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Kalin Serapionov, Executive Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Sofia and THE SPACE


 

@k.serapionov is a visual artist based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Developed in his field, member and Executive Director of @ica.sofia and very active abroad.

What got us interested was that he is very open to share stories, experiences and knowledge. It would only be fair to say this is a must in a country (Bulgaria) that is now starting to walk the walk in contemporary … everything. Not quietly at all, agitating you to check his work HERE.

He is a funny persona with witty mind that can sprinkle you with ideas if you wanted to ask for one... or more. Also, with knowledge in arts, politics and current artistic and conceptual movements in Bulgaria. Responsive and ready to share within his community and beyond. No wonder society and space are the main object in his work.

Thanks to @coffeesyndicate.sf for unknowingly hosting our conversation! We needed that good dope of quality caffeine.


 



 

Why is society a topic for you?

In my opinion, an artist cannot exist alone. Most often, things happen not only because of his talent and his work, but because of the people around him. He draws ideas from them, gets inspired and communicates with them. My idea for a society - I look at the professional circles or rather the encapsulated communities, not the whole community, because I believe that our society, and not only in Bulgaria, is generally made up of micro-cluster unites. People have common interests. They focus on a specific type of subculture. I'm trying to explore this subculture. I am mainly interested in visual communication and verbal, of course, but the visual is somehow more inherent. I am an artist, I observe the world around me, I read and select. My view is already critical.


What does it mean to have a critical view?

I can't answer unequivocally. But for me, this is the property of being able to get to the heart of the matter. To be able to stare deep into the work done and have a clear view on it. This is especially easy in Bulgaria, as we are a marginal community. Criticism is more of a study. Analysis. Vessela Nozharova - she is criticized for the Instagram posts she makes, but in fact she gives feedback. This gives a more meaningful status to the social network and its use.



Would you tell us how your work gives food for thought to the audiences that sees it?

The artist is always looking for feedback. If he isolates himself, there is no point of showing the work. I have a direction in my process and the way I create my work.

Few basic things I rely on:

The idea, the process development, the place and the audience.

I try to think about these 4 components at the same time. I am happy when they are meaningful and aligned.

My desire has always been for my work to reach the audience and to have feedback. That's why my projects are about immersion or experience. My intention is to engage the audience through a powerful vision, interesting theme, sound or the way I have made sense of the space.


Since you are based here in Sofia, would you share how you’ve managed to get your work abroad?

This is quite difficult. Making contacts is a must. The key is in communication.

From the very beginning I met people and found myself in such an environment. That made a difference for me. I'm not saying I've been super successful, but a lot of projects really happen abroad. This makes me happy. I come out of the local environment, which is slightly misleading, but coming out of it made things interesting. Provocation makes me grow and develop. This gives me food for what I can do next. The important thing here is to set goals. For example - I want to reach a wider audience, I want to understand and see new worlds and spaces and so on.


What do you recommend to the young adults who want to come back in Bulgaria and continue developing their art practices. Is there space and opportunities for this?

I’d say be bolder. Take the risk. I don’t know another recipe.

What continues to be interesting here are the public spaces. It is not developed yet. Here in Bulgaria - Sofia mostly spaces are still be studied.

Also, it is important what goals they set for themselves. If they want a challenge, with the idea of ​​making a mistake, have a bitter experience or to develop their potential … this can be their experiment. They should know it is possible to make it here and grow.



Your thoughts on being an artist in Bulgaria?

We are very burdened. We think that here it’s not possible to make, something is missing or that we will fail. There is no such thing. All of it is possible. It is the burden that makes us think otherwise. And when one shakes off the burden then things can happen. This is perhaps the step that separates us from the dependency of the burden. Elsewhere, there may be established rules. But nowadays there are quite big global problems that are eliminating the matter of the location. Covid19 opened our eyes to this. The balloon bursted and we got completely wet. And yet again we are here and still creating, developing and to fair moving in a direction suitable for the times we live in.




How would you finish this?

The human needs to be provoked!



 

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