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A Taboo is that thing, phenomenon, event or happening that is unutterable and forbidden in a given community. Exploring the concept of taboo has been made possible by its inherent ambivalence. How serious are the artists about – or to what extent do they choose to ignore – topics that are considered taboo in a given society? Is it really difficult to know where the line is? Should we be expecting indifference, understanding or a scandal? 

The Bulgarian-Hungarian-Macedonian-German contemporary group exhibition presents current interpretations of the concept of taboo as jointly selected by three curators: Ksenija Cockova (MK), Vera Lájer (HU), and Varbanova Yanna (BU). The works featured at the exhibition capture four layers of interpretation to the concept:

Our concept of taboo comes from the Polynesian ta-pu – originally brought to Europe in the 18th century by the explorer Captain James Cook – and is, in its widest, present-day interpretation, applicable or projectable to any phenomenon that is forbidden, deeply concealed and difficult to expose. Concepts which have become – or which are – regarded as taboo are, as a result of the prohibitive element, characteristically difficult to access through official channels or through the (publicly used) spoken or written word. 

The visual representation of taboos has been present in art since the beginning. We explore the spiritual thinking and rituals of indigenous peoples, as well as those phenomena related to human curiosity which are prohibited in – or by – the Bible. 

Jürgen Graupmann, in his volume entitled Das Lexikon der Tabus/The Encyclopedia of Taboos, summarises under 72 titles all prohibitions based on the moral teachings of the Bible. While Sigmund Freud, in his work Totem und Tabu/Totem and Taboo, digs all the way to tribal roots and defines taboo as a fundament of mass psychology, Hanno Reuterberg explores the existence of sensual boundaries in contemporary art: Und das ist Kunst? So This Is Art?

The word Script in the title of the exhibition signifies the necessity and importance of scriptorium – writing and describing. It is for this reason that, in many cases, the artists’ own interpretations are featured next to their works. TabooScript as a compound word refers to the possible explorative description of taboos. TabooScipt also signifies the point where the Cyrillic and Latin “ways” of writing meet, and which also manifests in a unique manner in the thinking of both the Macedonian-Hungarian and the German-Hungarian artists, jointly marking the current possible boundaries of taboo.

Tekst: Vera Lájer

2 – 15 April 2010

The Fridge, Sofia,122 Ovche Pole str.