My phone rang on this particularly hot summer afternoon. It was Mono Petra – the agent-provocateur of the modern art in Bulgaria – and my best friend. "Let's go for a drink" he said. Half an hour later he made his entrance with "I have an interesting plan. I'm gonna put twelve bronze sculptures on the Moon next spring!" What a conversation starter, ha? So, let's talk artistic Lunar Invasion…

Published by Manol Petrov, 30 Sep 2019

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A lot to unpack here. First of all – are you serious about that?

Yes, I’m absolutely serious. I’m working on a completely real project to put twelve of my sculptures, made of bronze, on the Lunar surface. If everything goes as planned, this will take place in the spring of 2020.

OK. What do you think the Earth is gonna look like from the Moon?

I really don’t know, but I’m relying on the moon rover reporter to film it and report the news. The earth might very well be green and not blue, who knows? Honestly, I’m expecting anything from our fellow traveler. The last moon landing took place in 1972 and that’s all that I know for sure on the topic. It’s been almost fifty ears and since that trip and we’ve been told about Russian Lunohod’s, Chinese agricultural probes, Japanese moles, but at the end of the day we still have to thank NASA for everything they did there film-wise. No one saw any good photos or videos from the afore-mentioned missions, or at least I didn’t.

So, the “reporter” will keep us up-to-date. What about the sculptures?

They will return, hopefully well-tanned, and more beautiful and interesting after their journey.

Seems to me that Mars is much more in fashion these days. The Moon looks almost forgotten in comparison?

Look, the tech guys are the real pop icons of today. The great sea explorers were the stars five centuries ago, too. The difference is that unlike Columbus, who travelled to India and landed not exactly there, they won’t land on Jupiter by mistake. But, yes, you’re right, the Moon is not that interesting for them. This is good news for artists like me – now we can deal with it.

Do you have any government support for this project?

No, I don’t. I have the financial support of a friend of mine from France. He’s fascinated that the patina on the sculptures, the changes that will occurred on their material, would make them a one of a kind art form.

But you’ll eventually will need a rocket to fly them to the Moon, and that’s insanely expensive?

I never ever said that I’ll FLY them in a ROCKET, never. The manufacture of such ships, in my opinion, has the only purpose to broaden the military technologies of today and tomorrow, and, frankly, to even dream to compete with these kind of budgets, is a complete madness.

But they’ll have to reach the Moon, don’t they?

Yes, they do, and they will. It’s a revolutionary approach that we are taking for this trip. It’s bases on the very simple truth – the most difficult part in conveying something in space, is the direction. While the starting point is a given, the finishing point should appear. Thus – the direction is critical.

You know this sounds like a…

… A conspiracy theory, ha-ha. Yeah, nothing conspiratorial about it. Just a good-old mathematics…

Are you telling me that using this technology, you can send your sculptures anywhere?

I think this might very well be the best entertainment of the future – looking for coordinates and sending objects to other planets… Look, in all seriousness, you have to look at everything I’m doing as an Art Project and Art Project only. What’s important to me are the sculptures and their deformation, caused by the trip to the Moon. And I’ll do my best to make it an unforgettable experience. For you – as an audience and for me as an artist, as well.

Why are you bringing them back to Earth, instead of leaving them there and let them wait for the next human expedition to the Moon?

The mission is to send to the Moon twelve sculptures and a moon rover-reporter. After the reporting is done the rover will remain there with two of the sculptures. The broadcast will continue for an unknown period of time, till eventually the rover’s batteries die. And this will be the end of this project.

You say Art Project, but it sounds like an Art Trick to me, too…

You can say that too, yes…

OK, speaking of art – let’s get into the sculptures. One of them is androgynous?

Yes, it is. We have examples of androgyny here on earth, no question about it. What’s more intriguing to me are there androgynous species elsewhere in the universe? Who knows…

Let me ask you this – you have your twelve sculptures, but you have to choose only one of them to go to the Moon. Which one?

The one representing the Love, no doubt! After all, love is what makes us human. Love is the reason I want my sculptures to visit the Moon. Let me tell you something – ever since I began to work on this project, I’m in perpetual state of awe. The thought that I can present my art on other celestial body doesn’t correspond with anything I felt in my life. If I have to compare it to a feeling I know – it would definitely be love.

But right next to Love, there’s the sculpture of the Death…

Of course it is. Death exists, at least the physical death. Cause I’m pretty sure the soul is immortal and cannot be restrained neither to a body, nor to a single planet. The soul is universal entity…

The Sacrifice?

We are still doing it you know… Only now we sacrifice on the altar of the mundane on a daily basis, thus relegating this once sacred act to a very simple struggle for comfort.

The Wheel?

The Wheel is the time that repeats itself, while spinning. Nothing ever changes, except the wheel’s material – to ensure the wheel’s endurance.

The Compass?

The Compass is a tribute to a friend of mine – his name is George and he’s a real captain. He has this ability to put himself in the center of the biggest mess, and then always finds the way to navigate himself out of it.

The AI?

I’m not even sure what this is… People nowadays are trying to introduce it to us, good luck with that… I mean, with the metal, with the rock, you can recognize the material, not sure you can do that with the artificial intellect.

The Clown?

I’m an artist, can’t miss this one. It would be an assault to all of us.

Mom and Dad… Do I have to ask are these the two sculptures that will stay there?

In order to become the person, I am now, I received a lot of love from my parents. But if Dad stays on the Moon, Mom will have to stay there with him too. It will be awkward to sit with my mom (the real one, not the sculpture) and explain to her why Dad is on the Moon, and Mom is not. You know, family affairs…

The Language?

That’s Babylon, the all-seeing Babylon. This is a sculpture dedicated to all of these who are able to see, but can’t speak about what they saw – the first “five minutes” of the humankind… I have a drawing from 1992. It’s the basis of this work.

I suppose that you’ll have to deal with a great deal of skepticism throughout this project?

Shure. Ever since I announced the Moon project, the sceptics emerged. But to my surprise they were a lot less than the people who believed in me and decided to be supportive and to see this for what it really is – an art project, designed to make a spiritual difference…

This sounds really serious…

Well, there are a lot of humorous moments, some of them downright comical, but I’ll talk to you about them later, because I know that there are a lot funnier moments to come.

You said that there will be video from the Moon?

Yes, if everything goes down as planned, I hope to receive two to four hours of video material to broadcast, but again, it depends on the rover – reporter. I’m hopeful to be able to receive a livestream too.

I can see that you’ve made a lot of drawings of the Moon too…

As I told you, I’m really obsessed with everything Moon – related right now. There are a lot of drawings, yes, and there will be more of them by the time of the event. I hope to have the casts for the sculptures really soon too. Almost everything that I’m producing will be available for purchase on my website monopetra.us

Let’s get a little bit hypothetical here – what’s your take on the possibility of mankind moving to another planet?

I think it’s a complete madness. You know that to persuade a human being to relocate on another planet, you’ll have to first guarantee the access to a 24/7 cable TV to watch a non-stop stream of reality shows and, of course, an internet fast enough so you can “Keep it up with the Kardashians”, right? So, that’s not gonna happen. And, on a more serious note, I really think that the vast majority of us like it here and don’t have the slightest intention to move. Actually, let’s try this –let’s gather all the “smart guys” and let them relocate to another planet – I can assure you that the Earth will become a really safer place. I’m joking, of course (but do I) …

As we established, you’ll send twelve sculptures to the Moon. But in the process, have you thought of other sculptures based on different topics?

Yes, I did. For quite some time I considered to put The Maneater among the others, but recently decided it wasn’t gonna fit there – too outdated, not to mention, quite extreme… I decided not to put Jack Parsons there too – the reason being he got a crater on the dark side named after him.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest human invention?

Mendeleev’s Periodic Table. I have no doubt about it!

So, why don’t you put Mendeleev’s sculpture on the Moon, instead of, let’s say, Einstein?

The image of Einstein has been with me through my entire life. It has been sculptured in my head a long time ago. Plus, a friend of mine said to me that Einstein in German means Mono Petra. It took a lot of wine, jokes, and of course some ego boosting from that fact, but the deal was sealed – I’m going with Einstein. Let some other artist deal with Mendeleev…

Are you avoiding any religious connotations on purpose?

I don’t really think one can avoid religion. We were born with this soothing feeling of someone/something bigger and better above are heads who is looking after us. The best thing about religion might be that it makes us differentiate the body from the soul. Everyone feels love, everyone feels scared, a lot of us are trying to understand God, some are trying to defy him, and, believe it or not, I find this spectacular.



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