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“New Ecologies” is a three-part exhibition project that proposes a different approach to the concept of “environment”. On Tuesday at 6:30 pm the project opens with a conversation with all the participating artists – Billy Mateeva, Elena Nazarova, Marina Genova, Maria Nalbantova, Martin Atanasov, Nevena Ekimova and Cédric Van Parys, with whom we have been searching for different perspectives on fundamental questions: what surrounds us, what else are we connected to, what do we consist of? The questions are driven by our desire to understand the environment not only from the perspective of environmentalism, where nature is that idealised and romanticised image of the untouched by human hands, but as a hybrid environment with different interactions within it, some in human control and others not.
In this discourse, we will simultaneously open the first of three exhibitions that will take place within New Ecologies, with Nevena Ekimova's installation The First Ten Lifetimes or So Usually Suck. The work emerged in response to the project's main concepts and was made especially for the space of Swimming Pool. Nevena addresses the main topic towards thinking of the human being as an ecosystem whose stability depends on a manifold of inputs: food and water, stress and sleep, information and communication, entropy of flesh and thought, synthesis of new cells and ideas, social interactions. To this end, she uses the technique of cutwork embroidery – often used in the Christian tradition to depict pastoral scenes and sacred objects, mostly related to rituals such as baptism and marriage. The images do not merely borrow iconographic elements, but seek to create a kind of spectral wheel of inner life – an eternal oscillation between harmony, hubris, delusion, destruction, apathy and hope. “The installation is the result of a combined interest in ecology, neuroscience and meditation.” – says Nevena Ekimova – “imagines the turbulent weather within our inner ecosystem as we navigate the murky landscape of modern life, with all its physical, moral and communal challenges, attempting both an ontological take and one of immediacy of experience.”
The installation will be the context for the public program of New Ecologies during the first month of the project, including an introduction to speculative ecology by the researchers Konstantin Georgiev and Alexander Popov; a lecture-walk through the rivers of Sofia by Dimitеr Kenarov, journalist and poet; and a meeting with activist Ventzeslava Kojouharova from For the Earth (Za Zemiata) Environmental Association.
Nevena Ekimova is a Bulgarian artist, currently based in her hometown of Gabrovo. She studied contemporary art in Norway and Iceland, and got her BFA at the Valand Art Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden. Besides participating in exhibitions and publishing books, Nevena often works with public institutions and creates large-scale interactive projects for children and adults.