Dessislava Terzieva Aquarium Gallery

(Detroit, MI | Sofia, Bulgaria)
Dessislava Terzieva installation at the A2AC Aquarium Gallery

When You Can’t Leave the Country, Create Your Own Solar System, 2022

mixed media

This site-specific installation is made up of works conceived during the first lockdown of 2020. Finding herself confined and incapable of making her annual pilgrimage to her home country of Bulgaria, she had no choice but to discover alternative methods of transportation. Plastic washbasins, universal symbols of domestic labor that span cultures and generations have been transformed into portals. Inside, the performance of doing laundry is frozen – an encapsulation of memory and action. The resulting work takes the artist to a specific place and time. Simultaneously, its textured and reflective surface becomes an abstract landscape that transports the viewer to wherever they long to be.

About the Artist

Dessislava Terzieva is a contemporary Bulgarian-American artist whose practice encompasses photography, sculpture, installation, public intervention and engaged performance. Born at the sunset of the communist regime in Bulgaria, Terzieva’s process and material choices reflect growing up in the flux of radical change and material scarcity. Her distinct visual language and conceptual investigations result from a lifetime of oscillation between two contrasting worlds: the East of her birth and the West of her migration. Through the re-contextualization of materials embedded with symbolic and cultural connotations, she engages in an act of imaginative rediscovery that not only seeks to bridge gaps between time and space, but to establish the in-between state as a place unto itself.

Dessislava Terzieva earned a BA in Political Science from Oakland University and an MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2021. She has exhibited in the United States and internationally and has been awarded a residency at Hestia (Serbia), Bedsuy Art Residency (New York), Atelierhaus Hilmsen (Germany), and World of Co (Bulgaria). In 2021, she founded FIDANA Foundation, a non-profit organization facilitating contemporary art and interventions in public spaces using pre-existing infrastructure.

Additional work by the artist is on view in the exhibition, Sharing Space (May 20–July 8, 2022), in the A2AC Gallery, located around the corner at 115 W. Liberty.