“Intimacy and Spectacle in the Age of Social Media”

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Named for the capital city of Sofia, Bulgaria’s first sports car was designed by engineer Velizar Andreev in the 1980s. One of its rare prototypes now reappears in the heart of the city as The Sofia Car, 2021, Lazar Lyutakov’s contribution to Sofia Art Project’s inaugural installation, “Intimacy and Spectacle in the Age of Social Media.” The underpass where it currently resides connects Sofia’s Largo—the city’s prime political hub—to the Serdica metro station. The pedestrian walkway doubles as a preserved Roman-era archaeological site, ruins having been uncovered during the subway’s construction.

Curated by Dessislava Dimova, Vera Mlechevska, and Vessela Nozharova, and including works by artists Pauline Boudry, Renate Lorenz, Tracey Snelling, Anetta Mona Chisa, and Lucia Tkacova, “Intimacy and Spectacle” intersperses art among the artifacts. The Sofia Car is centrally placed in the underpass’s cavernous atrium as if in a showroom; it is the same sandy color as the Roman walls behind it, futuristic yet every bit as much an artifact. Behind the car, Sasho Stotisov’s Baths of Philosophy, 2021, adds shallow foam-board pools to the fragments of columns and statues, bringing a jolt of lightness and chlorinated blue to the stony neutral palette while raising questions of permanence and weight.

Stela Vasileva’s Shifting Colors, 2021, coats selected squares of the underpass’s glass ceiling in shades of teal, orange, and pink, so that those looking up will see three government buildings of the Largo complex bathed in bold hues. The exhibition makes use of other windows, installing pieces in tourist-information vitrines, the storefronts of underpass shops, and even the screens of smartphones, on which visitors can watch a dedicated streaming program. Taken together, the works on display gauge the fluctuating distance between art and public life.

Ashira Morris

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