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Art Today Association


WEEK OF CONTEMPORARY ART 2021

CONTEXTUS
TEMPORARY ARTISTIC INTERVENTIONS IN A PUBLIC ENVIRONMENT


11.09 - 18.09.2021

Opening 11.09, 18:00, Stanislav Dospevski St., City art gallery of fine arts, Plovdiv .
Johan Lorbeer"s Tarzan performance

Art is not there simply to be understood. ...
It is more the sense of an indication or suggestion.
Joseph Beuys

INTRODUCTION
Art, or more simply, "artistic interventions" in a public urban environment are among the earliest forms of human artistic activity. Practically, the paintings in the caves (the great-great-parents of today"s graffiti) were a form of public communication through art. Chronologically, they precede the gallery and museum formats considered as classicstoday. The modern or more precisely the contemporary understanding of the concept dates back to the middle of the 20th century. Two of the main characteristics of this type of projects are their democracy and social commitment. In this context, the terms democratic and social should be understood in their broadest sense. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the most influential and significant artists of the 20th century Joseph Beuys. Beuys"s basic concept-idea can be summarized as follows –

„regardless of their origin, culture, sexual orientation, education or profession, everyone is a creative person by birth, they can form and transform their own life and the society in which they exist…“

As idealistic as these thoughts may seem today, artistic interventions in public space directly and/or indirectly influence and change the social environment. It is this characteristic that underlies the idea of the CONTEXTUS project.

THE PROJECT
CONTEXTUS includes a series of art installations and actions of contemporary artists that will be realized in Plovdiv in 2021. The project does not aim to put the authors in a narrow formal or conceptual framework. The aim is for artists to develop their projects in the context of public space (architectural, social and temporal).

The Latin word CONTEXTUS, which can generally be translated as "connection, coherence", illustrates the interdependence sought in the project between the environment (as an architectural and social fact) and intervention-art.

Another important aspect that again refers to Beuys is the inevitable "interactivity." Placed in the public space, the art object/action provokes a reaction.

These reactions can be of different nature:
- direct, when the spectator with his actions directly participates in the artistic process,

- indirect, when changes in the environment lead to a change in behavior,

- on a mental level, when the given art object provokes certain thoughts beyond the object-intervention in its aesthetic sense, etc.

The individual events (installations, performances, etc.) will be realized at different times and places in Plovdiv. This will allow the project to be focused on each individual action and, accordingly, to provoke public attention for a longer period of time.

Text: Yohannes Artinyan

Participants:
7+1 Art group (Yohannes Artinyan, Pancho Kurtev, Ilko Nikolchev, Kamen Tsvetkov) – art installation “XL PROJECT” (Underpass “Chifte Hamam”)
Johan Lorbeer, Berlin – “Tarzan” (Facade of City art gallery of fine arts, Plovdiv) ; video works (Showcases on the main street)
Marina Popska – “The Ideal”, art installation, felt objects (The excavations in front of the Central Post Office)
Sandro Arabyan – “In the beginning”, photo installation (Underpass of the Tunnel – North)
Sevdalina Kochevska – “bad Beuys”, neon (Central showcase of City gallery of fine arts); “Links”, art installation-performance (The excavations in front of the Central Post Office)
Tsvetan Krastev– “Game with the Sea”, video installation (The fountain with the Pelicans); video works (Showcases on the main street)

Guerrilla actions in public with videos of Johan Lorbeer and Kiril Kuzmanov

Curator Yohannes Artinyan

The Week of Contemporary Art is a project by Art Today Association, a member of Goethe-Institut"s international network of German cultural societies abroad.

With the support of Municipality of Plovdiv, Goethe-Institut Bulgaria, National Culture Fund Bulgaria

Media partners: BNT2, въпреки.com, Katra FM, Pod tepeto, Media Cafe, Kapana



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Art Today Association

ART POSITIVE 2021

[Un]Reality

virtual tour
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Art Today Association

ART POSITIVE 2021

Gallery Kapana
Plovdiv, str. “Rayko Aleksiev” №29

17th March - 10th April 2021
Opening, March 17 – 17:00 pm-20:00 pm


Working time:
Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 am to 18:00 pm
Day off: Monday.

After a four-year break, the favorite project of Plovdiv residents returns with the exhibition - [Un]Reality.

Participants: Albena Mihailova, Vessela Statkova, Velina Htistova, Evgeni Mladenov, Evelina Kokoranova, Emil Mirazchiev, Iva Vacheva, Ivelina Ivanova, Nadia Genova, Osman Yuseinov, Sevdalina Kochevska, Sonia Mitova, Stilianos Grigoriadis, Tihomir Todorov, Trendafila Trendafilova, Tsvetanka Bornosuzova, Tsvetelina Angelova, Harita Asumani, Yavor Kostadinov.

Exerting new force this year again confronts us with vital existential questions, affecting not only our physical survival, but also all our habits and ideas concerning our existence in the world itself. More and more our place of security, comfort and even entertainment is shifting from the real to the virtual. Is that the only opportunity for intimacy, presence and empathy? To what extent can the real become virtual and does this satisfy the inner human needs from the world? However, etymologically the word "virtual" comes from the Latin - virtualis, which can be translated as virtue, power, efficiency, and since the Middle Ages it has the meaning of something "like real", which has such an essence and effect, but is not really as such, because it does not have physical or ontological realization on its own. Thus, the virtual can also be described as a pure potentiality that sits in a dynamic position compared to the actual. Hence, philosophy considers thought as the first virtue to arise that transcends the physical and thus actualizes the field of the spiritual.
Precisely because art itself is a kind of virtuality, it conceptualizes a reality that goes beyond the essence of objectivity itself. On the other hand, there is the reflection on the current reality of humanity, in which the virtual is both the ultimate possibility of merging and in the same time the great abyss of distance. And that is so due to the very fact of its "unreality".
Text: Kalina Peycheva

The exhibition is realized with the support of the Ministry of Culture

Media partners: BNT2, Katra FM, MediaCafe

The Art Positive is a project by Art Today Association, a member of Goethe-Institut’s international network of German cultural societies abroad.



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Center for Contemporary Art – Plovdiv, The Ancient Bath

After PASOLINI – Visions of Today

An international group exhibition for the week of contemporary art, Plovdiv


04.09. – 04.10.2020
Opening 04.09.2020, 18:00 - 20:00

Exhibitions hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:30 - 13:00, 14:00 – 19:00
day off Monday.

Francesco Arena, Elisabetta Benassi, Rada Boukova, Julian Cole, Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Alfredo Jaar, Fabio Mauri, Milo Rau, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Krassimir Terziev, Ming Wong, Cerith Wyn Evans, David Wojnarowicz, Allegories of power (Deborah Imogen Beer & Gabriella Angheleddu, Karl-Heinz Dellwo, Fabien Vitali)

The Art Today Association – Center for Contemporary Art Plovdiv is proud to announce the group exhibition After PASOLINI – Visions of Today, bringing together in the Ancient Bath a variety of works by leading contemporary artists investigating the life and works of acclaimed influential Italian filmmaker, author, poet, and political activist, Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The exhibition brings together for the first time a considerable number of works by international artists who took and take up Pasolini, dealing and engaging with him in works of art that make use of him, his life and work as inspirational sources for explorations of both his significance, and the significance of artistic creation in highly politicized contemporary societies. Questions brought forward by Pasolini’s both critical and poetical diagnostic view of the world share a lot with the challenges we see ourselves confronted with today as societies and individuals, and the aim is to explore this through the works of equally seminal artists.

2020 marks the 45th anniversary of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s death, who was born in 1922 and murdered in the early hours of November 2, 1975 near the beach in Ostia by Rome, presumably by a lover; albeit many doubts remain on the backgrounds on his most likely ordered killing intended to silence him. The months preceding Pasolini’s death had been marked by his ever more poignant outspokenness on the social relations in Italy and the filming and postproduction of his controversial film masterpiece Sal?, or the 120 Days of Sodom, an ultimate study in the subjection of the human body under fascism’s violence. The one and the other, his intellectual contributions as well as his artistic work as a film director, joining forces to form a heavy critique of the corruption of the political and industrial caste. Famously declaring, »I know« in his Corriere della Sera column on several attempts at a coup d’?tat, especially the Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan on 12 December 1969, Pasolini wrote:
»I know the names of those responsible for what has been called a ›coup d’?tat‹ (but what in reality is a series of ›coups‹ instituted for the preservation of power). I know the names of those responsible for the Milan massacre of 12 December 1969. I know the names of those responsible for the Brescia and Bologna massacres of the early months of 1974. […] I know all of these names and I know all of the facts (attempts against the institutions and massacres) for which they have been responsible. I know. But I don’t have any evidence. I don’t even have clues.«

He concludes:
»I know because I am an intellectual, a writer who tries to follow everything that goes on, to know everything that is written about it, to imagine everything that is unknown or unspoken of; who connects even facts that are far apart, who puts together the disorganized and fragmentary pieces of an entire, coherent political picture, who restores logic where arbitrariness, folly and mystery seem to rule.« (Corriere della Sera, 14 November 1974; text today commonly known as Io So).

Perhaps one could not put more concisely than Pasolini in these words what characterizes the work of contemporary artists who, with a refined, seismographic attention to societies, and an intellectual self-consciousness that feeds upon imagination, register and process the realities of our poetical and political surroundings in works of art that become coherent pictures of the worlds we inhabit.

In the exhibition at the Ancient Bath, the artist who mirrored the challenges of global developments through the lens of his camera, becomes a lens himself through which contemporary artists embark on searches for truth in works that are equally diagnostic and poetical: in the face of a culture under threat, in the face of a decline of social and political structures, in the face of neoliberal capitalism§s unleashed violence. Pasolini himself becomes a signifier of the crucial questions he raised, of a critical take on anti-social and consumerist society; perhaps even an emblem of artistic truthfulness in a highly commercialized industry of contemporary art; and an allegory of what it means to live up to ideals of artistic, political and social integrity when engaging with the public. In a capitalist system built on growth and uninterrupted continuity, Pasolini§s loss of his life becomes a symbol of what is at risk, and what we should try to preserve, collectively.

A multifaceted character, Pasolini united a deep leftist, communist conviction with a critical distance towards the communist party; a pronounced criticism of the catholic church with religious feelings; an anti-modernist orientation towards language and archaic forms of life with avant-gardist artistic work; an engagement with leading intellectual figures of his time with seeking out communal forms of social life on the poor periphery of the metropole; a take on the narrative canon of myths and literature with a glowing interest in foreign countries. Through different artistic strategies and media, all of these topics are mirrored in the present exhibition. What we learn from the work on show is that in the face of current economic and social developments, Pasolini§s observations on post-war society§s mutations under the pressures of capitalistic modernization and the spreading of mass consumption have lost nothing of their urgency. His criticism of the consumerist stance is deeply rooted in an observation of the destruction of historical, regional and ecological diversity. One can distinguish core themes of his preoccupation that are as topical today as in his perception: Technological modernization, commercialization, forced mobility, communal coexistence, the question of how to live right, a search for purity and truth, the Third World as the future, the relation between the South and the North both in Italy, in Europe and in global terms. These are topics that his corporal thinking constantly senses, adding up to an insight that an artist§s felt responsibility in this world should be to perceive the intermediate zones between landmarks both contemporary and historical.

Following Plovdiv§s year as European Capital of Culture 2019, which it shared with Matera in Italy, where Pasolini filmed his masterwork The Gospel according to St. Matthew in 1964 and acclaimed theater director Milo Rau filmed a remake with African migrants last year about which he talks in an interview for the present exhibition in Plovdiv, this perspective forms a welcome background to the consideration of contemporary artistic engagement with challenges of our time, that are shared across societies.

The individual installations in the exhibition are accompanied by detailed accompanying texts and contextualizations of the individual artist contributions.

Curated by Bettina Steinbrugge, Kunstverein in Hamburg & Benjamin Fellmann, Warburg-Haus Hamburg

The Week of Contemporary Art is a project by Art Today Association, a member of Goethe-Institut’s international network of German cultural societies abroad.

With the support of Municipality of Plovdiv, Goethe-Institut Bulgaria

Media partners: BNT2, въпреки.com, Katra FM, Pod tepeto, Media Cafe, Kapana

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Fabio Mauri e Pier Paolo Pasolini alle prove di Che cosa e il fascismo, 1971
Stabilimenti Safa Palatino, Roma
©Fotografia: Elisabetta Catalano
Courtesy the Estate of Fabio Mauri and Hauser & Wirth





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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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