Real games

Video installation invites viewers to remember the pastimes of the generations that grew up in the 1980s

Borjana Ventzislavova demonstrates the ability to capture the immersive nature of games by revisiting the somewhat forgotten leisure activities of the recent past in her latest project. The Real Games exhibition was inspired by the artist's desire to revive her generation's experience and memory of playing outdoors, with sometimes simple or even home-made toys.

In the five-channel video installation, adults whose childhood was spent in the 1980s are encouraged to play a game of shooting paper darts with blow guns or of jumping elastic cords, as if the years have never gone by. The main personages are people of different professional background, invited to play a role in a fun re-enactment that takes them back to their childhood memories and reminds them of the game itself and its rules. In the situations constructed by Borjana Ventzislavova, the participants play themselves, in their current skin of working adults.

The games shown by the video installation are a throwback to the formative years of the generation that grew up in the 1980s. In addition to requiring the participants to be physically present and have contact with other people (in contrast to the passive experience before the TV screen), the group games of the past cause excitement and a dose of exaggerated reactions, a circumstance heightened in Borjana Ventzislavova's videos by the visual of adults playing games for kids.

The participants in the re-enacted situations screened by the video installation are children and grown-ups at once, serious and amazed, acting in their own life and in someone else's political agenda, who can give their vote of confidence to the game at any moment and make it work or just the opposite - and spoil it by ruining the magic. It is those different aspects and meta-levels of the games of destiny that the artist explores in the Real Games exhibition through various media, including video, photos, text and objects.

Borjana Ventzislavova is often intrigued by the social transformations affecting different groups of modern society. Her personages are real people, whom the artist puts in a certain situation or environment that illuminates the discrepancy between personal expectations and reality caused by the paradoxes of today's world. The exhibition will be on display between 1 February and 3 March at the Sofia City Art Gallery. It is realised in association with the Embassy of Austria in Sofia and the Federal Chancellery of Austria for Art and Culture.

Borjana Ventzislavova is an interdisciplinary artists working in the fields of photography, film/video, installations, performance and media art. Her works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions and in numerous media and film festivals. She has countless awards, accolades and stipends on her resume. In 2017 she won the Art Award of the City of Vienna, in 2013 she was awarded Austria's State Stipend for Fine Arts, and in 2009 - the Start stipend, in 2006 she won an award at the Cologne Conference film festival, in 2005 she received the Susmann Stiftung Award, etc. She has had artist's residencies in Athens, London, Rome, Newcastle, Berkeley, Los Angeles and Chicago and this year she will be in New York. He works are owned by various private and public collections.

Borjana was born in Sofia but currently lives and works in Vienna. She earned her master's degree from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. In 2017 she was awarded Austrian citizenship for her outstanding contributions to the world of visual arts.

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