Borjana Ventzislavova is Vienna based and Sofia born artist. She gained MA in visual media arts at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria.
She works in the fields of film/video, installation, photography, performative and media art.
Her works have been exhibited internationally in solo and group shows as well as at media art and film festivals in many places in Europe, America and Asia, including, Belvedere 21er haus – Museum of contemporary art in Vienna, MAK Vienna, MAK Los Angeles, Lentos Linz, Museum of Modern Art Salzburg, Museum of Modern Art Carinthia, Museum of Modern Art - Esterházy Foundation, MUSA, Sofia Arsenal - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sofia City Art Gallery, National Art Gallery Sofia, Landesgalerie Linz, Essl Museum, k/haus, quartier21, Gallery bäckerstrasse4, Gallerie Ostlicht, Thomas K. Lang Gallery, BCI “Wittgenstein House” in Vienna, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Kurt-Kurt, LS43 in Berlin, Austrian Cultural Forum Washigton DC and London, ICA London, Academia gallery, Sofia, ICA Sofia, Art Today Plovdiv, Hunt gallery, St. Louis, US, Cologne Conference, IDFA, Diagonale, Graz, EMAF, Osnabrück, transmediale, Berlin, filmwinter, Stuttgart, Rencontres Internationales, Berwick Film and Media Arts Fest., Moscow Int. Filmfest., Int. Short Film Fest. Istanbul, Split Film Fest., etc.
She received the promotion award by the City of Vienna, the Austrian State Scholarship for Fine Art, Start Scholarship for Fine Art, winner of Top Ten Nonfiction Film Award at Cologne Conference, Otto Prutscher Fonds, Susmannstiftung, recognitions at Art in Motion, Los Angeles, Ars Electronica, , Linz, CYNETart, Dresden. She was artist in residence in London (ACF), Newcastle (ISIS Arts), Berkeley (CEC Artslink), Los Angeles (MAK Schindler), Athens (Snehta), Rom, Chicago, Banff Center and in 2019 NYC (BKA).
Her works are part of private and public colletions among the collection of BKA, Collection of the city of Vienna, Collection of National Art Gallery, Sofia, 21er Haus/Belvedere, LENTOS, Essl/Albertina, Estherhazy, Angerlehner Collections in Austria, a.o.
She has been granted honorable Austrian citizenship for her achievements in visual arts.
I am a cross-disciplinary artist who works in the fields of film/video, installation, photography, performing and new media art. In my art praxis I analyse stereotypical roles and models of representations and the impact of political and social power structures and control mechanisms on our existence.
The focus in my work lies in subjects such as identity, mobility, marginalization of individuals, as well as different social groups, migration and cohabitation, everyday connections and social relations. I am mainly interested in the processes of mobility and crossing of socio-geographical and cultural borders and how to deal with the complexity of communication and translation.
Focusing on documentary and narrative structures and constructions, I mix stages and situations, different styles and roles, text and sound into cases and stories that test the line between personal and social, examine the interaction between individual and collective in the frame of current events and history. The methods I use in my work often place it on the boundary between fiction and documentary.
because of the curtain, 2014.
- Material: C-PRINT, NEON 2014
- Width: 120.00 cm Height: 180.00 cm Depth: cm
- Description: In the three-part work "for the future because of the past - specters everywhere" (the curtain, behind the curtain, because the curtain) Borjana Ventzislavova deals with the propaganda of the "East" and the lure of the "West". The silvery curtain remi- niscent not by an accident the former "Iron Curtain", which stood for the seemingly insurmountable boundary between NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries. It seems to be hiding something seductive: A subject? A longing? The beautiful real life? At the same time, it refers itself as a ready-made Pop Art, a product of the world of consumerism, where the packaging is more impor- tant than the actual content. “for the future because of the past - specters everywhere” is that however Behind, revealed gradu- ally. On an almost overly nice kitschy-looking island is shining the neon sign "the bright future is still coming". This is, howev- er - very surprising for the Communist a rallying cry, with which the artist has faced as a teenager in her native Bulgaria. This sentence, which could also be derived from the Meditation Handbook for stressed managers, as well as the doubling and tripling of the motive stand for the relatedness of ideologies that are broken ironicly in this work. (Claudia Slanar)
HEY YOU! IT’S US!, 2016.
- Material: MIRROR GLASS FILM, NATO WIRE/RAZOR WIRE, SIZE VARIABLE
- Description: “Hey you! It’s us!” takes the Berlin Wall as a reference and reflects on the current phenomenon of enclosing Europe by building new walls and borders. The artist addresses our fear and puts a mirror in front of it – an uneven surface that reflects light and shadows, our own broken silhou- ettes. It is not the others but ourselves we are afraid of. “Hey you! It’s us!” is Borjana Ventzislavova’s answer to “fortress Europe”– let’s imagine walls as mirrors and take a good look at ourselves. (Dessislava Dimova)
AMERICAN DREAM ACTING, 2012.
- Photographer: Borjana Ventzislavova
- Material: 2-CHANNEL VIDEO, PHOTOGRAPHY
- Sizes: C-PRINTS 8P. 55X155, HD 2-CHANNEL VIDEO 57 MIN.
- Description: Case Study House #22 - mid-century modernist icon built in the Hollywood hills by Pierre Koenig, is the well-known location of numerous photo shoots and film sets and is thus serves as the ideal backdrop for Ventzislavova’s concept pieces. The work deal with the desire for, as well as the belief in, the illusion of making the American dream come true – in this case that of an act- ing career. In episodes spread throughout the day, the artist films and photographs people she has chosen through a casting process, drawing personal stories out of them, which are often tied to structural conditions, migration, assimilation, and foreignness.
15 MINUTE REVOLUTIONARY BED STORIES, 2015.
- Photographer: Borjana Ventzislavova
- Material: PERFORMANCE, VIDEO, POLAROIDS
- Description: 15 Minute Revolutionary Bed Stories offers a bedroom setting as a platform for radical rethinking.
For the performance “15 Minute Revolutionary Bed Stories” from the series "15 Minute Rest" Borjana Ventzislavova placed a typi- cal bedroom setup into the space of 21er Haus - the museum for contemporary art in Vienna.
What would you change if you had the chance?
The artist Borjana Ventzislavova invites the audience to spend 15 minutes in a staged bedroom to express ideas and suggestions for a personal or general social and / or political change. Whether realistic or utopian thoughts, actions, with voice or silent - the participants are free to behave actively or passively.
- Photographer: Borjana Ventzislavova
- Material: WALL PAPER SIZE VARIABLE, NEON OBJECT ON PLEXIGLAS 70X70CM
- Sizes: PLEXIGLAS 70X70CM
- Description: In “Lovejoy” named after the comet which is most famous for releasing types of sugar and alcohol in space, Borjana Ventzislavova presents us with a large wallpaper of a snapshot of the universe – millions of tiny stars, clouds, dust, galaxies, bright and colorful, somewhere among them – the greenish light of the comet Lovejoy. What stands out – literally- in the image is not the comet though, which is somehow lost among the heavenly bodies. A neon sign – a disproportionate pentagon - is posed on the image of the skies. Dreams and symbols are mixed up here, just like in the imagination of a young person growing up around 1989. Distant galaxies, omens of progress and other worlds encounter the collapse of ideologies: what becomes of our dreams in a world that seems to have stopped dreaming? (Dessislava Dimova)