Focus New Ecologies

Part 2 | New Ecologies

Martin Atanasov, Marina Genova, Cédric Van Parys

23 May – 29 June 2023

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

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“New Ecologies” is a three-part exhibition project that seeks a different approach to the concept of “environment”. The second part of the project presents installations by Martin Atanasov, Marina Genova and Cédric Van Parys, each of which opens up a different perspective on ecology as a hybrid environment and questions the nature-culture dichotomy we have inherited from modernity. The works of the three artists address the interactions, entanglements, engagements, and experiences in what surrounds us – including what is inside us as an inseparable part of – and question what kind of world we actually want to live in.

“Between the Wild Grass” by Martin Atanasov is an invitation to sit and listen in on a conversation with Katy Bentall, artist and poet, about her relationship with nature – wild, political, future. In conversation, she reminisces about her husband Mariusz Tchorek (psychotherapist and writer) and his practice among the wilds. For Martin Atanasov, such conversations often provide a starting point to approach a topic and question by bringing them into images, situations, or environments of slow observation.

“Where We Live”, an installation by Marina Genova, brings us back not only to the city, but also to the home, because behind the word “ecology” is the concept of “home” (from ancient Greek – “oikos”), and if we are to speak of the interaction between place and people, the dwelling is instrumental in establishing a meaningful relationship between people and the environment. Thus, in the weeks leading up to the opening, the artist talked to children, guiding them through playful questions but also complex abstractions, collecting their answers about the unknown future in which they take the lead in decisions. For the exhibition “New Ecologies” Marina creates environments and visual language that articulate the present from the children's point of view, looking for that new sense of home that can change our general perception of what surrounds us.

“Procession” by Cédric Van Parys appropriates the infrastructure from adjacent rooftops around the Swimming Pool onto the terraces of the space. Facing the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, these chimneys stand side by side as a procession of urban artefacts, as if representing a forest of characters with a personality and a will of their own, ready at any moment to incorporate the chimneys of the immediate surroundings and march on together. In this way, the urban context gains both expression and agency while questioning the biased, economically exploited, and hypocritical assumption of a value difference between the natural and the man-made.

All three installations were conceived and produced entirely within the “New Ecologies” project, which began as a conversation between its participants in January this year, passing through joint meetings and research to reach out to friends, colleagues and anyone with an interest in the environment and its possible readings. The public program is an integral part of the project, as well as the publications that will soon appear on the Journal of Social Vision website.

Martin Atanasov is a Sofia-based visual artist who earned his degree from FAMU (Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic) in 2014. In his practice the primary focus lies in the photographic book format, collage and visual anthropology. He publishes and self-publishes photography books and zines such as Nature Index in collaboration with Konstantin Georgiev (archivist and anthropologist), NUTRICULA/Impossible Actions with Yasen Vasilev (dramaturg and poet) and How to Forget Your Past based on the photobook How to Forget Your Past by Nikola Mihov. In the past year he developed different photography workshops connected to the photography book form and the idea of archiving and working with Sofia city public spaces.
Marina Genova is a visual artist who has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad. Most of her works explore popular culture and post-contemporary realities. Marina's practice is influenced by the greatly changed notion of reality as a result of the rapid development of the internet and technology. She works with a combination of messages and commentaries on social, economic and political structures.
Cédric Van Parys is an artist, architect, researcher, and founder of CCXD, a Rotterdam (NL) and Sofia (BG) based practice operating at the intersection of architecture and the visual arts. His work is built on analytical research and is concerned with the relation between monuments, public space, symbols, rituals, and aesthetics. Van Parys’ research, sculptures, and installations have been exhibited and built at the Venice Art Biennale; Venice Architecture Biennale; RAUM Utrecht; Shanghai Art Biennale; Biennale de Arquitetura de São Paulo; Plus359 Gallery Sofia, Sofia Art Week and, Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.