Love and Intimacy: A Reverence
14.10 - 01.11.2023
The latest exhibition by Bulgarian artist Elenka Nazarova plays with the idea that intimacy, the quest for authentic intimate relationships is one of our core human qualities. Intrinsic to all people and central to most, the presence of a loving connection, or the possibility for one, or the complete lack of such, is often the very thing that animates both our private and our public lives.
With artworks that explore intimate relationships as something common and relatable and love as a topic that can easily activate anyone’s memory and feelings about their own experiences, in times of severe individualism the artist seeks to pose an age-old question and suggest:
“If we are naturally inclined to seek to connect with each other, to explore and understand each other the way we strive to explore and understand the world, to love each other like we aspire to love each other, then, could love not save the world?…”
But we don’t love each other like we aspire to. Not really. Globally more and more people are struggling to create and maintain authentic relationships and there is a direct link between the issues lovers face and the individualistic values at the structure of today’s world. Seemingly living by those values which put personal growth and achievements above all else fractures our very ability to connect with one another and achieve true intimacy. And when intimacy is fractured people suffer, it is like a wound. But what do we do with wounds? As with everything that makes one vulnerable, society teaches to conceal them so we sweep them under the rug. We create this whole kind of discomfort and controversy around them so they quite quickly become something like a cultural taboo. And although progressive culture is more and more concerned and critical on topics and aspects of personal identity, conversations about our (dis)connection with one another have a reserved seat only behind the closed doors of the therapist’s cabinet. What’s interesting about this though, is that when we take any number of problematic intimate relationships, we quickly understand that the commonest cause for their distress and eventual separation is rooted in fear, and resulting from that fear – a desire to control, usually detrimental.
Now evidently this isn’t very different than what lies behind a lot of the issues in our public life in societies all around. Maybe our public life really is a reflection of our private existence? If we can all recognize ourselves in simple narratives of affection, love, fear, and desire to control, maybe we aren’t that different after all. And maybe, sharing might just be okay…
Elena Vasileva Nazarova (1998) is a Bulgarian-born visual artist whose work combines different visual mediums in an aim to explore and highlight the underlying humanity in different contemporary societal contexts. Since 2016 after graduating Graphic Design in the “St. Luke National School of Applied Arts” in Sofia, Bulgaria, Elenka has been working as a freelance creative;