(Artwork by Kiril Bikov)

This year’s Sofia Queer Forum concept “Manifestations of the Personal” resulted mainly from the panel discussion “Politics-Art-Gender” initiated after the forum’s first edition in 2012, published in the online magazine Blister. One of the discussion’s contested points was that sexuality is something personal and is as such apolitical – just like one’s taste in clothing, food or music. In the conclusions one of the discussion’s participants arrived at the question: Why politicize something apolitical?..

Yes, questions of gender, gender identity and sexuality can be perceived as personal (and apolitical?), but only in an ideal surrounding where there are no conflicts. It is a fact, however, that we are not living in one. Here and now (in Bulgaria, Europe, the world, albeit to a different extent) there are established and sometimes seemingly unshakable positions as heteronormativity prescribes. By deviating from or not accepting it the individual embarks upon a direct confrontation with all sorts of moral and institutional prescriptions which are invariably “political”. When we speak of queer, the sublime moment of manifesting the personal (i.e., its becoming public) is saturated with conflicts and contradictions and it is precisely this fullness of senses, meanings and interpretations that are the uniting motif of this year’s forum.

“Manifestations of the Personal” is a provocation of sorts – laying bare and disclocing, creating a multiplicity of shared personal spaces. Contradictory and multidirectional intimate self-expressions by eleven Bulgarian authors, some of which investigate in a contemplative way their own essence, others deal with feminism, religion and fetishism, and still others proceed from their personal stories in search of the basic question of determination. It is thus not by chance that this exhibition is prevailed by self/portraits which represent most of all self/contemplation and self/analysis.

The artists: Antonia Gurkovska, Boryana Rossa, Voin De Voin, Ivo Dimchev, Kiril Bikov, Krassen Krastev & Paul Dunca, Lubri, Natalia Todorova, Svetozara Alexandrova, Stanka Koleva.

You can visit the exhibition until 05.07 Tuesday to Saturday between 12 and 19h at Vaska Emanouilova Gallery.