Borjana Ventzislavova

Vienna, Austria

»Photography is both a medium and a process that is located in the present.«

Borjana, can you explain to someone who hasn't yet any familiarity with your art, what artistic position your way of working is based on?
At the center of my artistic interests are psychological and physical boundaries and shifts. Through film, video, photography, installation, and performance I explore the relationships between ideas, imagination, and real practices in different social, cultural, and geographical spaces. In my work, I often analyze stereotypes, models of representation, and the effects of political and social power structures, as well as control mechanisms on our existence. I also deal with questions of mobility and the crossing of mental or physical borders, with the complex processes of communication and translation, as well as coexistence. My work often moves at the interface of reality and fiction, trying to reveal the structures of a society that are located beneath the representative surface. In my practice, participatory approaches are often used to create a platform for reflection and questioning of relevant issues for our contemporary society. 

What is your personal approach to photography?
Originally I come from the media arts and in my practice do not necessarily see myself as a photographer. As a teenager, I was interested in analog photography, and it was much later that I came across photography as a medium through my diploma thesis in the media class of the “Applied” (University of Applied Arts Vienna), because it was the most suitable medium for my project at the time. And this seems to be my process: I first have ideas and concepts and afterwards consider which medium would be best to realize them.

Is there anything in particular to you where the real strengths of photography come to bear – in other words, is there anything you can express better with photography than with any other medium?
What I like and appreciate about photography is that it's often just about the individual moment. For me, photography is both a medium and a process that is located in the present, providing me with a certain freedom that I experience less in other media. It is the medium with which I experiment most and which enables me to proceed without having to determine and decide everything in advance, but to leave open many things to crystalize or to simply emerge during the process. Of course, I have photographic projects where every detail is precisely preconceived, planned, and implemented. But lately, I've been working increasingly more in a rather intuitive way, and this involves mostly photography.

What can we expect from your participation in the first edition of FOTO WIEN?
I am participating in two exhibitions that will take place on the occasion of this year's edition of FOTO WIEN: a two-person exhibition with the title Meet Us in the Desertat Galerie Sturm & Schober, curated by Ursula Maria Probst, where I will show new photographic works and an object or spatial intervention that deals with global warming in the Anthropocene period. The second is a solo exhibition entitled That Thing, curated by Walter Seidl, at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute Haus Wittgenstein in Vienna. In this exhibition, the photograph and text series Study of Causalityas well as the long-standing video project That Thingwill be presented in Vienna for the first time. In these works, actors who represent and define the art scene of my two home cities – Sophia and Vienna – meet in different ways and fragments of the two cities enter into a dialog.

03 Borjana Ventzislavova That Thing Bozhidar B

That Thing, 2013-2019, video still That Thing (Bozhidar Boyadzhiev)

04 Borjana Ventzislavova That Thing Iara

That Thing, 2013-2019, video still That Thing (Iara Boubnova)

05 Bopo Schindlers20X30

Borjana Ventzislavova, Study of Causality (fam. Schindler), c-print 100x150 cm, 2016, text, inkjet print, 40x60cm

06 Bopo Ruf20X30

Borjana Ventzislavova, Study of Causality (Ruf), c-print 100x150 cm, 2016, text, inkjet print, 40x60cm

07 Borjana Ventzislavova Shaman Stones2 3 4 Text

With your eggs on your heads (Shaman stones) # 2-3-4, 2019, 60 x 40 cm each, pigment print on photo paper with text

08 Borjana Ventzislavova Hope

Hope, 2019, 110 x 180cm, pigment print on photo paper

Interview: Florian Langhammer
Photos: Courtesy of the artist if not otherwise credited; Portrait photo: Mladen Penev

Borjana Ventzislavova's website

#photography, #fotowien

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