In 2014, I made a work (oil and egg tempera on 2 x 2 m board) that just didn’t, well, work. I decided to scrape off the material and put it into a jar. The result: Hypothesis I (Painting In A Jar). It is what the label says – a painting in a jar. It is in stasis, a hypothesis, for anyone to take out and reassemble, possibly improve it – or leave it forever in its current state. It is materialised potential. A shorthand version of its former self, emptied of its vectors.
I had had it in storage for a while, but it shifted towards active memory again a few months ago when I was reading about Determinism and the Many-Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. My understanding was limited, but the degree to which the Many-Worlds interpretation seemed to facilitate a more robust degree of determinism (at least in my visual intuition) gelled with me. If provided with all the vectors of the work (now in a jar), someone could re-create the original (although the process would be more intriguing than the result). Perfect information would be the key to unlocking the current stasis.
The road to the Tsarino Foundation should shine like gold. That is what Victoria Marchenkova, known for her hybrid paintings, installations, and abstract sculptures made of glass, light and metal, demonstrates with this site-specific installation. The cubed golden texture is designed to attract curious travellers and to be a solution for orientation on the road. As every new path taken in art is an exciting turn, we need bright signs on our way to be sure that we are going right.
As an artist, Victoria Marchenkova is deeply involved in the theme of gold. Several of her artworks starting from 2015 more or less directly appeal to this. She defines her interest: “My artistic theme is being on ruins of glamour and a contemporary definition of iconic — I work a lot with shine and illumination.”
Marchenkova’s shining structure corresponds to the natural landscape surrounding the foundation and looks especially well on sunny days. A good sign, for a good start!
What is silence? Is it the sound of not-happening, a stop in air movement? When does it take place? The personification of non-existence is an attempt to widen people's perspective on how to approach others, the different and intangible. Sealed from the outside world, the multilayered box acts as a sanctuary. It does not allow one to either intrude or interfere. The empty vacuum constructed inside the sanctuary creates the possibility for silence to occur and appear. The sanctuary distances the phenomenon of silence from us, the listeners.
Eavesdropped silence does not exist. The nature of listening is an act that generates noise when the listener absorbs sound. Hence, silence cannot be where others are. Silence is emptiness, or: non-existence.
Asa Palenga is a conceptual artist with a background in philosophy, interested in new aesthetics and new ethics. In his investigations, he often aims at the artist and participant duo. He is intrigued by a wider understanding of who can be an art audience or creator.
With support of Instytut Adama Mickiewicza
The reddish, float-like construction Days After Sight presented in the glass cube of the Razklon Gallery goes beyond our natural comprehension when it comes to solid surfaces. The dichroic glass of the discs connected to a wooden construction has a special micro-coating, allowing colours and transparency to shift depending on light conditions and point of view. Passing by, Days After Sight may seem a Fata Morgana in how it destabilises what we expect, what we can hold on to and what we see at that moment.
Navigation and the search for balance continuously shift my art practice. The dichroic glass discs mirror this perfectly, sandblasted with a drawing suggesting a change of view. Depicting an abstracted window, it references the connection of the inside/intimate and the outside/public. Doubled and reversed, the dichroic glass disc windows have become constantly changing rotors shifting the perspective: antithesis becomes thesis, inside becomes outside, personal becomes universal.
I wrote a Dutch haiku in January 2020 and translated it into Japanese. A haiku is a short Japanese verse consisting of three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. I calligraphed the Japanese text with ink and brush; it reads from the top right to the bottom left. Because the seasons are traditionally the subject of haiku, the images evoked are often universal. I feel this haiku, written on a Dutch winter's day, fits in particularly well with the winter landscape around Tsarino. Despite bare branches and puddles of rain — in the Netherlands, Bulgaria or Japan — the blue winter sky holds the promise of a new spring.
みずたまりに mizutamari ni
くろい枝の反射や kuroi eda no hansya ya
След проливен дъжд,
клони се отразяват
във ясно небе.
After the rainstorm,
black branches reflect themselves
in a clear blue sky.
Fungi, lichens, acrylic, pastel and charcoal on wood-inhabiting
The installation Sanctuary by Kristina Zimbakova (Macedonia) comprises four symbolic and figurative mixed media paintings on paper from wood-inhabiting fungi handmade by the artist. The works on display Crucified Cliff, Yoked Tree, Sanctuary and Night has Donned Her Mantle of Black were created in 2019 and 2020. Fungi and lichens are the major media, applied for drawing figures or creating a mosaic, besides acrylic, pastel and charcoal. The fungi, some of them rare or endemic, have been obtained during personal forays in the Macedonian mountains, in collaboration with bio-scientists. Zimbakova’s art practice is transdisciplinary, blending visual art with natural science and poetry. Her opus is primarily lyrical but via prudent use of fungi specimens in an art context, she also aspires to raise awareness for the conservation of these fascinating but often overlooked organisms.
In Buddhism, the Sanskrit word ‘ksana’ represents a tiny unit of time eluding our conscious awareness while within it, a lot happens. In each ksana of approximately 0.013 seconds, the ‘born, live, die’ cycle loops in human consciousness.
Setsuna 刹那 (Japanese for ‘ksana’) is an installation transforming individual drawings into a three-dimensional object. The drawings made on translucent paper show straight lines representing a time axis. Crumpled into a ball and folded open again, the paper shows a physical memory of the crumpling. Straight lines are reborn from curves.
The process of crumpling and straightening the paper is repeated until the showcase is completely filled up, allowing for the visual interweaving of individual drawings. The interlacing of lines represents the complex events in life happening during each setsuna. The clear glass of the showcase symbolises the perceptive human mind containing the accumulation of time, experience, knowledge, history and emotions.
The command 'Stop, Drop, Roll' is a device of fire safety to self-extinguish when the body is in flames. It connotes a necessary and urgent change of course through a series of abrupt actions.
Influenced by such safety devices, this work seeks to address the human experience when altered by the hands of others, and aims to question the social safety mechanisms we use to ensure our personal welfare. Often learned in childhood, we memorize a set of cultural and shared cues that promise success. Yet, despite the daily, at times devotional, practice of them, they fail us.
The first diptych of the vitrine depicts a hand reaching for a flame followed by trails of smoke in the adjoining image, suggesting a sudden transition by an unidentifiable other. The interior view of the vitrine shows a figure on its side with contorted arms and feet barely grounded, signifying a state of uncertainty.
I bought the trophy in 2012 from a trophy shop in the neighbourhood where I live in Sofia, and asked a friend to make the sign on it. Since then it has stayed in my studio. It is dedicated to all who like to see and put art into national categories and contexts, and all the competitions and competitors in and out of art.