A space for art in Sofia



APRIL 25 – MAY 31 2015


In April, the air is crystal clear, the sky—light and blue. Rain gushes on the streets. People are getting busy. Stars are still hinting at other universes. The TV is running in the back of the apartment. Some surreal soap is on, then the news. Hot summer is coming.

SWIMMING POOL is thrilled to present its inaugural exhibition Balconia with Stefania Batoeva, Yves Scherer and Emanuel Röhss. For this first show the artists traverse the real to denote new possibilities.

The premises of the space—a terrace with a pool on the top of a modernist building in the centre of Sofia—define the horizon. When you look around you see the rooftops of Sofia, a rough and visually eclectic city. Back on the roof, the exhibition within a dated domestic setting—infused with fragmented memories.

“Balconia” refers to a vacation spent at home.
It means travelling slow, travelling inwards, not swapping geographies but re-defining one’s perspective of the world from one’s own balcony. It is a desire to transform that does not lead to consumerism but envisions new realities.

In her recent work Stefania Batoeva composes dense painterly scenarios on the verge of figuration. For Balconia, Batoeva expands on a new exploration of a fictional “Club Caligula”. Her loosely placed characters travel to this new work carried by a depiction of euphoria. Her paintings thus become heterotopias full of emancipatory potential as zones of regaining freedom. Within the capitalistic economy of our days emotions could be considered as a saleable product—but still a dangerous one as it hides un-calculability.

Emanuel Röhss presents objects derived from the living environments in ludicrous residential neighbourhoods in the Hollywood Hills. He has
appropriated elements from ornamented exterior forms and carved stone figures to create new synthetic sculptures. These recent works are superimposed with a collection of artefacts borrowed directly from the last inhabitant of the apartment that now hosts Balconia. Röhss enters the position of a collector of tastes, connecting localities of aesthetic schemes, both private and directed at the public. This action prods us to consider the effect subjectivity of taste has on a more universal scale.

William Gibson once described the Internet as a massive consensual hallucination. Yves Scherer enters Balconia with a sculptural facsimile of Emma Watson. It belongs to a series of works based on allegedly leaked nude photographs of the actress, virally circulating the Internet, which are in fact
the actress’s head pasted onto a sexualised body. Scherer’s statues are 3D modelled, then digitally milled and sometimes re-cast physical extensions of the faked images. Here we find “Emma” in different psychological states; this materialization, however, seems to be nothing more than an enforcement of the simulacrum order laid online. A second work on display is a low-res recording of a friend of Scherer’s smoking. In a Warholian manner, the unspectacular is turned, through the camera, into an event. The video throws back to the reality show running on the forgotten TV screen in the living room. The homely setting of the exhibition space is duplicated as fictional residents ghost through on a parallel level – possibly the ones of Club Caligula docked at Batoeva’s paintings?

Balconia is curated by Viktoria Draganova. The exhibition is finacially supported by
Stolichna Programa „Kultura“

Stefania Batoeva (b. 1981, Sofia, BG) is based in London. Recent solo exhibitions include: Club Caligula (with Ilja Karilampi, Leslie Kulesh and Isaac Lythgoe), Supplement, London (2015), Angela Is Sliding, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest (2014), PAUL, Sariev Contemporary, Plovdiv (2014) and Still No Masterplan, Almanac Projects, London (2013). Recent group exhibitions include: You will find me if you want me in the garden”, Galerie Valentin, Paris (2015), Got Tortilla with Butter on Phone. Think it’s the End?, Rod Barton Gallery, London and MAJESTIC BATHER, 68 square metres, Copenhagen (both 2014).

Emanuel Röhss (b. 1985, Gothenburg, SE) is in transit. Solo exhibitions in Museo Pino Pescali, Polignano a Mare and T293, Rome (both 2015); Soft Jazz, Carl Kostyal, Stockholm (2014), Knut Ljngfeldt, Project Native Informant, London (2014) and WEY, Museo de la Ciudad, Queretaro, MX (2013). Recent group exhibitions: Towers of Dub, Thomas Duncan, Los Angeles; Morphing Overnight, Seventeen, London; Tomorrow: London, South London Gallery, London; Postcodes, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Meet Your Maker, Carl Kostyal, Stockholm; at T293, Naples and Carl Kostyal, London (all 2014).

Yves Scherer (b. 1987 in Solothurn, CH) is based in London and Berlin. Solo exhibitions: Closer, Galerie Guido W. Baudach Berlin, Coney Island, S.A.L.T.S., Basel (both 2014); SKYLINE, SSZ Sued, Cologne (2013); Evolution & Comfort, Almanac Projects, London (2013) and Nail Care, Times Bar, Berlin (2012). Group exhibitions: New Contemporaries, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, National Gallery, Grand Century, New York and After Care, Center, Berlin (all 2014); Spike Island, Bristol and Regionale 14, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel (both 2013).

SWIMMING POOL is a space for art in Sofia. It develops its programme through international collaborations and exchange of ideas. The space hosts two exhibitions per year and offers short-term residences to artists, curators and researchers. The premises are located on a rooftop in the city center of Sofia. Built in 1939, they consist of inner spaces as well as a terrace with a swimming pool situated in the middle. The currently empty, tiled pool is available as a blue cube for artistic and curatorial projects as well as readings, screenings and performances. The non-profit organization SWIMMING POOL was founded in 2014 by Viktoria Draganova.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-17 um 10.02.42