For just over three years, Scope BLN has been an experiential contemporary art platform for multi-disciplinary artists to create, exchange, and collaborate.
Welcoming artists from all over the world in our Artists-in-Residence program and exhibiting the works of creatives who are leaving their mark on the multi-faceted tapestry of Berlin, Scope BLN has turned into an epicenter of culture, located in Berlin-Moabit.
On June 9, 2023, we marked our birthday with the opening of the group exhibition EE TETRIS. Curated by the founder of Scope BLN Boris Kostadinov and artist Marta Djourina, the exhibition posed an array of open-ended questions regarding the integration of Eastern European artists into the current context of the West. It created an open space for reflection and appreciation, facilitated by the works of six Eastern European artists, and insinuated the journey of Scope BLN itself – born in the mind of a Bulgarian artist and curator Boris Kostadinov, realized in Berlin, and celebrating international artists.
We invite you to take a virtual walk through the space of the exhibition and become a part of the Scope BLN experience.
The group exhibition, which spanned across Scope BLN’s white cube room, the courtyard, and the basement, presented the works of six Eastern European artists closely intertwined with Berlin’s cultural scene.
In their individual practices, they explored the complexities of their biographies, identities, and narratives within the context of multi-cultural Berlin. Just like the individual blocks of a Tetris game, each of them has found their place on the playfield, forming the perfect row of collective pieces.
Veneta Androva fuses humor, film, and absurdity to arrange her personal row of EE Tetris blocks. While living in Germany, she faces stereotypes, misunderstandings, and non-acceptance of diversity, all of which are the basis of her personal stories and encounters. She uses an animated character in the shape of an absurd but also friendly creature as the protagonist of the film to retell the tales of “unsympathetic” experiences in a “sympathetic” form.
Two worlds merge into one in János Brückner’s painting installation. Basement Life is a time capsule of the early 1990s Western European TV commercials imprinted on the concrete walls of Eastern European apartments from that era. As a popular décor choice, large wallpapers inspired by the colors featured in illegally infiltrated capitalist advertisements alluded to the “good life” on the other side of The Wall. Just like a dream, János Brückner’s painting installation depicts the “sunny side of things” that remain only in the realm of fantasies and illusions. He uses a special painting technique he refers to as Human Printer to reconstruct visuals from that era.
János Brückner, From the series Dreams: Basement Life, 2023 Marta Djourina, Photographic Memory of (E)Motions, 2023
Bridging the West and the East through travel and the airport as a space of transit are the subject-matters of Marta Djourina’s work. The artist continuously travels from Berlin to Sofia, and later, from New York to Berlin. It’s precisely during this time that she creates her art: using her luggage as a pinhole camera, she captures the choreography of traveling in an archive of time. In the symbolic pilgrimage of departure and return, Marta Djourina positions the suitcase as focal to her Photographic Memory of (E)Motions – it is simultaneously a collaborator, a companion of travel, and works independently as a test instrument.
In her second work, One + All, Marta Djourina has invited the residents of Scope BLN’s building to share a personal object of high emotional and personal value with her. She has then adopted the photogram technique into a scanner to collage personal memories, present moments, past and future emotions associated with the objects.
Daria Kolstova transcends us to a time and space where sadness, destruction, and a burning of sacred treasure prevail. Summer 2022, Ukraine’s harvest had become the new battlefield; goldfields had turned into burnt darkness; a treasure had become ash. The wheat field is a crucial part of Ukraine’s iconography, and Ukrainian artist Daria Kolstova represents the eerie beauty of the sacred fields, inherent to the livelihood of the nation but now on fire, in her stained glass work. What’s left is a burnt blackness with only a few yellow spikes that have survived – a symbol of the power of life.
Drawing on another iconic symbol for Eastern Orthodox communities, Anton Stoianov weaves an archaic, pre-perspective visual language into his paintings with a modern uptake. He connects biblical narratives and figures with the microscopic world of insects to rewrite those narratives. What the viewer is left with are questions about spirituality, mysticism, religion, and how the natural world intersects with such doctrines.
And while Stoianov’s work leaves an open space for interpretation when it comes to set beliefs and religious concepts, Saša Tatić makes a declaration about her personal “immigrant laws”. In The Balance of Belongings, which is the newest piece from the ongoing series of participative installations Talking Backgrounds, the artist verbalizes personal and collective feelings, frustrations, and judgements that mediate the history of the diaspora. Saša Tatić facilitates a culture of exchange by designing the wall pieces as backdrops in which the audiences can step in and take photographs, thus becoming active participants in the installation and relating to the inscriptions.
Anton Stoianov, Dawn of the High Priest, 2023. Saša Tatić , The Balance of Belongings, 2023
Where Eastern Europe meets Western Europe
Each of the Eastern European artists featured in the exhibition has faced certain challenges when taking their individual practices to the West, where the unknown, the unpredictable, and the imbued with stereotypes awaits them.
The exhibition nuanced only a fraction of those experiences and emotions, without attempting to be all-comprehensive or provide generalizations. Rather, it represented one of the many successfully arranged rows of Tetris that has disappeared yet the individual blocks will keep searching for their place.. Again, and again…
“Marta Djourina and I are particularly pleased to have worked on the EE TETRIS project. This group show has become a hub for the exchange of ideas and reflections on Eastern European art and its professional and institutional representation in Berlin.
We are very happy that in one month the exhibition was seen by more than 450 visitors - artists, curators, gallerists and other creative professionals. What further makes us satisfied is that thanks to the support of Kunsfrofonds NEUSTART KULTUR we were able to provide each of the participating artists with both production funds and a decent participation fee,” commented Boris Kostadinov, curator of EE TETRIS.
EE TETRIS is a part of Scope BLN’s mission to provide space for the presentation of large-scale projects that celebrate collaboration and partnerships outside of our Artists-in-Residence program. EE TETRIS received the support of Stiftung Kunstfonds / NEUSTART KULTUR, and is the result of systematic collaboration with curators, artists, and institutions. You can learn more about the exhibition and the partaking artists on our website EE TETRIS.
Text by Eleonora Hristova
Eleonora Hristova is a Contributing Writer for Scope BLN. As a freelance writer, she specializes in art, fashion, culture, and music. In her work, she explores the intersections between past, present, and future with the multiple nuances of culture and current contexts.