_Klek Shops_

After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the people of Bulgaria wanted, and needed, to move on from Communism as quickly as possible. Soon small entrepreneurs were born, opening up their own businesses with whatever means they could. As rents were very high, out of necessity and ingenuity, the Klek-Shops started sprouting up in the streets of the capital, Sofia. These stores were operated out of basements through a tiny window storefront at ground level. These were the original Pop-Up shops, so to say.


Klek-Shop literally means Knee-Shop, referring to the need to bend down on ones knees in order to interact with the shop attendant. The Turkish artist Ögüt equates it to “crouching and bending before capitalism.” (See his temporary street installations here)


There are modest ones, and lavish shops with an array of goods. Shutter-like display cabinets open up the goods to passers by like shop windows.

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All photos: sograph