In May and June Æxchange Sofia-Haga took place, an exchange between two artists from Sofia and The Hague. The project was initiated by Voin Voinov and myself, as a result of a collaboration in our own art practice and my involvement with Æther, the art space that Voin established in Sofia in 2016. From this Æther Haga emerged, The Hague’s little sister who occasionally appears with art news from the East of Europe.
In the course of a week, an exhibition was made at both locations and we showed the participants around along art initiatives, monuments of nature and sights that are typical for the city. During the opening of the exhibitions, the exchange between the artists themselves took place. Two intensive weeks were filled with valuable impressions for everyone to take home with them.
The four participating artists were Stela Vasileva and Svetlana Mircheva from Sofia and Arianne Olthaar and Marjolijn van der Meij from The Hague.
State of Apparition
Stela Vasileva and Svetlana Mircheva, May 23 – June 01 at Æther Haga
“The magic of the unpredictable of everything that might be”, is how I could describe the core of “State of Apparition”, the exhibition of Stela Vasileva and Svetlana Mircheva. Both of them made new work on this theme, in relation to each other and more concretely to the space of Æther Haga which is characterized by the presence of two large roof lights.
Mirchevas in copper bronze reflective Cyrillic letters, each of which has been cut vertically into two and three, form, staggered and hanging from the ceiling, the word “МОЖЕ”, translated into English: “It May”. The elusive promise that the meaning of this word carries within, in combination with its external appearance in a lettering that is difficult to decipher for most visitors in The Hague as such, covers the meaning of the title of the exhibition in many ways.
Arianne Olthaar and Marjolijn van der Meij, June 8-23 at Æther Sofia
Arianne Olthaar and Marjolijn van der Meij share a long history of friendship and have collaborated for years on different films. A period of concentration on individual work followed in which Olthaar focused on video work on the past glory of interiors and buildings from the 70s and 80s. Van der Meij developed from large charcoal drawings with mythical surrealistic-looking scenes to work in which she increasingly distorted the flat surface of paper with various techniques, resulting in sculptural work.
A shared fascination of them is the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder. The decors from his films were used as a starting point for the exhibition “FEAR” at Æther Sofia.
At the same time, from the basement, clear sounds of footsteps on a staircase, the lighting of a cigarette and then a doorbell are reaching me; I’m not alone here. This is where the work of both literally comes together. The sound effects of Olthaar’s video installation in the downstairs space are partly responsible for the feeling that Van der Meij’s work is able to evoke one floor up. The video itself shows still and rotating shots of a dark lit ’70s interior of what could be a hotel room or apartment for temporary rental. The interior is limited to a few pieces of furniture. A number of empty drinking bottles are spread across the floor, but most of them are still filled on the table. Whoever just left here, has been here alone. The projection that covers the entire back wall of the low basement space gives the feeling of standing in a life-size diorama, an apparent contradictio in terminis, which actually turns out to be able to exist within the limits of what is possible. And this brings us back to “The magic of the unpredictable of everything that might be”; it all starts and ends within a certain State of Apparition.
Æxchange Sofia – Haga is made possible with the kind support of Stroom Den Haag.