Currently on view at Los Angeles’s Morán Morán, London-based, Bulgarian designer Kiko Kostadinov presents a series of works unified under the title OTTO 95.8. Kostadinov’s practice, inspired by everyday uniforms and utilitarian work wear, includes objects that he creates to run parallel to his design work. Incorporating readymade and functional items, the compound constructions in this exhibition illustrate Kostadinov’s attraction to alien rather than familiar elements, a recurring theme informing every aspect of his practice.
Embracing the implications of capital and labor in his works, and turning them outwards to imply a constantly shifting relation between garment and wearer, Kostadinov’s work in this show seems to explore both the item of clothing and the systems both creating and suspending them. His work twists cultural identities and personal iconographies through a hall of mirrors, strings of garments and hanger arrangements, inversions of familiar forms with bright colors, and other iconographies mingle on the surface of the works. One set of pieces reference the Bulgarian Bag, a weight-training system that looks back towards the artist’s native Bulgaria and its love of wrestling.
By contrast, an installation in the front gallery space is comprised of Japanese chalk-line devices and mugs from Travis Perkins and Jewson, both British home-improvement superstores. Typically used by laborers to drink their “builder’s tea,” represent the working class ideal of community, yet are placed in a unique relation where space and custom, power and culture mingle together in various expressions of modern capitalism and functionality. The works can pull in references to mass market superstores or moments of private commune simultaneously, united by the exchangeability of brand images and their immediate purchase with viewers.
His grouping of five, underground devices, converted into free-standing, extraterrestrial looking stands for his Burr Snap Coats, which are assembled from composite fabric elements, some sourced from Travis Perkins and Jewson sponsored rugby jerseys – illustrate the relationship between his clothing designs and his objects, as well as his fixed consideration toward both endeavors. In a further exploration of material, a pair of wall pieces that conjure the nostalgia of beaded curtains from the 1960s, Kostadinov intricately assembled and weaved together items that are general yet specialized, such as fishing weights and soundproof material, into elegant, variegated wall screens.
Exploring these intersections, Kostadinov presents a world where history and labor are closely intertwined, lingering on ideas of presentation and representation as increasingly layered, nuanced and expressive.
— D. Creahan
Kiko Kostadinov: “OTTO 95.8″ [Exhibition Page]