Nedko Solakov’s installation A BG Bar is a very special bar whose form and physical contours echo those of the Bulgarian state. Metaphorically speaking, it is intended to represent the dominant historical metaphor and cliché of Bulgaria as a crossroad: at “the very edge of Europe”, a place through which peoples and nations have passed at will. The cultural traces left by Thracians, Goths, Byzantines, Ottoman Turks, Russians—to name a few—have been assimilated into the hybrid national culture of Bulgaria. This sense of fluidity and movement is symbolized by the manner in which A BG Bar functions, with customers arriving, taking bottles out of the fridge or having a drink at the bar, and then leaving. Ostensibly, alcoholic drinks and smoking are not permitted. However, in an ironic comment on the arbitrary implementation of such regulations and the lack of importance they carry, both are allowed upon discreet request.
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