient mammoth” can be a mystification of history, ideological shaping of the past, appropriation of achievements and successes of past societies and cultures. All matter of populism, propaganda, political demagoguery and extreme nationalism.

On a personal level, “creating an ancient mammoth” can be used to describe identity crises. The individual creates urgent imitative constructions to define oneself in an aggressive world or, through the projection of the personal inner fears, creates an external enemy, in the struggle against which one finds one’s own identity.

The installation can also be thought of as an irony of kitsch, fakery, and the surrounding aesthetics in general.

Martin Penev

The opening is on October 6, Friday, from 19:30 in the underpass of the bus station.

This sculptural intervention is part of a series of urban installations within the framework of the “Residence for Balance project, carried out by the Museum of Humor and Satire in partnership with Gabrovo Municipality as part of the #ФестивалНОвКвартала and program focusing on cultural entrepreneurship, heritage, and collaboration.