Tomb of the Unknown Warrior / Nikon F2A, Nikkor AI-S 105mm f2.5, Kodak Ultramax 400
Lion Bridge / Minolta XD, Rokkor 50mm f1.7, Kodak Ektar
Stambolov Monument / Nikon F2A, Nikkor AI-S 24mm f2.8, Kodak Ultramax 400
Ivan Vazov National Theatre / Minolta XD, Rokkor 24mm f2.8 MD, Ilford Delta 400
Tomb of the Unknown Warrior / Minolta XD, Rokkor 24mm f2.8 MD, Ilford Delta 400
Czar Samuel was ruler of the First Bulgarian Empire at the end of the 10th and into the early 11th centuries. He spent most of his life expanding Bulgarian territory and fighting the Byzantine Empire but after his death the Byzantines triumphed and the Bulgarian Empire collapsed.
This sculpture, unveiled in 2015 on the 1,000 anniversary of Samuel’s death (he died in 1014, but close enough), generated controversy at the time partly because of the style, partly because of the location but mostly because of the glow in the dark eyes. The sculptor, Alexander Haitov, said that he glowing eyes ‘radiate internal heat’ but most people thought they were a bit silly. So when the LEDs behind his eyeballs died in 2018 they were not replaced.
Mention Christo, or Hristo, here in Bulgaria and its more likely your hearer will think of footballer Hristo Stoichkov than artist Christo Yavashev who died recently. Christo managed to escape communist Bulgaria in 1956 so perhaps it’s not that surprising.
I saw some of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s smaller wrapped objects in museums but had never seen one of their large installations until a couple of years ago in London when Christo created the London Mastaba in the Serpentine in Hyde Park to coincide with an exhibition in the Serpentine Gallery.
The London Mastaba was a temporary monumental sculpture made in the shape of a mastaba – an ancient Egyptian style of tomb – from more that 7,500 55-gallon painted barrels. The response was mixed with the Guardian’s reviewer describing it as ‘a gigantic bath toy afloat on tepid waters’, while the Telegraph’s critic described it as a ‘jaw-dropping wonder’. I loved it. I only had a mobile phone with me on that trip but here are a few pictures I took at the time. Thank you Christo.