FOR A COUPLE OF SALAMI MERMAIDS

FOR A COUPLE OF SALAMI MERMAIDS

Sun, 12/23/2018 - 11:24

A scandal in GERB's Bulgaria usually lasts for a couple of days as it is superseded by the next scandal to keep the public busy and thinking about things other than the politics and the problems of the day. One scandal in November, however, lasted well over a week.

scandal Oda Jaune.jpg

Interestingly, it did not involve some high-profile entrepreneur who was arrested over allegations that will probably not hold water in court or some fragile woman who gets chained by the Bulgarian police. It involved… modern art.

Or, rather, the cocktail party that followed a modern art exhibition.

The generator of this was Oda Jaune, whose real name is Mihaela Danovska, a Bulgarian artist born in 1979. In 1998-2003 she studied in Dusseldorf under Jorg Immendorff, the German painter, sculptor, educator and member of the art movement Neue Wilde. Danovska married Immendorff and went on to a brilliant art career. She won the Pierre Cardin Best Painter Prize in 2012 and has had numerous exhibitions in Germany, Italy, France and elsewhere.

Following her exhibition at the National Gallery in Sofia, the organisers set up a cocktail party where the food, mainly salami and cheese, was arranged as a… reclining mermaid. The local art crowd was in attendance, but no press was invited. Snapshots of the "salami mermaid" leaked out, and all hell broke loose.

Known and unknown hacks put pen to paper to produce hundreds of vitriolic commentaries on how could those privileged enough to be invited to a party like that eat and drink while mothers of disabled children protested outside for better conditions. How could the National Art Gallery provide its rooms to a debauchery? Was this not a major provocation against Bulgaria's national decorum and even security? How, why, who paid for it, who was responsible, who is to be crucified etc etc – enhanced by the social media networks, the newspaper commentaries snowballed and threatened to become a full-scale street protest, probably the first one in Bulgaria on an arts issue.

Still, this was not the first time when food created a scandal in latterday Bulgaria. In the late 2000s then President Georgi Parvanov, who is not a modern artist, treated his guests on 3 March, Bulgaria's National Day, to a cake decorated with sugarcoated figurines of… Bulgarian resistance soldiers fighting the Ottomans, in 1877-1878. There was some limited criticism at the time, but nothing compared to Oda Jaune. 

Issue 147-148

Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

0 comments

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

three generations monument
'DEFILING' ABANDONED PILE OF STONES
Perushtitsa, now a small and offbeat town rarely visited by tourists, is known to every Bulgarian as the sight of a massacre in the failed April 1876 Uprising against the Ottomans.

gabrovo carnival
KOSTYA KOPEYKIN'S FOUNDATION KICKS OFF
Though Dead Souls used to be on the national school curriculum, few latterday Bulgarians, and possibly even fewer English speakers, have actually read it, so here is a short synopsis.

buzludzha night.jpg
BUZLUDZHA LIGHTS UP AGAIN
The Flying Saucer, which in recent years has become one of the Top 10 world monuments for urbex, or dark tourism, was constructed in the early 1980s. It was designed to celebrate the Bulgarian Communist Party, in control of this country from 1944 to 1989.

lz airplane
FLYING LOW
In early June a small plane flew into Bulgarian airspace from the northwest and landed at what used to be a commercial airport near Vidin. Apparently, the aircraft refuelled.

airport bulgaria
IS THERE A PILOT IN THE PLANE?
In early June a small plane flew into Bulgarian airspace from the northwest and landed at what used to be a commercial airport near Vidin. Apparently, the aircraft refuelled.

bulgarian parliament doors
IRON BARS, NO IRON BARS
Lovers of freedom were quick to cry fowl. Is this what the supposedly liberal, pro-Western Changes Continued government is doing? Protecting itself from the love of the general public with iron bars?

russian embassy bulgaria
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
A recent example is the Sofia City Council's decision to rename one of the streets around where the Russian Embassy is situated to The Heroes of Ukraine, and a nearby small square to Boris Nemtsov.

Boyko Borisov under arrest
WE CATCH THEM, THEY LET THEM GO FREE
As soon as the news of the Thursday evening arrests broke out a significant chunk of the Bulgarian population went into a frenzied jubilation comparable, according to one observer, to that goal at the 1994 World Championship Bulgaria scored against Germany.

joke of the month
OLD IS NEW, AND VICE VERSA
The leaders of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, or BSP, Kornelia Ninova; of Yes Bulgaria, Hristo Ivanov; and of Democratic Bulgaria, or DB, Gen Atanas Atanasov resigned.

joke of the month.jpg
HYPOCRISY AD INFINITUM
The video, shot in the National Assembly, shows an young MP for the ruling Changes Continued political party who takes up the rostrum to make a statement to the house and then... forgets what he was about to do.

elections november 2021.jpg
BALLOT EATING AS LAST RESORT
Ahead of the 14 November general election some parties – notably the DB, or Democratic Bulgaria, and the ITN, or There Is Such a People party – insisted on taking away the good old-fashioned paper election ballots that you had to use a pen to put a cross ag

OF PIGEONS AND VACCINATIONS
In the neighbourhood, I asked a retired woman, who habitually makes a public nuisance by throwing bread crumbs out of her fourth-floor balcony to feed Sofia's uncontrolled population of pigeons, to stop doing that because a uncontrolled population of pigeon