Selected from the “Herbarium” collection of curator Irina Batkova is visiting the City Art Gallery of Varna as part of the Forum for Contemporary Visual Art “Buna”. 40 boxes are presented, in which artists from Bulgaria, Italy, France, Japan, China, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey display their works created especially for the project. They are accompanied by a description and a QR code through which additional information about the content and authors can be seen and heard.
In the gallery you can also see films from the series “H Talks”, made together with the director Milena Kaneva. In them, artists talk about their creative process and ideas. Also included is part of the ‘H Talks’ series of video portraits of artists filmed in Rotterdam and The Hague from the last edition of the Herbarium, carried out in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Cultural Institute of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the official premiere, four new films shot in Italy in the studios of Massimo Pullini, Moira Ricci, Franco Pozzi and Kirill Cholakov were presented.
This is practically one big archive and it works in different directions, Irina Batkova said at the opening of the exhibition and added that through it you can get a broad idea of different generations of artists from different countries and how they make art at the same time . The method of completing the collection includes providing two boxes of different sizes to the authors, in which they have complete freedom to put whatever they want, Batkova specified. According to her, most present part of their work or concentrate some creative energy and show the direction in which they make sense of the world.
We tried in Varna to show the development of the project, initiated by the artists themselves, who managed to make a very curious reading of modernity through history, she added. Monika Popova and Stanislav Pamukchiev have prepared their boxes for the collection especially for the presentation in Varna, the curator also announced. She congratulated the organizer of the “Buna” Forum, Ralitsa Gerasimova, for what she is doing, because, according to her, it changes the spirit of the city and opens new spaces.
“Herbarium” is a research project, said director Milena Kaneva and recalled that the first exhibition was in Sofia with 55 authors. According to her, the genius of Irina Batkova’s idea is that it gives freedom to the participants to invite other colleagues, thus there is no control over how this creative impulse spreads. She shared that she already has an idea to make a big film about the project because she is impressed that different artists from Europe are excited about related things without knowing each other. This is also felt by the general theme of dust, which is the focus of Mihail Mihailov’s work during the Bulgarian participation in the Biennale in Venice last year. A film has also been made about him, which will be shown on June 3 at “ReBonkers” in Varna, Kaneva announced.
The first exhibition “Herbarium as a place to store ideas” took place in “Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art” and was accompanied by 14 films. Two of them were also shown at the “Master of art” film festival in 2021. The constantly updated archive of the project presents the collected information and works through exhibitions, presentations, conference meetings. It is also available on a website for anyone interested in art workflows and the development of networks for the exchange of ideas and collaborations in the modern world, Batkova pointed out.
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