Two forces that create one another

Sevda Semer
Curated by: Irina Batkova

26.04 -22.05.2021

Since her appearance on the Bulgarian art scene, Sevda Semer has thoroughly and consistently explored her inner world and presented it in various projects. Personal emotions, subjective perceptions of reality and the search for identity in the form of diaries, drawings and installations in which the artist’s voice is present, outline an intimate field of communication with the audience. In “Two forces that create one another”, Sevda Semer again includes a powerful video story about an important moment in her life, but the project sets goals that are much more comprehensive than declaring a hidden intimate nature. Being yourself in a world in which personal representation passes through the filter of the normative heterosexual model, in the framework of which each individual is built as a person, is a process that requires a lot of time and energy. The formal nature of this model has nothing to do with the intellect, creativity and talents through which personal human uniqueness is manifested. In „The History of Sexuality volume 2. The Use of Pleasures“, Michel Foucault explores sexuality in Greek antiquity in an attempt to answer the question of how, why, and in what forms sexual activity was constituted as a moral activity. In ancient texts, the role of the social code related to sexuality was subordinated to the achievement of the aesthetics of existence, the ultimate goal of which was the search for truth. In the recent history, one of the uses of the idea of sexual morality by the political systems and the church has been at the heart of the imposition of punitive and medical treatment on homosexuality. These practices began to be reconsidered only after 1990, when the World Health Organization officially ceased to view homosexuality as a disease or mental disorder, and this is clearly too short period to overcome social conservatism in the way social roles are functioning. The ancient idea of harmonizing each individual in the social organism in the name of a higher goal has degraded in our time to manipulative populist discourse on social values. How can the self represent itself without adjusting its essence to comfortable social clichés, because of the fear that some aspect of its intimate characteristics may cause its professionalism, education, creative energy will not to be appreciated? How does this affect communication and the ability to share the same language? In “Two forces that create one another”, Sevda Semer focuses on a culture of hypocritical, depthless acceptance of difference, in which words serve only to articulate political correctness. At the heart of the exhibition is a text from which can be read only parts of sentences that have survived under the fierce strikethrough and layering of drawings on them. This approach documents a process of a search for a language where narratives from previous projects have disintegrated into artistic gestures that create clear, strong messages.

Sevda Semer gradually unfolds her drawings on the walls of the Water Tower before the viewer sees her on a screen telling her story. Some of the objects in the exhibition are envelopes for letters, which should be documents from intimate correspondence, but their addressee has been altered so many times that in practice they are addressed to everyone. The contents of the envelopes remain hidden – the fact of their existence is more important. The letters have freed themselves from the restrictions of the sheets of paper and have flooded the interior of the water tower. White curtains do not enclose places for intimate experience, but stop the flow of accumulated words, punctuation and sentences not to fill the space. The controlled expression of meaning releases the energy of the silent. Because the silence of the unspoken is much stronger than the socially articulated “correct” speech, stiffened in its impossibility to reach the essence of the understanding of the other.



Sevda Semer