nina kovacheva & valentin stefanoff

“Au-delà de ce qui est visible” of Nina Kovacheva & Valentin Stefanoff in The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest. Nina Kovacheva and Valentin Stefanoff come from a generation of Bulgarian contemporary artists that has already been recognised internationally. They are currently living and working in Paris as well as Sofia.

Curator: Ruxandra Balaci
Coordinator: Carmen Iovitu

Opening: 7 December, 19H00
7 December – 7 March 2006

Au-delà de ce qui est Visible (2004), video installation.
The video installation is composed of scenes without audio, situated in different contexts – huge visages (4x5m), that are attempting to communicate with the viewers or passers-by, talking to them, calling to them and gesticulating. Despite their efforts, the visages remain isolated, misundertstood behind the grating of the window. The theme of the project is the relation mass-individual, isolation, the loss of the individual’s personality. Utilizing this specific method of presentation, the artists desire not only to incite the random passer-by toward contemporary art, but also to present a series of sociological questions and problems. (Nina Kovacheva, Valentin Stefanoff)

How Near So Far (2005), video projection, 4 min in loop.
The upward movement of the camera in black and white is following across the field the nervous race of a person. The camera wants to “observe” the running person, to frame it, to show it, to discover it through its gaze, for the gaze’s sake. Little by little the image finds its colour. The obsessive rhythm of the music is accelerating to sufficiency while the race goes on, the focus point – the running legs, becoming the object of desire. What do we expect from our desires? Is this video capable of catching the pray? But where the race goes? The camera is unstable; it staggers, comes closer or immediately goes away, branch off, threatens to fall exactly like the bear legs of the running woman. Recorded at the grass level, the uneven trajectory of this race will it lead to a dead end? (Tania Vladova)

The Stranger in Us (2005), video installation, 12 min in loop.
Two faces, two artists facing one spectator or more, ultimately, facing each other. The stranger is in us, outside us, in front of us. A male voice in the background spells out an English written text of Nina Kovacheva and Valentin Stefanoff. The amassing portraits of the two artists– always the same but different altogether – on the black ground, the back sound, the songs of birds, the rain, well, all create a hypnotical vision where the same assessments and the same questions come back in loops. The portraits blink at times and darken themselves for a second then rapidly retaking the course of questioning and looking at each other. The play of gazes amplifies. The two portraits-artists-spectators are isolated, each confined within their panel. The condition of the artist is therefore its solitude, its strangeness facing herself/himself. (Tania Vladova)

Wet Contact (2002), video projection, 30min in loop.
A screen separated in two. A split screen. Two faces. A man and a woman – the faces of the authors. Both of them are looking straight into the camera. The camera does not move. At the first minutes nothing happens. The viewer has an illusion they are looking at him. They observe him. They are expecting something from him. Suddenly water slaps the face of one of them. The slaps alternate between the one and the other. Some of water slaps are very strong and painful. The lighting changes as if the day is passing. The sound track was created from sound samples recorded from everyday life in conjunction and mixed with a music composed by Heinz Weber. In Wet Contact, operating with language close to minimalism, the authors drive the spectators to recognize almost physically the aggression, the loneliness, observing the male and female reaction, pressing them to ask basic questions about existence in contemporary society. (Nina Kovacheva, Valentin Stefanoff)

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