University: University of Portsmouth
Statement: Slices of Red questions the notion of indexicality in relation to the photograph regarded as a document of the real. The work explores personal and social memory in relation to identity and politics. With the use of vernacular photography and family narratives I illustrate the commonality of experience, behaviour and belonging. The stories recounted from first person’s point of view obliterate the individual in order to create a collective narrative and reference the ideologies of Eastern European communism. The constructivist design creates a contrast between the movement’s ideology and the concept of the project, allowing the truth to slip out through the slices.
What is your favourite photobook by another photographer? Ghetto by Broomberg and Chanarin
Direction: The book is self-published and self-funded. For this work I chose to create a book because it is also continuing the concept of the work itself and it serves as a manual almost for the viewer. I have printed about 700 copies of the book and I have about 200 left. When I display Slices of Red in a gallery I use a plinth with a lot books which are free for anyone to take. I do this on purpose, not only to spread my work, leave the viewer with something to take home and advertise it - but mainly because of the connection between my book and the Little Red Book which was a propaganda distributed for free to all of the citizens to Communist China. I will continue making books but with this I searched for a new belonging of the book - changing its understanding of a sacral object that one touches with gloves - to almost a flyer that is propagandizing the truth.
Considerations: The size is A6 - pocket format. For which I used 80gsm recycled paper for the pages and for the covers I used 250gsm recycled paper. The book is with creasing and staple binding. It was printed in 4/4-coloured euro scale.
Interior: The inside of the book was inspired by the constructivist book design. So the layout is inspired by El Lissitzky’s book About Two Squares: A Suprematist Tale of Two Squares in Six Constructions which was in fact one of the first books with design inside of the book, not only on the covers. I was also inspired by the work of El Lissitzky - Proun Room. The book starts with the statement about this work and simply ends with one of the narratives.
Inspiration: As I said one of the biggest influences for this whole work and for the book itself is the work of El Lissitzky, as well as Kasimir Malevich, Lyubov Popova, Alexander Rodchenko, Boris Mikhailov and KK de Paul. One of the theories that I worked with in this project is the theory of indexicality. I found it really useful because it makes the connection between my narratives and the found images I worked with.
Advice and Future Goals: Maybe the best tip I can give for making a book or creating work in general is to experiment a lot before making final decisions, to try all of the layouts, combinations, papers and details before deciding anything. The company I used to produce my book is called Saxoprint - but they are more into promotional materials rather than photography books. They have a great variety of papers and are really good at what they do. For me they’ve worked well because every time I have a show I need at least 150 booklets to create a sculpture out of them that continues the work both conceptually and physically.
My future goals are to start my own photography organisation that will support emerging artists and help them be noticed. I also want to continue making work that educates and provokes thinking and I want to start showing it in my home country, where I would like to give lectures to art students in Bulgaria.