In K. the artist’s body serves as a departure point for a series of playful interventions directed at the institutional gaze. Formed within 19th-century criminology, the concept of the individual is a product of the system, which today organizes individual existence. The resulting documents present a reductive take on the subject, and despite their seeming exactitude, accommodate a multitude of loopholes and areas of fuzziness. With this in mind, the artist appropriates the techniques of intelligibility and their attributes of identity as instruments of artistic production. The project’s title bears reference to Franz Kafka’s character Josef K. whose opposition to the Law makes him an unwitting participant in his disciplinary subjection.




Costa


2007–2008, installation: video*, 7 min;
photograph, 28x21 cm;
wall drawing: acrylic on latex paint, 105x270 cm.




Kosta does not only exist as a given name; spelled with a C it could often be found as a name of various brands typically related to the tourist industry. Both varieties however do not share the same origin and significance— one of them represents a nickname descending from the name Constantine, while the other one refers to the Spanish or Italian words for «coast.» The work documents the process of modifying the Roman spelling of the artist’s name (transliterated from the Cyrillic «Коста») into «Costa.»



Costa (installation view at Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna)






Headshot


2012, 3 photographs, each:
150x100 cm; 5x5 cm; 30x24 cm.




This piece was initially developed for an exhibition in the United States. To be present at the opening the artist was required to obtain a US visa. The project relates to this process. The artist was photographed standing in front of a white photo background and holding a mirror in his hand. The photograph was subsequently cropped, and reduced to the surface of the mirror. In this form it was reproduced in his visa.

Headshot (installation view at Pistolet Gallery, Sofia)





Midpoint


2013–2015,
2 photographs, each 17x26 cm;
height chart (print on paper), 110x250 cm;
sculpture (silicone, textile, glass, human hair), 175x48x26 cm.




The starting point for this work is an official ID card, which falsely states that the artist is 175 cm tall, i.e. the Bulgarian males’ average height. On the basis of this data he produced a realistic sculptural depiction that possesses the respective biometric features. As a result, the sculpture looks like him in every aspect, with the exception of height, which corresponds to the data featured in the ID document.
Midpoint (installation view at Pistolet Gallery, Sofia)


Midpoint (detail view)
Midpoint (detail view)
Midpoint (detail view)

© Kosta Tonev 2021, Imprint