Focus New Ecologies

New Ecologies

Billy Mateeva, Elena Nazarova, Marina Genova, Maria Nalbantova, Martin Atanasov, Nevena Ekimova, Cédric Van Parys

25 April – 10 August 2023

With the support of "Visual Arts" Program of the Ministry of Culture and "One-Year Grant" Program of the National Culture Fund.

Here to part 1

Here to part 2

Here to part 3

Here link to public program

What surrounds us, what else are we connected to, what do we consist of? "New Ecologies” is a project about different approaches to the environment. While, traditionally, we associate the term with nature and biodiversity conservation, it has meanwhile received an important development to include anthropogenic ("man-made") factors. This is evidenced by contemporary art and exhibition practices, new educational disciplines such as environmental humanities and environmental philosophy, but also current concepts and processes in textile production, the food industry, product design, contemporary urban planning, and, not last, in framework strategic documents and programming, such as the New European Bauhaus.

However, the most widespread are still the idealizing notions of nature as something completely "natural", moreover as something untouched by humans. Art has also played a role in this, creating the romantic picture of sublime nature, awe-inspiring and astonishing. This is most often manipulatively exploited by various industries – as for example in superfoods, plastic surgery, spa centers, tourism, or the mining industry. Rather than clinging to such notions, it is important to understand exactly how a hybrid environment functions, what the interactions within it are, what is within human control and what is not, and what is the place of collective responsibility and democratic community. In an expanded understanding of the environment, the distinction between "nature" and "culture" becomes anachronistic. Furthermore, we realize that we also need art that thinks the environment we live in – be it urban, domestic, commercial, or a forest – not only in a complex and relevant way, but also as specific to our geographical, social and political context.

To this end, we invited artists, experts, and organisations mostly based in Bulgaria to engage in a series of meetings in which we discussed perspectives on new ecologies through conversation, sharing, and research. These meetings resulted in a series of individual projects that were presented from 25 April to 10 August in three distinct exhibition parts at Swimming Pool, accompanied by a public program involving scholars, poets, and activists. Following “The Possible Institution” in 2021, this is our second extensive project through which we aim to encourage an in-depth understanding, a wide-ranging discourse, and a new artistic production on particularly socially relevant themes.

Following the project “The Possible Institution” in 2021, this is our second project funded by the Visual Arts program of the Ministry of Culture, through which we aim to encourage in-depth understanding, wide-ranging discourse and new artistic production on particularly topical and socially relevant themes.

Artists Martin Atanasov, Marina Genova, Nevena Ekimova, Billy Mateeva, Elena Nazarova, Maria Nalbantova, Cédric Van Parys

Public program with the participation of Dimiter Kenarov, Kosmotechnika (Konstantin Georgiev and Alexander Popov), Andrea Popyordanova and Francesca Castagnetti, Association "For the Earth" and others.

Organization Viktoria Draganova (curator), Jenny Decheva (assistant curator), Victoria Gramova (graphic design), Nadezhda Davidkova (space coordinator)

Media partner Journal for Social Vision