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ataArt Today Association
Center for Contemporary Art - Plovdiv
The Ancient Bath

23st edition of the WEEK OF CONTEMPORARY ART 2017

07 - 27.09.2017



International Multidisciplinary Cooperation Project
Graz – Plovdiv – Slovenj Gradec – Leipzig
Artists (Plovdiv):
Azra Aksamija, Nika Autor, Lana Cmajcanin, Petya Dimitrova, Juliane Ebner, Fanni Futterknecht, Emil Mirazchiev, Alban Muja, Oliver Ressler, Skart, Kamen Stoyanov, Ute Richter, Borjana Ventzislavova, Clara Wildberger

Curators: Ilina Koralova, Boris Kostadinov


Fear is a basic, natural, defensive reaction to danger, which could reveal itself in acts of aggression, surrender, or retreat. However, in contrast to the inhabitants of Nature, fear has a much wider range of manifestations among human beings: from the mere physical annihilation of the bearer of the alleged danger to the more subtle ways of expression, such as hatred, prejudices, intolerance. Human fear could be justified, but also illusory, a symptom of a mental disorder or a result of some kind of manipulation, exerted on an individual by other individuals. It is not only psychological, but also social phenomenon, and, as such, it belongs to human history and society.
The 21st century, marked by the events of 9/11, gave worldwide rise to an ever-growing fear and anxiety, that were unknown to some extent to the western societies at the time, and that have recently taken unprecedented proportions, due to the terrorist attacks in Europe, the refugee wave and the subsequent humanitarian crisis. Various researches have shown that migration and terrorism are what the Europeans now fear most. However, fears of unemployment, of the deepening social inequality, of personal failure or financial ruin have been lurking in the old, as well as in the newly-born, capitalist societies for decades. The refugee wave only gave one last powerful impulse, which unlocked what has already been suppressed, more or less, for some time. Instability and constant threat gave impetus to the nationalist and far-right movements. The scepticism about the concept for a united Europe has intensified among the population of the EU member-states.
This is where the project Migrations Of Fear takes its starting point. It evolves around the real, phantom, individual or common fears in general, which have surfaced in the last few years. Those fears, and above all the ways the contemporary (European) society could find in order to defeat them, are the spheres, which the project intends to explore.

Migrations Of Fear is a multidisciplinary project, a cooperation between artists and art institutions in Leipzig (DE) – FUTURE OF EUROPE Society for Contemporary Art/Kunstverein Leipzig, Graz (AT) – Forum Stadtpark, Plovdiv (BG) – Art Today Association for Contemporary Art, and Slovenj Gradec (SI) – Koro?ka galerija likovnih umetnosti (KGLU).
The four partner-cities aren’t capitals of the respective countries. As such, they haven’t been the main migration destinations. Yet, in each city, though to a different extent, there are communities of people of other nationalities, of different ethnic origin and/or religious affiliations. More often than not, they are exposed to mistrust, intolerance, even hatred. But there are also people, who have welcomed the foreigners and members of minorities; however, they have to fight more with the prejudices of their fellow-citizens than is the case in the capitals. Politics, too, which exploit the potential threat by migrants to put forward their own agendas, find more fruitful ground among people living outside the larger metropolises. At the same time, the four project cities feature their own characteristics.

In 2001 GRAZ became the first European ???City of Human Rights’ after the criteria by Schulamit K?nig* and in 2003 it was the European Capital of Culture. These two events, together with Steirischer Herbst, an internationally acclaimed cultural festival since 1968, are just a few signs of a big social, political and cultural awareness. At the same time, the right-wing populist and Europe-sceptical Austrian Freedom Party (FP?), whose actual programme was officially presented in Graz in 2011, saw an increasing electoral success for its leader Norbert Hofer during the Austrian presidency elections in May 2016** (reflected in 56,22% votes in Styria, whose main city is Graz).

PLOVDIV (European Capital of Culture 2019) is Bulgaria’s second largest city – historically a place, where Turks, Armenians, Jews, and Roma have peacefully cohabitated with the Bulgarian population. The Communist Regime (1944-1989) systematically expelled and ghettoized the minorities. The legacy of that policy is still very much present. Nowadays, Plovdiv is the city with the largest ghetto of Romani people in the country, and on the Balkans – with more than 40.000 inhabitants. Racism, and sometimes violence, mark the relations between Bulgarians and Roma on both sides. Moreover, despite the very low number of refugees in Bulgaria, the country has seen the formation of illegal paramilitary groups of civilians, capturing and abusing migrants at the border.

SLOVENJ GRADEC is a town in North Eastern Slovenia, not far away from the Austrian border. This is an area, where under the Habsburgs, Germans and Slovenians lived together for centuries. After the World War I, when Slovenia became part of Yugoslavia, the majority of the German population left the city direction North. The controversial relationships in the region reflect again after the World War II when the rest of the German-speaking citizen left or were forced to leave the city. In the 1980s Slovenj Gradec was listed as ???Peace Messenger City’ by the United Nations, because of its activities in the previous decades, connected to the promotion of the culture of peace. Although it does not lie directly on the migration route, Slovenj Gradec was the first one to declare itself prepared to accommodate refugees. Similarly then elsewhere, yet, in line with the official governmental policy of closing the Balkan-route for migrants, there is a lot of mistrust and fear among the city’s inhabitants.

LEIPZIG, the city of the ???Peaceful Revolution’ of 1989, is situated in the German province of Saxony, a region where the percentage of the foreigners among the population is traditionally very low, and has stayed relatively low despite the arrival of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. Yet, xenophobia culminated in the formation of the right populist movements PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) and its Leipzig branch LEGIDA. For more than a year supporters of LEGIDA and Anti-LEGIDA movements demonstrate every Monday on the streets of Leipzig. Sometimes the demonstrations turn into violent conflicts.

Carrying out Migrations Of Fear project in those cities will add to the already on-going discussions and fieldwork, aiming to scrutinise the various societal dispositions in Europe in general and the typical fears and anxieties in each of the participating regions, taking into consideration the above mentioned specific situations.

Artists from Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Slovenia, as well as from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, USA, Taiwan among others, are invited to show their art works in the art-institutions, participating in the project. The works will present different concepts and viewpoints on the fears of the contemporary society, such as the fear of the unknown/foreign/different; fear of the loss of social status, fear of poverty; fear of the loss of basic freedoms. Fear is examined as a social and political phenomenon, as well as in its very subjective forms, as part of the individual’s very existence.
The four exhibitions – in Graz, Plovdiv, Slovenj Gradec and Leipzig, will be going on throughout the year: that means that the number of participants and the character of the art works will vary according to the specific context and spatial conditions of the institutions. Guests from abroad will exhibit together with local artists. Migrations Of Fear project seeks an increase of the exchange between artists, institutions and cities, with a view to establishing professional networks to serve future collaborations. That is why it is important that the local art communities have the chance to see new productions, as well as productions that may reflect their own context, but seen from a different vantage point, through the eyes of outside artists.

Migrations Of Fear is a reaction to the actual political and social reality in Europe. The project and its participants aspire to contribute to the process of overcoming hatred, prejudices and intolerance, which, more than terrorism, constitute the actual threat for the contemporary European society. Despite the difficulties and the enormous challenges, the convergence and interaction of different cultures, philosophy of life and views on the world must be seen as a unique chance for better understanding and mutual enrichment, and, hopefully, as a chance to overcome some of our fears.

“Week of Contemporary Art” is a project by Art Today Association in partnership with Municipal Foundation „Plovdiv 2019“ and Goethe-Institut Bulgaria.

Supported by:
Bundeskanzleramt ?sterreich, Sektion II Kunst und Kultur
EUROPAS ZUKUNFT Gesellschaft zeitgen?ssicher Kunst Leipzig
Gaudenz B. Ruf Award For New Bulgarian Art

Media partners: BNT2, въпреки.com, Radio Katra FM, Mediacafe, Pod Tepeto, Kapana

ataArt Today Association
Center for Contemporary Art - Plovdiv
The Ancient Bath

Open Call
Facade Video Festival 2017

Artists from all over the world are invited to send their video art to Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The Art Today Association /Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv, "The Ancient Bath"/ will host the 8th edition of the Facade Video Festival between 8 and 10 September 2017.
The Facade Video Festival connects people, art and urban environment by projecting videos onto the walls of houses in the historic city and around - still an unusual artistic practice in Plovdiv.

Videos should be submitted before 30 May 2017.
There are no restrictions concerning the theme.

You can find out more about the Facade Video Festival and the Open Call on You can find out more about the Facade Video Festival and the Open Call on www.facade.arttoday.org

For further information about the Art Today Association /Center for Contemporary Art/ visit www.arttoday.org

Mail to: office@arttoday.org

We would greatly appreciate, if you shared this Open Call with other video artists.
We are looking forward to viewing your works!

Best regards,
Your FVF Team

ataArt Today Association
Center for Contemporary Art - Plovdiv
The Ancient Bath



The Edge Group is a complete phenomenon that exemplifies the strongest manifestations of Bulgarian conceptualist art at the beginning of the 1990ies. Formed in January 1989, the group is a synthesis of the two main principle used to form artistic groups in the country at the time – the territorial and the conceptual. The artists who founded the group are: Albena Mihaylova, Veneta Marinova, Dancho Grigorov, Dimitar Grozdanov, Dimitar Kelbechev, Dimitar Mitovski, Emil Mirazchiev, Ivaylo Grigorov, Igor Boudnikov, Kolio Karamfilov, Monika Romenska, Nadia Genova, Pavel Albert, and Roumen Zhekov. The larger part of the founding members of the newly established group was already known to the Bulgarian audience with their work in non-conventional idioms.

By establishing the Edge Group the artists were reacting to the crucial political events of the time, but also to the possibility to state clearly their radical position concerning the change in the artistic practices in Bulgaria. Participating artists claimed a strict aesthetic and ideological position that outlined the future development of the group. It was based on clear cut concepts, materialized in new artistic ways, with strong social engagement and adequate creative attitudes towards the political and artistic reality in the country. The unpublished program of the group states clearly that the group refuses to partake in the “mechanized, centralized, ideology-ridden, pseudo-cultural system”. The Edge Group stated that they stand in defense of the new type of communicating the art work, of the new types and genres in art, and of artistic realization, which is “different from the old societal mechanisms and political conformism.” Among the main goals of the group was the meaningful exchange with the international art and the inclusion of Bulgarian artists in the global cultural dynamics. They also stated that while counting on experimentation and uncompromising defense of their ideas, they will build up the image of the group and will affirm it as an active unified organism.

There is another reason for the appearance of this strong regional phenomenon – the fact it came to life in Plovdiv is not a coincidence. The springing forth of the Edge Group in the city precisely at the time of the crucial years of the changes is rooted in the indirect but strong link to that generation of artists from the 1960ies, which left the traces of revolutionary change in the artistic process.

The radical involvement of the April Generation of artists (who came to the fore at the time of softening up of the communist regime after April 1956) in the early 1960ies blew up the burden of the socialist-realist artistic cannon and won the plastic freedoms that opened the doors for socialist modernism. Although that happened only within the confines of traditional media, those artists became the standard bearer of the artistic revolution analogous to the one from the end of the 1980ies. Vastly different in the substance of their artistic search, the two generations were fighting for the qualitatively new functions of the art work – the former stood by the art work as an expression of the autonomous creative process in its formal and aesthetic aspects; the latter, the Edge artists became synonymous with the notion of braking down those formal boundaries at the expense of the autonomy of the idea. Even if we only consider the openly rebellious substance and the revolutionary approaches of the April Generation of artists from Plovdiv we will still see that more than twenty years later, and within the tracks of historical continuity, the city was nurturing the next generation in the spirit of open defense for creative freedom.

At its early stages the Edge defined their conceptual direction and clarity in informal talks where the artists got to know each other. They would find and define their shared views; they would coordinate their world view; they would encourage each other in inspiration and daring; they would plan and debate their ideas. The members of the group felt their strong ideological bond based on shared thinking about the change in the artistic structures, about the new functions of the artwork and about the new type of communicating with the viewer brought about by the new situation. The aggression, the irony and playing with the viewers were definitely the main thread in the conceptual direction of the group. Those were also defining to a large extent the visual embodiment of concrete ideas.

The founding and the creative trajectory of Plovdiv’s Edge Group is a stand-alone history within the history of contemporary art in Bulgaria.

The members of the Edge Group are:
Albena Mihaylova, Veneta Marinova, Dimitar Kelbechev, Dimitar Mitovski, Emil Mirazchiev, Ivaylo Grigorov, Igor Boudnikov, Kolio Karamfilov, Monika Romenska, Nadia Genova, Pavel Albert, and Roumen Zhekov.

virtual tour

ataArt Today Association
Center for Contemporary Art - Plovdiv
The Ancient Bath

LUMMIX Light Art Festival 2016

ataArt Today Association
Center for Contemporary Art - Plovdiv
The Ancient Bath


Dear Artists,
Details about the open call you can find at our web page: lummix.eu/index.html#opencall
You can send your submissions at: office@lummix.eu
Deadline for submissions is 30.01.2016.
You are welcome to apply and feel free to forward to those, who might be also interested!
Best regards,
Emil Mirazchiev
director of LUMMIX Light Festival

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Annual edition of the Week of Contemporary Art:

Art Positive:

Communication Front- new media art and theory

Critique of Pure Image – Between Fake and Quotation


Guest Exhibitions:


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