The artists of the young generation in Plovdiv
The Edge Group is united by the delicate interrelationships among the artists, relationships
that could be strengthened but also could end up broken. By the way, some of the internal
relations that characterized the beginning of the group have changed radically.
The first exhibition opened with a series of performances and happenings, and the audience
was treated with a cake in the form of a five-pointed star, which was sliced with a set of
hammers and sickles. Many of those who were present took part in the performance
spontaneously or with guidance, and the first annual “Edge” award was given to the April
generation of artists, represented by the figure of Yoan Leviev. Until its closing, the
exhibition was accompanied by a series of artistic happenings to which everyone was invited.
Who are the Edge Group? These are the artists of the young generation in Plovdiv, and the
founders are Albena Mihaylova, Veneta Marinova, Dimitar Kelbechev, Dimitar Mitovski, Emil
Mirazchiev, Ivaylo Grigorov, Igor Budnikov, Kolyo Karamfilov, Monika Romenska, Nadya Genova,
Paul Albert and Rumen Zhekov. Among other groups, “Edge” in its own way became involved in
artistic life. Here are excerpts from a recorded conversation with the group, which began
with the artists’ questions to the critics, but in fact became something like their
The main thing that expresses the idea of the group is their separation from centralized
The Edge” Group is up for the artistic ideal and it will look for it without formulating it
in advance. It will not talk about material realization itself, because the artists today
are oppressed by many social factors, they exist miserably, their situation is terrible, but
the ideal exists and one must live for it. The problem of realization, in the sense of being
accepted by the status quo, is not an ambition of the Edge Group.
The criteria of the group are clarified in a discussion and in search of a unifying
principle. The unification is carried out by the purposes of the future activities of the
group, which means that the group’s ideas are in a dynamic state.
The group itself is a closed society, as founders, but the movement is open and accepts
companions. The following principle is valid –
“We are a closed group. Everyone is welcome!
We have no leaders. Our leader is the celebration.”
The group is a stimulator of ideas, and tends to stay in the background for their specific
“Do we have a sense of leadership? No. We are a group.”
The group is realized only as united by a program. It is a society that is organized by the
idea of future events and its verification is done through these events. The main goal of
the realization is the pleasure during this very realization. Dissatisfaction, or accidental
inclusion in the ideas of the group, is considered a betrayal of the ultimate goal—the
preservation of the group itself. “The pleasure of organizing exhibitions and actions is
entirely our right.”
The Edge Group wants to turn its members into millionaires. It wants to treat the whole
world and to treat everyone constantly.
The “Symbols and Signs” Exhibition
The purpose of the exhibition is to change the habitual look of the place where it is
organized (even if the place itself is state-owned). The Staging of the exhibition is the
criterion applied to the participants. No other criteria exist. This is our first, and
perhaps our last, political exhibition. This exhibition takes place at a time when it is
possible, and all the mistakes made in it and through it are attributable to the artists
participating in it.
The exhibition is just one appearance of the group in material form, and the selection of
works is natural and is determined prior to the event, not afterwards.
The group is interested in the future of its exhibitions, which is away from the amorphous
events currently on view.
The exhibition is geared only towards those who are interested in it and therefore the
conclusion is that “Symbols and Signs” does not fully satisfy the group or its supporters.
The purpose of any future exhibitions does not differ from the main goal: to make every art
event a celebration. Derived from the context of “Symbols and Signs”, some of the artefacts
are suitable for other exhibitions, but their main meaning is generated precisely in the
context of “Symbols and Signs”.
The Edge Group is not looking for its leaders, even if they appear.
Among the members of the group, no one relies on the illusion of authoritarianism—[the
group] was founded to survive, not to disintegrate.
The Edge Group will seek its place in Bulgarian art in an absolute sense—it will deny its
own weaknesses and failures.
The Edge Group will strive for unusual exhibitions and therefore each of its exhibitions
should be considered as the last one, as that is also possible.
The Edge Group – these are the “edges” themselves, but these are also all those who are with
them, while not necessarily being one of them.
The Edge Group has no claim to be avantgarde. It is even anti-avantgarde and its existence
is determined by the consciousness that love is in the future.
The second exhibition, for which other groups and authors were invited, was called “Large
As far as the Edge Group is concerned, this exhibition has definitely shown a certain
withdrawal from the collective image. In fact, it was an exhibition of individual artists
who grouped their works in one space. What connected them was the materials and the
technical means. In fact, I have long been convinced that precisely these elements are the
common grounds of the members in the group, and making art based on collective ideas, which
was a dream of several generations of artists, will probably remain as a task for the future
generations. Or maybe for other groups.
If we look at the facts without prejudice, the exhibition “Large Photography” is still one
of the finest phenomena in recent times, and probably the most incredible professional
exhibition of artists who are using unusual for their practice mediums.
The exhibition also showed the characteristic centrifugal forces of some of our contemporary
artists, forces which separated them not only from the general trends, but also from their
own views, which have been established as a result of these trends. Perhaps the confession
of guilt in artists lies precisely in enabling the new ideas to take root without hindering
them in their embryonic phase. The artistic facts in this exhibition, however, spoke not so
much of genesis as of a long-prepared movement.
Changing the means of expression and literally replacing the brush or graphic press with
photographic paper, film, developer, etc. speaks about the search for a new aesthetics. The
“Large Photography” exhibition featured also the pictorial element, the biography, the
naturalistic, the imaginary, and the dynamics of a peculiar new impressionism.
The 1992 exhibition of the Edge Group was called “The Ideal”. It began with an abstract space
brought to sterility by white canvases, one for each artist. On the tenth day, the canvases
were finished as paintings—the ideal of each of the artists. However, the beginning of the
painting of the ideal was accompanied by a scandal. Definitions such as “scandal”, “parody”,
“self-promotion”, “spectacle”, etc. accompanied the “The Ideal” exhibition, but in fact this
was only the reaction of the audience.
The main goal of the Edge Group was a deep and long-lasting artistic provocation. Its
members have consolidated around this idea. “The Ideal” exhibition was the reason for the
group to be invited to the festival “Process – Space”. Its illusions, irony and sense of
reality expressed the essence of all of us.
The Edge Group called their action at the festival “The Big Guzzling”. They arranged a large
table on the sea shore and covered it with a huge amount of selected wines, whiskeys and
dishes – everything that was inaccessible to the Bulgarians these days. The artists were
separated by a rope and swallowed everything by themselves. The sharing was frugal and
reluctant. Thus, the group, which two years earlier declared that “it wants to treat the
whole world and to treat everyone constantly”, self-centeredly protected itself from its
initial illusions. Maybe they gave us a dose of realism for free, to do with it as we see
fit. I am sure, however, that this was not their last transformation.
“The beginning was pretentious. Just as God created the world in six days, so the ten young
artists decided to bring into being their concept of the ideal on ten empty white
canvases. But when, on the day after the opening, they entered the exhibition hall armed
with brushes and paints, it turned out that a burglary had taken place. The surprise was
complete, especially for the investigators: instead of picking up the expensive decks or
searching through the cash register, the thieves limited themselves to stealing the ten
white canvases. From then on, the crime plot developed in the direction of surrealism
(probably that exists in the crime genre as well). The artists received a telegram that they
would find the stolen objects in the storage room of the Central Railroad Station, and they
invited the raiders to a dialogue: the thieves were welcome to paint their own concept of
the ideal. But the game did not happen. Apparently, the act had had other motives which
were inexplicable to the Edge Group. So the “edges” stood for five days (not insignificant
time considering that the rent of the exhibition space was running) in front of their own
edge: “To be or not to be?” “What was actually the ideal?” “And where to now...”
Excerpt from the Plovdiv press