Curatorial Program of Open Arts Foundation

The curatorial program’s main goal is to present different perspectives on contemporary art and to provide a free space for experiments and new ideas in the specific context of the Night of Museums and Galleries - Plovdiv – time limitations to one or two evenings, its many thousands audience and dynamic atmosphere.


The Open Arts Foundation has invited curator and art critic Iara Boubnova to curate its new International Projects Platform in this year’s edition of the Plovdiv Night of Museums and Galleries.

One of these projects is the installation Lighthouse (1996–2011) by Vadim Fishkin, which on the evening of 17 September will run along the length of Otets Paisiy St. in downtown Plovdiv, using the street’s lighting system as its main element. The work will be shown simultaneously in one of the central squares of Moscow.

In Lighthouse, the heartbeat of artist Vadim Fishkin is transmitted into the street’s lighting system in real time. Using a smart phone as his command tool, Fishkin materialises one of the most romantic metaphors for the relationship between artist and public. “The artist lives and creates with his heart” – it turns out that this age old cliché might actually be true. Fishkin’s energy is transformed into visible light and sent out around the world with a universal message unlimited by the artist’s current location.

Lighthouse – an amalgam of art, science and technology – was first shown at the first edition of Manifesta in Rotterdam in 1996 and later the same year decorated the fretwork dome of the Vienna Secession.

Fishkin’s curriculum vitae includes twenty solo exhibitions and participations in hundreds of group ones in countries around the world, as well as a unique biographical detail. He has taken part in the Venice Biennial of Contemporary Art twice – once collectively, as a representative of his native Russia (1995) and a second time with a solo exhibition as a representative of Slovenia, where he has lived for the past twenty years.


The Open Arts Foundation has invited curator and art critic Iara Boubnova to curate its new International Projects Platform in this year’s edition of the Plovdiv Night of Museums and Galleries.

One of the projects selected by Iara Boubnova is East Art Map (2002) by the Slovenian art collective IRWIN. Their work will be shown for a limited period of eight hours in an independent space at 36 Otets Paisiy St. on Saturday, 17 September, starting 7 p.m. A special guest of the Night of Museums and Galleries will be the artist and IRWIN member Miran Mohar.

East Art Map is a unique international political and research project started by IRWIN in 2001. Despite their already successful international career, the artists were aware of the gaps in the so called history of world art, especially as far as contemporary art is concerned. In East Art Map, they invited curators and critics from the former Soviet block to name artists and events from the second half of the 20th century which have shaped the language and messages of art on “our” side of the Iron Curtain, before and after its fall.

The project comprises of an installation, which contains the map of artistic interconnections and influences, a selection of videos and a data base. After it was released as a book by the MIT Press, East Art Map has become a popular reference tool for those interested in Eastern European art. The project’s slogan – “History is not given. Please help to construct it” – summarises IRWIN’s philosophy and explains their success in claiming visibility for artists who have shunned the power structures of both politics and the market.

The IRWIN art collective was formed in 1983 by Dusan Mandic, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, Borut Vogelnik, whose background at the time was in the Slovenian punk and graffiti scene. Together with the music band Laibach, they co-founded the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective. Their best known projects to date include: Retroavantguard, NSK Embassies of Time, NSK Guard, as well as their Consulates, which issue the prestigious NSK passports. Among IRWIN’s most important international presentations are: the 9th Istanbul Biennial of Contemporary Art (2005), the 50th Biennial of Contemporary Art in Venice (2003), Manifesta in Rotterdam (1996), Eye on Europe at the Museum of Modern Art – MoMa, New York (2006), and Das Schwarze Quadrat: Hommage an Malewitsch at the Kunsthalle in Hamburg (2007).

Ⓒ Media cafe

Ⓒ Мария Иванова

Ⓒ Media cafe

Iara Boubnova, curator and art critic from Sofia, was born in Moscow, Russia, where she graduated the Department of Art History and Theory of Moscow State University and worked as a Junior Editor at the “Soviet Artist” Publishing House. Since 1985, she works at the National Gallery for Foreign Art in Sofia as a Curator of the Department of East European Art. Between 2003 and 2006 she was the Project Leader of the Visual Seminar multidisciplinary project dedicated to the urban environment of neo-capitalism.

Since 2009, Iara Boubnova directs the program of ICA-Sofia Gallery, that among other events involves group and individual shows, lecture program, presentations, the BAZA Award for Young Bulgarian Artist and the «Essential Reading for Writers about Contemporary Art» award for criticism.

Among her last curatorial projects are: “After the Flight”, ICA–Sofia Gallery; “An Elusive Object of Art”, Dana Charkasi Galerie, Vienna (both 2011); “Photo I, Photo You”, Calvert 22, London; “Beyond Credit”, Istanbul, Turkey (both 2010); “From Ideology to Economy. Bulgarian Contemporary Art 20 Years Later,” State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, Moscow; “Techniques”, inaugural show of the ICA Gallery, Sofia; “Common History and its Personal Stories”, MUSA (Museum auf Abruf), Vienna; Nedko Solakov, Sofia Municipal Gallery, Sofia; «Liquid Frontiers» as a part of «Europe XXL» in Lille, France (2009).

She had curated “History in Present Tense” as part of “‘FOOTNOTES on Geopolitics, Market and Amnesia” – the 2nd Moscow Biennial – both 2007; «Joy” at Casino Luxembourg and “Dialectics of Hope”, the 1st Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2005; Manifesta 4 in Frankfurt am Main in 2002 – all as co-cutrator; “Talk with the Man on the Street” part of the 4th Biennial in Cetinje, Montenegro; “Double-Bind”(co-curator) in 2003, “Locally Interested” in 1999 – both in Sofia and “Ars ex Nacionem. Made in BG“ in 1997 and “In Search of the Self-Reflection” in 1994 – both in Plovdiv.

She curated and organized Bulgarian National Participations at the 48th Biennale di Venezia (1999); the 3rd Biennial in Cetinje, Montenegro (1997); the 4th St. Petersburg Biennial (1996); the 4th Istanbul Biennial (1995); and the 22nd Sao Paulo Biennial (1994).

Iara Boubnova is President of the Bulgarian Section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics), a Board Member of the International Foundation Manifesta, a Member of ECP (European Cultural Parliament), of CIMAM (International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art) and IKT (International association of curators of contemporary art). Since 2008 she is a Memeber of the Artistic Advisory Committee of MOCA China, Hong Kong.

Since 1995 Iara Boubnova is the founding Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia.