Kunstverein Ost – KVOST for short – was established in 2018 and is dedicated to promoting artists who come from Eastern Europe or whose life and work are shaped by the former Eastern bloc.
Rada Boukova and Sirma Sarafova-Orahovac are two Bulgarian arists whose experiences and creative practices are at the same time radically different and remarkably parallel in essential points.
In their works, both women are concerned almost obsessively with mundane every-day objects: for her large-scale drawings, Sarafova-Orahovac arranges household goods, promotional items or souvenir kitsch into still lifes, while Boukovas installations extract the objects from their contexts, alienating and transforming them in the process: plastic bags become human skin, a rubber band becomes a crying mouth, building foam becomes bread.
Having spent most of her live in the socialist People’s Republic of Bulgaria, Sarafova-Orahovac gaze is primarily shaped by wonder towards the enchanted world of western objects. In contrast, Boukovas Interpretations are already tainted by the first-hand experience of consumer capitalism and a critique of commodity aesthetics.
Yet all exhibits share a common approach in using tangible or depicted objects as representations of human emotions and longings, including their immanent failure as a consolation for unfulfillable desires.
For the exhibition „Players and Pleasures" Boukova also acted as a curator, selecting Sarafova-Orahovac’s works und putting them into relation with her own works. In this, she deliberately didn’t chose a conceptual approach, instead combining the pieces visually and intuitively. Objects, forms and shaped serve as signposts and reference points within intersecting fictional rooms.
Rada Boukova was born in 1973 in Sofia is one of the best known contemporary Bulgarian artists today. At the 58th Biennale in Venice 2019 she will represent her country together with Lazar Lyutakov.
Sirma Sarafova-Orahovac was born in 1937 in Sofia. Even though she graduated with distinction from the National Art Academy in 1963, her artistic autonomy proved to be incompatible with the nationalised art establishment of socialist Bulgaria. As a result, she remained relatively unknown, until her work was rediscovered in 2006 by a new generation of Bulgarian artists and gallerists.
Diana Weis / 2019