Artistic project of L.Y.R.A Venice 2019 – Gorna Lipnitsa 2022
“Dare We Live in Interesting Times?”
We decided to make this project led by the idea that art is not an end in itself, that there should be no hypocrisy and insincerity to it. We understand art not just as a means to create an aesthetic surrounding but also as an instrument to create substance and change. In this sense, the work of art and the act of living should exist on the same plane, intertwining and interacting harmoniously, mutually enhancing each other. Any attempt to distinguish it from reality creates limitations and undermines the trust in its sincerity.
We, as viewers, should be given the opportunity to express creativity and freedom when viewing art. This way we would be able to get close to the artist, get inspired by their work and then use it in our everyday lives to turn it into art. We don’t want meaningless rules. We want creative application of the rules.
We believe that the viewer is innocent until proven guilty.
The problem that inspired us:
- 06. 2019 Venice, Italy
We are L.Y.R.A – artists, creators of artistic events and viewers.
We are visiting Venice and the 58th edition of the international Biennale named by its curator Ralph Rugoff after the ancient Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times!”
Venice is a lively city and the streets are filled with international crowds.
There’s just one problem – walking shirtless is not just frowned upon, it’s also forbidden. A truly incomprehensible decision for a seaside town.
The day is hot – it is barely 10 but it’s already over 30 degrees. I am walking naked from the waist up. A policeman at the train station in Venice asks me to put something on.
I dress but just for a little while.
Then I continue walking without a shirt. I feel good and I am not ashamed of my body. That is how I visit some of the pavilions at the Biennale. At the entrance of Giardini, the Italian at the entrance blocks my way and doesn’t let me in until I put my shirt on. I put it on though later I am once again walking shirtless. I am stubborn too.
At some point we enter into one of the more interesting pavilions for us which houses the works of Mozambique as well as authors from many different countries. At the entrance stands a young boy, his whole face pierced, his body in tattoos. He asks me to get dressed because I cannot enter the halls naked from the waist up. I put on my shirt without buttoning it. The halls of the old palazzo are filled with artworks, we move dazedly from room to room as if through a maze, among many paintings of naked men and women, bodies, vaginas and penises in close-up. At one point, without me noticing, I get surrounded by three young boys who come over just to tell me that this is a public space where I can’t walk with an unbuttoned shirt. I stand and look at them, then glance at the naked bodies on the walls and slowly button my shirt.
Later that day a random man literally shouts at me to respect his city and to put on my shirt, otherwise the police would fine me.
What is up with these people? …I guess they’ve had too much sun.
I don’t know if that’ll surprise you but… the grand prize at the Venice Biennale went to the beach opera “Sun and sea (Marina)”, performed by people in swimsuits who are laying on beach towels and deckchairs over a space covered with sand and who sing naked while from above we, the spectators, watch them decently dressed with our shirts buttoned up.
The arias of the beachgoers are full of worry, it invades me and makes me think:
Dare we live in interesting times?
Artistic act of L.Y.R.A
July and August 2019, Gorna Lipnitsa, Bulgaria
We are organizing the tenth edition of The Old School art residency. Are we going to draw a line between living and art? Are we going to select the audience according to their clothes or lack thereof? We won’t – our viewers are valuable, their freedom too. And we want them to trust us.
Not once do I wear a shirt to events and exhibitions which are happening for over two months. I even have a following. It is possible!
A creative act of nature
November 2019, Venice, Italy
The Venice Biennale closed 10 days earlier due to the floods in the city. Venice is experiencing its biggest flood for the last 50 years.
From the pictures published online and the reports on TV we can see naked men and women smiling at us in swimsuits. It is possible!
Change in action. End.
On May 23rd, after the first concert of the Bg punk band Revue in Pavlikeni, we woke up to the news that Italy had won Eurovision ’21. The winning band is Maneskin, the song is “Zitti e buoni” /Shut up and Be Quiet/. Lead singer Damiano David celebrates the rebellion of the distinctness, strutting brazenly half-naked on the stage of Eurovision in Rotterdam and Europe seems to rather like it.
“Zitti e buoni” is the declaration of those who want to move forward, following the cult
of their own uniqueness.
With this, we put a logical end to the story of the naked man, the meaningless rules and the freedom to be ourselves. Oh, what interesting times we live in…
P.S. From art we make magic. We believe that life is a miracle.