Personal Boundaries

Some of you may remember the 1976 film „The Boy in the Plastic Bubble“, inspired by a real story, or its more recent 2001 adaptation, „The Bubble Boy“, enriched with absurd and black humor. The scenario is very reminiscent with the COVID-19 pandemic that the world has faced in the last few years. Born without an immune system, the protagonist is isolated in a sterile environment. To go out and see the world he needs a special protective balloon.

Inspired by the story the visual artists Yagmur and Yulian Stankulovs came up with the idea for the project “Personal Boundaries”. Their experiment explores human perceptions and relationships with the reality. To find out more about the subjectivizing role of the artist, the authors made drawings on transparent plexiglass panels. They “copy” the images in front of them on a clear base and assume that this approach would bring an accurate depiction of reality. But even the slightest movement, their own breath, leads to the disparity of the drawn lines with the objects behind them. In second attempt the new lines displace or overlap with the first ones. According to these experiments the exact reproduction of objective reality is impossible. From the moment the artist touches the surface begin the inevitable processes of subjectivization.

 

Through the performance “Personal Boundaries” the artists want to prove the authenticity of the previous results with the use of a new base – a two-meter transparent sphere. One of them enters the sphere and draws and the other documents what is happening.

The place of the performance was chosen because of its symbolism. Many people have written about it, but the words of the famous art historian Kenneth Clark in his book “Civilization” seem fair enough to describe it: I am standing on the Pont des Arts in Paris. On one side of the Seine is the harmonious, reasonable facade of the Institute of France, built as a college in about 1670. On the other bank is the Louvre, built continuously from the Middle Ages. Across this bridge, for the last one hundred and fifty years, students from the art schools of Paris have hurried to the Louvre to study the works of art that it contains, and then back to their studios to talk and dream of doing something worthy of the great tradition.”

Something surprising happens during the performance: the differences between the inside and outside climate brings the experiment in another unexpected direction. From the moment the artist enters the sphere the process of condensation begin. As a result the solid lines of the drawing on the transparent surface gradually turn into transparent outlines on the already blurred base. Only the lines of the drawing remain the places from where the reality can be seen outside the sphere.

The documentary of the project was exhibited at the Bulgarian Cultural Center in Paris from December 27, 2021 to January 14, 2022 with the following accompanying text in French:
 
“Limites personnelles”
Institut Culturel Bulgare à Paris
27.12.2021 – 14.01.2022
 
Le projet explore les perceptions et les rapports humains à la réalité qui nous entoure.
En décembre, les deux artistes réalisent une performance à un endroit emblématique de Paris, le Pont des Arts.
Dans une grande bulle transparente de 2 mètres de hauteur, Yualian essaie de copier exactement les images de la réalité qu’il observe. Yalmur, de sont côté, documente le processus dans une vidéo.
À l’intérieur de la sphère, chaque mouvement, chaque inspiration entraînent une divergence entre les traits dessinés et les traits réels, ce qui rend impossible la représentation exacte de la réalité objective.
“Limites personnelles” est une référence à l’idée de la subjectivation humaine et l’existence inévitable dans le cadre de nos mondes intérieurs.