DEAR photography



Pepa Hristova
The bartered bride 1

Pepa Hristova’s series of portraits “The Bartered Bride” takes us on a journey deep into an archaic world located squarely inside the European Union member Bulgaria. Giant picture billboards surround the trash-strewn parking lot with the idyllic glow of natural
scenes and the luster of the erstwhile socialist system’s ostentatious architecture, sealing it off from the bustle of the city. This is where the orthodox Roma, a marginalized group, are tolerated. Families come together twice a year to offer their daughters of marriageable age for sale. The prize goes to the suitor who makes the most attractive bid. The gathering concludes with a lavish celebration solemnizing the new alliances. Hristova skillfully extricates the young girls from the elaborate ritual dramaturgy of the bride market to take their photographs. She poses them in front of the bizarre trompe-l’oeil walls, where the girls present themselves with poise and confidence. In imposing large-format prints, the work presents a multifaceted series in which the photographer explores fundamental questions of convention and freedom, of individual yearnings and traditional ideas, of identity and belonging.

Title
The bartered bride 1
Place
Bulgaria
Year
2014-2015
Technique
Archival Pigment Print
Size
144 × 111 cm
Edition
2/5+2AP
Provenance
artist
Framing
wooden frame, matt white, museum glass

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