Recipe for unusual exhibition

Goethe Institut in Sofia presents artists Mariana Vassileva and Ottjörg A.C.

Mariana Vassileva

You want to do an unusual exhibition? Goethe Institute in Sofia has an easy recipe for you: take a Bulgarian artist living in Berlin and a German artist living in Sofia, let them create installations and video art together and voila. With the Win/Lose exhibition, Goethe Institut continues its 1+1: Art Scene Germany series, in which Bulgarian artists residing in Germany curate a show that introduces the Bulgarian audience to lesser known authors from the local market.

This year’s edition extended an invitation to Mariana Vassileva, who has been living in Germany for over 20 years and for whom the Goethe Institut exhibition marks her first return to Sofia following her major 2015 retrospective at the Sofia City Art Gallery curated by Maria Vassileva. For her 2020 showcase Mariana invited Ottjörg A.C., an artist who splits his time between Berlin and Sofia.

Mariana Vassileva was born in 1964 in Veliko Tarnovo. A graduate of Universität der Künste in Berlin, she has been active on the international art scene since the 1990s. Her works have been put on display at leading institutions such as Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (Canada), Tate Britain (UK), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Spain), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (Wolfsburg), Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Edition Block (Berlin), The Stenersen Museum (Oslo), Total Museum (Seoul) and the Hong Kong Arts Centre. She has participated in various international biennales. Her works are owned by prestigious public and private collections.

Ottjörg A.C. was born in 1958 in Heidelberg. He studied philosophy and political journalism at Freie Universität Berlin and arts at Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Repin Institute of Arts in Saint Petersburg, and Universität der Künste in Berlin. His first international appearance was in 1989 in Beijing, China. He has shown his works in Europe, China, North and South Korea. Since 1999 he has been working on international, long-term and site-specific projects such as Deskxistence, which involves him travelling around the world and creating large-scale coloured prints on paper of pupils' desks, over 300 in total. Since 2004 he has been giving lectures and workshops at academies and universities in South America, Europe and China, including as part of projects of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). His works are part of public and private collections alike. He works and lives between Sofia and Berlin.

Initially, the joint exhibition was scheduled for April. Now, nearly four months later, the two artists are presenting a completely new project – the result of their conversations and contemplations over that period. Win/Lose features installations, items and video, many of which have been designed with the Goethe Institut space in mind. They represent the artists’ takes on the pandemic, fears, human relations and power dynamics in society and art.

The exhibition can be viewed until 18 September.

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