бонбони (“bonbon or “candy”), is a multimedia exhibition featuring the independent and collaborative works of artist and designer Dessislava Terzieva (*Paid Actor) and visual artist, Katai. The exhibition will feature video, large-scale installation, and wearable sculpture through the release of *Paid Actor’s new collection, Champagne and Tears; a sustainable line composed wholly of salvaged materials.

This ongoing project uses fashion as wearable sculpture and a medium to explore themes such as identity, the immigrant experience and the human condition. “*Paid Actor is inspired by role play…,” explains Dessislava. “[It’s inspired by] the fine print at the end of an infomercial. The things we do for love.. the things we do for money, acceptance, ‘success’… the many faces we wear. At times, we must unmask ourselves to be true… other times, the mask is our gateway to freedom.”

In the collaborative film created with Katai, *Paid Actor transforms an otherwise decaying setting of crumbling concrete into a surreal scene.

“It is an invitation to embrace absurdity. To go crazy from time to time in order to shed some layer, loosen up and free yourself from your own personal restraints and ideas of who and what you need to be.”

Dessislava exemplifies this absurdity through *Paid Actor’s vocal expression as she rolls around the former industrial lot in a wheelchair and a costume that references a multitude of worldwide cultures from East to West. She includes “absurd” written in Cyrillic alphabet (native script of her birthplace) on shirts in the *Paid Actor collection like a brand would its own slogan.

The imagery in the photos are from her trips home to Bulgaria. “I am a woman of two worlds. I endlessly explore how much of me is true to the core, what parts of me are the same anywhere I go, and how much of me has been shaped by my history, my environment, and  -ultimately- my move to America.” It’s this Nature vs Nurture contemplation that exists in almost all of her work.


Candy is the introduction to a collaborative film project and traveling exhibition between Dessislava and Katai. The artists are scheduled to create and screen a total of 7 short films, both locally and internationally, this year. Each film is accompanied by one color-coded bound volume of a book series and limited edition prints.

Katai (b. 1992, USA) specializes in digital video, photography, and installation. He is best known for his experimental film work, which infuses sacred and contemporary technique.

Dessislava Terzieva (b. 1989, BULGARIA) is a multidisciplinary artist whose creative process is rooted in recreation – the taking of already existing materials and reworking them – giving them new life, purpose, and occasionally, function.

бонбони Premiere

Saturday, February 24, 2018
6-10 pm
Electric Studio
51 Harper
Detroit, MI 48202