Contemporary art gallery CU29 – Plovdiv present „This Land Is Your Land“ first solo exhibition by Kosta Tonev in his home town Plovdiv.
Inspired by the song “This Land Is Your Land”, written by Woody Guthrie in 1940, Kosta Tonev explores different political ideologies regarding property through installation, drawings and video. Today, some see the song as the alternative national anthem of the United States – a symbol of American patriotism, for others it is a Marxist critique of private property. These two ambivalent interpretations leave the question open as to whether the word ‘land’ is meant to designate ‘state’ or ‘estate’.
In the 1990s, Bulgaria, like other Eastern European countries, underwent a transition to a market economy which was set in motion by mass privatization. Thirty years since the start of the reforms, Kosta Tonev revisits the ruins attesting to that period. In his works, he parallels it with early capitalism in the West, characterized by primitive accumulation, and brings to the present places, symbolic of the privatization process. Starting from what today resembles archaeological sites, he reconstructs the terrain of past market interactions to raise the question: Whose land is this?