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An Exhibition by Rayna Teneva

TEN SQUARE METERS explores peoples’ interventions in the public space of Istanbul. The individuals’ interventions are seen as а reaction to the political action or inertness. They serve as a point of departure for this visual research project. 
The unregulated and often chaotic incursions by people into the urban surroundings aim, consciously or not, to fulfill a certain necessity for a living matter – pots against concrete. 
In total all the incursions might be seen as a subconscious protest and a search for some kind of fundamental human rights. 
The availability of green spaces is turning into an elitist notion in the big cities. Each individual way of dealing with the lack of green space displays different physical characteristics. Sometimes they are purely decorative. At others – they take active part in reshaping the public space by connecting, dividing or constructing new spaces. 
These chaotic and omnipresent reactions are like silent green explosions. The “reclaimed” territories are a model, or rather a sample of something that is supposed to be there but are not.
After the devastating earthquake around the city of Izmit in 1999, Turkey made the decision to change its policy regarding the green space in the cities. The decision was to increase it to up to 10m2 per person, which is the minimum, recommended the World Health Organization. That never actually happened.
There are nearly 14 million people living in Istanbul today with less than 3m2 green spaces per inhabitant. However, the construction of a third airport is going at full speed as well as a third bridge across the Bosporus. The third bridge and the linking highways are passing through the northern parts of Istanbul where they are threatening the few remaining woods around the city with still undamaged ecosystems. Back in 1995 when the project for a new bridge was proposed, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the mayor of Istanbul at the time, defined it as “the murder of Istanbul”. Years later his government started the construction of the bridge.
In the inner city the process of urbanization, while serving mainly the private politically integrated interest, is causing the gradual disappearance of green spaces and the decrease of life quality. In turn, the unregulated construction is generating the context for individual and equally unregulated manifestations of the human needs related to the aesthetics of everyday life. 

I call this – the aesthetic of the everyday lack.

It can be found in the heavily populated central parts of the city where people have developed diverse ways for compensating that lack.

*Istanbul is a candidate city for European Green Capital in 2017.

Rayna Teneva was born in 1986. She graduated in Photography at the Krastyo Sarafov National Academy of Theater and Film Arts in 2011. She works in the field of documentary and narrative photography. She has developed together with Desislava Pavlova from 2013 the platform Bureau Artrecords, which is dedicated to researching and documenting art practices in Bulgaria.
Photographs and moving images are fundamental tools for the study of objective reality, which is always in the process of physical or meaningful restructuring, disappearance. This process is related to the trace. Searching for such is the starting point in her work, where the process of documenting becomes a means of leaving new traces.

guest: Luchezar Boyadjiev

TEN SQUARE METERS is part of Plan for action # 2, project by The Fridge.
Plan for Action consists of a series of exhibitions by different authors, who explore art as a completely free and therefore responsible act. The exhibitions do not have a common title, motto, statement or slogan, as usually required by most administratively or institutionally organized art events seeking to promote the contemporary art. The exhibitions do not have a curator. Instead they include an open platform for discussion between the author and the audience. The project aims to concentrate energy and efforts on observing the artistic scene that develops itself into an independent but coherent environment.

Supported by Gaudenz B. Ruf Award in partnership with “Culture Center of Sofia University”

18 – 28 February 2016

The Fridge, 8 Madrid Blvd., Sofia