“Ithaca” is my first solo exhibition in Mallorca and intimate undertaking developed during my residency in Esblank. Much like my prior artistic pursuits, it delves into a mythological narrative, specifically exploring “The Odyssey” and the profound yearning to return to Ithaca—an allegory for the innermost core of human existence.

film and photography by Elia Nedkov

This project is deeply personal, recounting my own ‘Odyssey’ from the moment of arrival and life on the island- the challenge of articulating myself without my familiar medium—the poetry of my native Bulgarian language— drove me to explore new languages and forms of expression, navigating through painting, sculpture, film, and performance.

In this project, I delve into the timeless and deeply-rooted myth of Eternal return, reinterpreting the epic tale “The Odyssey” by Homer (8th century BC) through the lens of a female perspective. This theme holds great significance not only for Mediterranean cultures but for human culture as a whole and it was inspiration for art and literature. Throughout history, diverse artists have approached the myth from various angles, with its essence reverberating across philosophical treatises, anthropological studies, novels, and poems.
Central to the Odyssey’s narrative is the motif profound longing for home, for returning home. Interpreting the myth metaphorically, Ulysses could symbolise the journey back to one’s authentic self, catalysed by the transformative force of travel or “returning to oneself as an other.” What captivates my curiosity is the intricate interplay between the eternal return’s concept and the notion of self when viewed through the prism of the feminine experience. In the ancient rendition of the myth, Ulysses stands as a mythic hero who navigates an array of trials during his journey, driven by an unwavering desire to reunite with his beloved Penelope. This desire’s potency outshines even the allure of immortality promised by the most beautiful goddess. Yet, how does the Odyssey of a female protagonist diverge? Where might our Ithaca be found? The eternal cycle of recurrence, the boundless loop, reverberates within our corporeal being through the rhythm of the female cycle. As nature incessantly wanes and renews itself, should we endeavour to rupture this eternal circle? Could this be, as Nietzsche mused, the heaviest of burdens, or rather the sacred mechanics of the cosmos? I have long construed longing as a weighty burden, a form of torment. Yet, perhaps, there exists a contrary perspective. Might this longing, this ache, embody the mysterious and enduring force of love everlasting? And how you find this Ithaca.

Even as the definitions of gender remain enigmatic and subject to ongoing analysis,
I allow myself the exploration of disparities in how a man seeks his Ithaca compared to a woman. In my perspective, while the masculine Ithaca is related to physical movement through space, seeking experience through situations, and discovering oneself through contact with the other, the feminine Ithaca is much more related to the Odyssey inward. The corporeal, physical dimension has to do with feeling our own body and aligning it with the spirit. The journey is internal and Ithaca is within us.