Subjekt – Objekte: Fragmente (Demoband)

For AIFOS I (1979), Marran Gosov placed himself in a rectangular cube measuring 66 x 80 x 60 cm, only able to sit with his legs tucked in and curled up into a ball. He recorded his enforced stay in this cramped position with a video camera and microphone. The documentation of the performance was then presented in art galleries as follows: Through a narrow slit, barred with wired glass and inserted into a rusty metal box, viewers see only a thin slice of the monitor on which the video of the trapped Gosov is shown. The part of the monitor the gallery visitors can see through the slit shows the artist’s hands, clenched around his feet. This mode of presentation blends together the impression of a live performance and documentation, so that it seems as if the artist is actually pressed into the metal box. Gosov’s heavy breathing is to be heard over loudspeakers, so too his fingers rubbing and scratching his skin: The human in the box has difficulty keeping still and enduring the body position, which prevents the blood from circulating through the arms and legs, causing extreme pain over the four hours. The embryonic position Gosov curls up into in the work AIFOS I references a performance of searching for shelter from a hostile outside world, which again and again overlaps in the reception of the works with nightmare-like sequences of torture and imprisonment. The title stems from reversing the name of Bulgaria’s capital, SOFIA, thus referring to the specific traumatic experience of the 18-year-old Gosov imprisoned in a Bulgarian prison as well as confinement in a broader sense, for example the restrictions placed on freedom of expression and travel in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.