What works have you chosen to show in Sofia?
For this show I made a selection which I thought best corresponded with the title of the show, the works of the other artists, and the space. The selection itself is part of a larger body of recent works that I had in the studio which I am showing for the first time. ‘The Runner’ is a sculpture I first showed in the Rundgang exhibition at Städelschule in February of 2020, to which I made small changes for this show.
What was your specific response to each of the two spaces, Goethe-Institut and Swimming Pool?
Swimming Pool is a space that has many crossing visual lines. The number of doors, the windows, the view to the rooftop terrace and the whole of Sofia, the lower height, a large mirror wall, the number of corners in the room…as if you’re in a stage set. The movement through the space is sequential and one that reveals itself as you walk from door to door. I find the overall sense of domesticity in Swimming Pool to alter how the works are experienced. The exhibition is somehow lessened to a more human/personal level…the works are pushed forward, shrinking the gap between them and the viewer…which makes it an intimate space.
I am showing one sculpture at Swimming Pool which hangs behind the last corner of the room, which you only see at the end. I chose this work because of its depicted motion (or it has stopped in motion); it hangs low, is pointing forward and looks like a weird navigational device.
When I think of it now…the sculpture is pointing into the white, translucent, portal-like space that is Min’s wall piece, which is the last work you see in the show.
Can you talk some more about your use of colors, shapes, letters, space? Is each work an individual gesture or part of a more expansive and interconnected (visual) language?
Yes, they’re interconnected in the sense that the process is continuous. There aren’t preliminary sketches for any of the works. It’s a constant negotiation with the already finished and those which are in process. In the studio there are several paintings and sculptures that happen simultaneously, at any one time. The back and forth translation between the two and three dimensionality is important to my thinking process.
The diptych Untitled (half instruments, Partch in epilogue), 2021, which I am showing at Goethe-Institut, came about from another smaller diptych I had already done.
What I found interesting was the inherited speed and navigation of reading which takes place between two or more canvases when positioned right next to each other. Within this space, the positioning and scale of a colour or shape is somehow risen to a more symbolic state. An otherwise abstract in appearance composition is alleviated to a more rational and figurative set of interpretations and meanings…like a word play.
I’m very interested in the diagrammatic exchange (between the left and right) and how that can contribute to the effects of stillness and duration within a composition.
It highlights an awareness of placement, the surface of colour, a sense of scale and the build up of a space within the canvas, which I find to be very sculptural qualities.
Colours are like an extra pair of critical muscles that stretch the whole body (space, line and shape).
Colours are in constant negotiation with my intuition/feelings and preconceptions/plans. I find it interesting how each individual colour has a specific superficial quality…different weight, light, speed, value, meaning. The large brown shape in Untitled (half instruments, Partch in epilogue) appears slow and monolithic, as if suspended in the process of acquiring a definite form.
Colours, shapes, lines, symbols, space, etc, are all primary in constructing language which is something I’m very interested in. In the how rather than the what in language.
In my teenagehood I couldn’t express myself verbally very well as I didn’t speak English, and I was too young when my family moved from Bulgaria to the UK, to have had any confidence with my Bulgarian vocabulary. Within this kind of limbo, looking at paintings internalised into a more tactile and material relationship with the medium. It enabled room for meaning and identity through the creative act outside the objective or conceptual.
Painting as a way of putting together a dictionary.