Rodopska Beyonce (Autoethnography II)

by: Gery Georgieva

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(4’, 2013, Bulgaria/UK)

In her 2008 anthem Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), Beyoncé talks back to a former lover who failed to commit at the right time. But beyond the tune’s catchiness, it’s the straightforward, ingenious choreography which made Beyoncé’s least expensive video go viral. In 2015, Gery Georgieva’s work Rodopska Beyonce (Autoethnography II) (2013) also went viral. The artist appropriated Beyoncé’s choreography but gave it a Balkan twist: Instead of a studio location, she chose the mountains of Bulgaria in winter, and instead of a leotard, a local folk dress. The video is missing the audio but it is possible to easily spot Beyoncé’s signature moves. Georgieva’s strategy of displacement gives this choreography an unexpected political connotation. Her work revolves around the notion of user generated content, taking back and owning the means of expression. Georgieva believes that “local cultures do not need to be discovered and that they can take charge and generate their own image” (see Gery Georgieva in the Calvert Journal, 2016). Georgieva’s work asks the question: What is global and what is local? By appropriating the diva’s choreography, Georgieva complicates the relationship between the mainstream and the exotic, the global and local, the colonizing and the colonized.

Gery Georgieva graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2016. Her work encompasses performance, multimedia installations and musical collaborations (under the name Vera Modena), examining how cultural identity is configured. Using the immediacy of her own body as material in her performances and videos, her work is rooted in pop music, showbiz and traditional folk heritage. Georgieva repeatedly stages herself as a culturally migrational diva, often filtered through multifarious layers of digital appropriation. Recent screenings and exhibitions took place at ANDOR, London (2016), Res. Deptford, London (2015), Frieze Art Fair, London (2015), MOCA Cleveland (2015), WARM, São Paulo (2015), Islington Mill, Salford (2014) and Modern Art Oxford & Spike Island, Bristol (2013). She performed at Bold Tendencies and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), both London (2012).