Focus Institutions



7 – 29 NOVEMBER 2015

With the financial support of Sofia Municipality’s Culture Programme, Austrian Embassy Sofia, Sils and Gemeente Rotterdam, as well as with the generous support of all invited art spaces.

Media Partner: Sofia Live.

SWIMMING POOL is thrilled to present its second project: us, an exhibition in collaboration with I: project space (Beijing), Jenifer Nails (Frankfurt), LambdaLambdaLambda (Pristina), Life Sport (Athens), Linda (Sofia), Opening Times (London), Peach (Rotterdam), and The Green Parrot (Barcelona). Together with these eight art spaces, we will stage a series of curatorial and artistic interventions at the premises of Swimming Pool. For one week we will turn the space into an open house of us, which we warmly invite you to share.

Swimming Pool started a few months ago as an independent art space. Since then, we’ve been confronted with questions as to our intentions, motivation, and future plans. This triggered our interest in other small-size project spaces we felt close to, and prompted us to ask questions. How did they get started? How do they work with publics? And, perhaps most importantly: Why did they choose to operate through the format of a project space? We asked them to tell us their story as well as to present and interpret their concept in a form that can be displayed online and at Swimming Pool. us is more an approximation than an entity; a suggestion than a closure; an impulse than a structure. And then, there are these moments of encounter when thoughts meet, togetherness arises and ideas start to grow. We wish to celebrate them with you.

All of the invited spaces have different stories to tell, which you can read in the interviews that will be published on our webpage as part of this project. Some of them are in a process of change: Jenifer Nails in Frankfurt has been recently shut down unexpectedly; LambdaLambdaLambda in Pristina plans a crossover between an art project space and a commercial gallery; The Green Parrot will very soon move out of its premises in Barcelona and start flying through travelling exhibitions. Others seek to keep up a program born out of subjective endeavours and shared with a worldwide community: such as LIFE SPORT in Athens, which sells “critical wearables” – the LIFE SPORT joggers – as an attempt to generate alternative arts funding in a time and place where there is none; Opening Times, which is an online-only exhibition platform; Peach, an exhibition space and home in Rotterdam; and I: project space, which fills a gap in the Beijing art scene by presenting video art and supporting artist exchange via residencies. Last but not least, Linda is a recently launched space in Sofia with a focus on writing and publishing – another newcomer, with whom we have just started a lively conversation.

What is us made of, we asked ourselves? Internationality seems to be an obvious thing. Irregularity is also something we all have in common. It consists in a low level of institutionalization, modest budgets vs. grand outcomes, and a DIY culture – thus becoming the basis of a deliberately chosen unsteadiness of form and action. Hospitality is another crucial thing, since all we really have is us. That is why we are always about gathering, always about sharing. Finally, desire – especially with regard to the strong and wilful subjective impulse behind all of these projects which also holds an emancipatory potential. And did we tell you that our future is also your future? That our present is your present, too? us begins right opposite you, as all invited spaces evolve organically within the contexts they inhabit, with a sense for the community; for they have to navigate between the traditional white cube and the social ties they produce. Hence, us could also be a conversation about what are the art spaces that our society today urgently needs – as these places are actually what us consists of. A week prior to the opening, Linda and Swimming Pool will invite to a dinner around questions of poetics of independet art spaces, hospitality and desire. On 7 November, LambdaLambdaLambda will open the show with a ritual, thereby reminding us of the social constructions that are commonplace in our understanding. On Sunday, 8 November, Peach will invite us to a Day Club – the opposite of a night. The Green Parrot will present a series of screenings on the same day. And don’t forget to look out for LIFE SPORT’s grey jogging pants!

In the following week, Swimming Pool will turn into an open house and will be cooking for you; on 14 November, Saturday, we will cook Chinese food from recipes of I: project space and show a selection of video art from Beijing. Peach, together with Hunter Longe, will construct benches; Hunter will bring some very small artworks, while Ghislain will show, among other things, photographs from the ongoing series “Life is Peachy”. Daniel Stempfer, co-founder and one half of Jenifer Nails, will present “Lonely Planet”, a work that was developed and shown for the first time in Frankfurt. Consisting mainly of PVC tubing and liquids, the installation will take on a new form in Sofia. Opening Times will involve all spaces in a special online project, inviting them to think about Jean-François Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy and asking each space to contribute a sound in order to explore how desire could be expressed online. Linda, together with Philip Baber and the last books, will delight us with a selection of books, which you will be able to find at Swimming Pool.

This project is curated by Viktoria Draganova.



A week earlier at LINDA

a dinner around questions of poetics of independent spaces, hospitality and desire

7 November, 17:00–21:00
GRAND OPENING, performance by LambdaLambdaLambda

8 November, 13:00–19:00 Day Club
Irregular Day-Party by Peach & Jenifer Nails

9–15 November, 13:00–19:00 SOUP us
offered daily by Swimming Pool

14 November, 13:00–19:00
Chinese Saturday
16.30 video works by Lin Ke & Wu Ding
and a video by I: project space about
the virtual reality of running a space in China