ICA-Sofia Gallery
34, Vasil Levski Blvd Sofia, Bulgaria, CO 1504

Marta Djourina


Apr 5, 2024 May 11, 2024
Opening: April 5th, Friday 6-8 pm
Curator(s): Marina Slavova
Kalin Serapionov

Flashbacks is a trip back in time to the two months in early 2023 which Marta Djourina spent on an artist residency in New York City as the 2021 BAZA Award winner. The exhibition has an abstract-documentary characteristic and invites visitors to relive the memory of the journey, told through the artist's signature techniques.

Using the limitless possibilities of experimental photography, Marta Djourina explores her own identity, observes the world around us, turns the invisible into visible. She collaborates with light, creating controlled accidents in which technological knowledge and experience meet artistic curiosity and the thirst for experiment. It is light and its imprint on photo paper that appear as both the main means of expression in Marta's works, but also the object that contains all the information of time and space.The exhibition Flashbacks is made up of three elements - a video projection, objects out of plexiglas and a series of scanograms. The video Frame of Time (2023), shown for the first time at Verein Junge Kunst in Wolfsburg, unfolds panoramas shot during Marta's stay in New York. This abstract-documentary mode of working, in which travel becomes an experience of self-discovery and introspection, is also familiar from Marta Djourina’s previous works, such as Von Mir – An Mich, Doo and Travel Light. Carrying with her a small, self-made pinhole camera, the artist captures specific moments from her surroundings. Unlike conventional cameras, the pinhole camera does not capture static snapshots, but rather a stream of impressions. Blurred landscapes, silhouettes of buildings and coloured lights merge into one, hinting at their existence, yet leaving room for interpretation. The pinhole camera documents the gaze of the traveling artist in the midst of the hectic city, which she seems to be trying to absorb and memorize in an instant. The final image that remains, however, is vague and fragmented, emotional and subjective rather than concrete - like memory. Scanned and cropped, the individual images are merged into a film that recreates the choreography of a journey and recalls the rapidly changing sights on the move.The object out of plexiglass repeats, albeit stylised, the line of the path walked by Marta in New York. Placed between the projector and the projection wall, the object interacts with the video, creating multiple shadows, reflections and refractions of light. With its presence in the space, the line recalls the creative process of the artist, who in her large-format works captures the traces of her body's movements in the dark on photo paper, using different light sources and translucent objects. The impressions created by the plexiglass also hint at the idea of the narrative of the experience being distorted by the subjective perspective of the narrator.This series of scanograms shows typical souvenirs purchased by Marta Djourina during her stay in New York. Through the manipulation of the light print, the sentimental objects are deconstructed and decayed almost beyond recognition. In doing so, the artist again comments on and illuminates the theme of memory, its impermanence and potential for transformation over time, the desire for control over memory, and the subjective narrative of retelling.


The Young Artist Award was first established in 1990 in the Czech Republic by the founder and director of the Foundation for Civil Society (USA), Wendy Luers. Today the award exists in 12 European countries and has become one of the most prestigious awards and a serious professional testimonial. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Kosovo, Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Montenegro are among the countries that have joined the award initiative. As a result of the active exchange of information between the countries, the YVAA International Young Artists Awards Network was founded (http:// http://www.yvaawards.org).Bulgaria joined the international network in 2008 on the initiative of Maria Vassileva. The organizers of the BAZA Award for Contemporary Art are the Institute of Contemporary Art-Sofia and the Edmond Demirdjian Foundation. Since 2021, the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation has supported the nominated artists by funding their projects. The annual exhibition of the nominated artists takes place at the Sofia City Art Gallery.The contest is open to artists up to 35 years of age working in all media of contemporary art. The aim of the prize is to provide support for young artists by opening up new opportunities for education, research and professional development.The award consists of a two-month residency at Residency Unlimited, New York, as well as a solo exhibition at the ICA-Sofia Gallery. The award is sponsored by the Trust for Mutual Understanding, New York.


Marta Djourina (born in Sofia) studied at UDK (Berlin University of the Arts) and at the Glasgow School of Art. Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions such as Berlinische Galerie - Museum of Modern Art, Sofia Arsenal - Museum of Contemporary Art, FeldbuschWiesnerRudolph (Berlin), 3:e Väningen (Gothenburg), Mark Müller (Zurich), CAN (Neuchâtel). She is the recipient of the BAZA Award for Contemporary Art (2021), the Eberhard Roters Fellowship (from the Preussische Seehandlung Foundation, linked to an exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie, 2020), the AArtist in Residence and Fellowship at the German Federal Foreign Office (2022), the Goldrausch Künstlerinneprojekt (2022), the Marianne Brandt Prize for Photography and many others. In 2023 Djourina spent two months in New York at the RU Residency Unlimited (as the winner of the 2021 BAZA Award) and three in Paris as an ADP Fellow at the European Investment Bank's Paris program with mentor Tatiana Trouvé. At the beginning of 2024, Marta Djourina published her first comprehensive monograph with DISTANZ Berlin.

Part of the 2024 annual program of ICA-Sofia entitled "Superpositions 3*". The programme is guided by the principle that interdisciplinarity is a major vector in contemporary art practice. The series of exhibitions examine the connections between art and fields such as: politics / poetics; science and technology; popular culture; gender and social movements; ecology and migration. The discursive couples are reflected in the structure of each exhibition - a dialogue between two authors - one from Bulgaria and one guest.

*Superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum physics, according to which every elementary particle exists in all its theoretically possible positions simultaneously; but when measured or observed, it gives a result corresponding to only one possible configuration.

The annual programme "Superpositions" is supported by the National Fund Culture / Annual Programme for Support of Professional Organisations in the Field of Arts

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