Sweet & Sour Hour / Mihail Novakov

Solo exhibition by Mihail Novakov

Curator: Martina Stefanova


12.09 - 02.10.2019


We live in a dynamic world in which buildings grow striving to catch up with the sky. We, on the other hand, barely manage to catch up with trends, people, places, friends, work; and as soon as we do, we suddenly have to change the direction once again. This rhythm is so fast sometimes, that the remnants of the past remain as monuments of this transition. We don't notice them, we rush forward. They are constantly changing. In their place new ones appear, but before we realise the new ones have already become old. In photography, there are terms for two specific moments of the day. Usually, they are at the time of the day when the world has not yet awoken or shortly before it succumbs to its mandatory sleep. It is a time of calmness and good light. These moments of the day are called "blue" and "golden" hours. The "blue hour" is the length of time just before the sun rises or right after it sets. The "golden hour" is the instant after sunrise and shortly before sunset, when the sun's rays are particularly close to the horizon, soaking it in red light. But what if we find peace in another time, another hour, a stolen moment from the fast-moving new order? Mihail Novakov captures this moment and calls it the “Sweet and Sour Hour”. This is the moment of the ugly sour environment of rapid change, the moment of the sweet nap, a pause in which the line between object and subject is blurred because everything is intact creating one eclectic landscape. At this frozen moment, space bends and time almost stops. There is no action, no emotion, just the melancholy of expectation. In this found environment people become objects, and objects become sculptures: a piece of art in the lens of the photographer. Like the growing trend of slow food (as opposed to fast-food), in the world created by Mihail we stop, take a deep breath, and start over, this time consuming slowly, situation after situation. These are the moments that Mihail captures when he traveled to China. We see the same stolen moments in the sour Bulgarian reality, where, as in the Asian scenes, the beauty of the absurd is no less present and the sweetness of the nap is the same. It is at this point that we can think about where we are going, what and whom we are catching up with and should we be in such a hurry? Or to bend into space and forget about everything, to steal this moment of melancholy for ourselves and capture its beauty.


Text: Martina Stefanova