Lyuben Kostov

I didn’t have the chance to meet with Lyuben when I was in Sofia, but I would like to mention two significant works of his here.

In 1989, Kostov set up a row of dominos in front of the National Archeological Museum in Sofia, one of the busiest squares in the center of the city. The piece was called Downfall of Article I, and was created at the time when the country was debating the dissolution of that article, which made the Bulgarian Communist Party the sole authority in government. The metaphor was clear: as the artist knocked over one domino, the rest fell in succession, suggesting that dissolving Article I would lead to other significant changes. The piece was not only prophetic, but was also one of the first examples of public action or performance art in Sofia.

Kostov primarily works with objects, and has created a number of interesting wooden interactive contraptions, for example, his Painting Machine, which eliminated the need for the artist by creating a painting itself. In 1993, he even created the Wooden Machine for Family Satisfaction, which was a comical attempt to solve the problem of Bulgaria’s low birthrate at the time.