28 – 30 April 2023
untiled gallery, Berlin

Seeking Glory

Dessislava Terzieva at Untiled Gallery, April 2023

Our outer world and inner world share a space called the self whose persona and ego are employed to insulate our dark shadows and anima. It is understood that through moments of ego death, an investigation of our true selves can begin, which would ultimately be realised through integration of these various conscious and unconscious elements. The conceptual essence of an artist's practice can provoke critics to utilise theories like this in an effort to answer questions. Intentionally or unintentionally, this frames for us a phenomenon that is taking place where the artist is making the work while the work is making the artist, activated through any awareness of self-realisation that can come from the process of creating.
Autobiographical work is particularly ripe in this way. It assumes an intentional path of reflection as if the maker is an anthropologist of themselves.

The work of Dessislava Terzieva could be described as a continual expression of behaviors and characteristics inherited from previous familial generations. Her heritage is and always has been inseparable from her work as an artist, presented in reverence for the widely shared tendencies of those who have lived under communist reign. Terzieva shows us that the influence of scarcity on a lifestyle can be perpetuated even after deemed unnecessary, becoming, in a way, a fashion that represents these experiences.

Seeking Glory asks what there is to be found behind the veil that presents as a collective identity. The exhibition of sculptures standing on the ground, hanging from the ceiling and on the wall apply domestic habits that her family adopted as a creative byproduct of material insufficiency. Mops made from old clothes immortalise past lives. Reflections in mop buckets remind her of where she came from. Discarded cell phones now act as frames for conversations. Renounced wallets now act as frames for photographs.

I am using non-functioning cell phones as a canvas.
As a frame. I am using discarded wallets as frames.
Almost everything can be a frame.
Almost everything can be a canvas.

The artist embodies this history while also considering its roots in a deep hunger for things and a real fear for the future. Referencing Slavenka Drakulic's 
How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed
it is evident that the scarcity mentality is one that has been potentially permanently impressed upon by lack and
an innovativeness surrounding that. Interestingly, the tendency to hold on tight to even the most disposable
of items comes in contrast to another aspect of such a society, migration. The severing of a root in order to facilitate the liberating movement of peoples from their homeland, relinquishing ownership and surrendering to the future without control, is an act that has been familiar to Terzieva since an early age. But most
recently, she has actively embraced the lifestyle of transience. Errantry, Édouard Glissant's philosophy of
wandering with a sacred motivation suggests that to live an errant lifestyle requires “a lack of totalitarian roots” in order to make space for the “rhizomatic roots” to spread freely and constantly. Seeking Glory, the title coming from a direct translation of the artist's name, Dessislava, is a reflection and an inquiry. This perpetual search is also reflected in this show through the use of materials from her many recent hometowns including Detroit, Mexico City, Sofia, Bulgaria, and Berlin. The transformative nature of such an effort becomes so due to constant negotiation of identity in relation to where she currently is; the ultimate ego-death.

Dessislava Terzieva (*1989) lives and works between Mexico, Bulgaria and Detroit, Michigan, where she and
her family immigrated in 1997. Her work explores migration, nostalgia, be(longing), and ever-evolving
concepts of home through a utilitarian hybridisation of pre-existing objects embedded with symbolic and
cultural connotations. She received her MFA from Cranbrook Art Academy in 2021 and has been exhibited
in Manifesta 14 in Pristina, Kosovo; Swimming Pool in Sofia, Bulgaria; Citronne Gallery in Athens, Greece;
ART-O-RAMA in Marseille; France; Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio; Huron Art Space in San Francisco, California; Mönchskirche in Salzwedel, Germany; Guck
mal Günther, and Kunst in Lenzburg, Switzerland.
Seeking Glory marks Dessislava Terzieva's inaugural solo exhibition with Untitled Gallery, opening on April
28, 2023 and on view until April 30.

Dessislava Terzieva is a Bulgarian-American contemporary artist based between Detroit, Sofia and Mexico City. She earned a BA in Political Science from Oakland University and an MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2021 where she won the Museum Purchase Award and her work was accessioned into the permanent collection of Cranbrook Art Museum. Prior to attending Cranbrook, Terzieva made a name for herself as a prominent figure in the Detroit art scene; exhibiting in off-site locations, curating independent spaces, and executing interactive and immersive installations in the public sphere.  Terzieva has exhibited in the United States and internationally, including: Manifesta 14 in Pristina, Kosovo; Citronne Gallery in Athens, Greece; ART-O-RAMA in Marseille; France; KO-OP in Sofia, Bulgaria; College for Creative Studies Center Gallery in Detroit, Michigan; Sculpture Center in Cleveland, Ohio; Aether Haga in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Huron Art Space in San Francisco, California; Mönchskirche in Salzwedel, Germany; Guck mal Günther, Kunst in Lenzburg, Switzerland; International Biennale of Santorini in Santorini, Greece; Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She has been awarded a residency at Hestia (Serbia), Bedsuy Art Residency (New York), Atelierhaus Hilmsen (Germany), and World of Co (Bulgaria).