The Merchant of Venice

29 November 2007 text Anelia Alexandrova, photos Ilian Ruzhin
You don’t have to be a contemporary art professor to know who Ivan Mudov is. His most famous campaign was the fictitious opening of Museum of Contemporary Art at Poduene railway station. Ever since he organized quite a number of provocations – like the Elevator in Goethe Institute. Last summer he went all the way to Venice to join the Biennale. On November the 15th he opened one-man-show in Viennese Siemens ArtLab Gallery. We asked him about the exhibition and he told us about the coffee, the wine, the 1 Euro coin and his hopes about the next Biennale.

How was it in Vienna?
I came back two-three days ago, it was very pleasant trip. After Vienna me and my wife went to Venice, from there to Novi Sad and thence back to Bulgaria. It took us only eight days.

What happened at the official opening in Siemens ArtLab Gallery? Did you meet any important persons?
I already knew them. It’s a private gallery, I met the owner in Venice. I was introduced by another Bulgarian painter, who already worked with him. The owner liked very much my wine when we were in Venice and he ordered some for the openings in his gallery. I produced a special sort of wine for the Biennale – Wine for openings and almost every national pavilion opened its exhibition with my wine.

Tell us more about your newest works, which are now in Vienna.
The exhibition is called Already Made. I used the term ready made, but I transformed it a little bit. The series contains seven works. The most interesting work for me is the one-week auto portrait of coffee. For one week I drank Turkish coffee and then I photographed the lees and brought it to a fortune-teller. She told me what she sees in the pictures.

What did she tell you on the 7th day?
Generally – the same thing that she told me in the first. She never knew that all the cups were mine.

Are you planning to show this exhibition in Bulgaria?
I’ll show part of it in General Exhibition in ARC Projects Gallery sometime in December.

The public always takes an important part in your actions. Not in this case obviously…
Well, it’s an exhibition for non-commercial gallery. Now the public is silent spectator, which isn’t that bad. Actually, the guests in Vienna took part in the exhibition.

What are you doing now – is there some new projects here or you’re just visiting Bulgaria?
I’ll stay longer, but there’s nothing in particular at that point. I recently made a performance in Novi Sad. It was called The Romanian Trick. It’s a sort of a trick with 1 Euro coin, which I’m separating in two parts.

Is there going to be a Museum of Contemporary Art anyway?
It’s possible. Since there is a sponsor now, I think pretty soon we may have our own Museum of Contemporary Art.


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