by Kiril Prashkov
The Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) is located on the first floor of a residential apartment building in Sofia. It has very little street profile, but everybody in Sofia who needs to know about it knows about it. We went there to meet with Kiril Prashkov, an accomplished and well established Bulgarian text-based artist and board member of ICA.
Kiril is an innovative artist. And possibly the crankiest and most provocative artist I have had the pleasure to meet. He showed us a book that he collaborated on with a feminist poet; his illustrations were photos with embedded drawings of men and women fornicating, usually with the male figures in dominant positions. He laughingly told us that the feminist poet felt compelled to write an explanation about his images. He also told us of a six-month residency in Switzerland, during which he created a book funded by the Swiss, mocking the Swiss. I am sure he (correctly) had me down as a feminist, so he seemed to delight in telling us about works that might offend a feminist sensibility, or perhaps he didn’t see me at all.
Prashkov’s work made me uncomfortable at times which, of course, was his intention. It isn’t hard to admire his work. His portfolio holds an amazing collection of brilliant and inspired works that questions all authority. He is contributing to our show, (Public Address [link]), a series of rocks with text written on them. The rocks can be picked up and rearranged, creating an interactive narrative. This work addresses the dual themes of our show—the book and protest—simply and brilliantly. But to be honest, given his disruptive work I am just a little bit afraid to read what these rocks will have to say.