Martina Vacheva awarded the Research Residency Award of the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts
This year's Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is titled “Crack Up – Crack Down" and is curated by the collective Slavs and Tatars and focuses on the genre of satire. It was opened on 7 June and can be viewed until 29 September 2019 in the Slovenian capital.
The news was announced on the Biennial's website:
Martina Vacheva (b. 1988) is an artist whose work in ceramics, painting, and print weave seamlessly between pop culture, folk mythology and social commentary. Her roots in fanzine culture can be seen in her collage and drawing output, as well as the quick-fire print economy which accompanies the burlesque strokes. Vacheva uses universal archetypes such as the hero, the rebel or the jester in her prints and paintings. Her world is populated by characters from popular culture, such as Jabba the Hutt (Star Wars) and Kukeri, elaborately costumed Bulgarian folk characters.
Vacheva visits two archetypes – the Balkan trickster Bay Ganjo and the Roman god Hercules – on the occasion of the Biennial. The lesser known of the two, Bay Ganjo, is a fictional anti-hero character, created in the 19th century by writer Aleko Konstantinov (1863–1897), as a parody of an uncouth, rural Bulgarian. Akin to Fran Levstik’s Martin Krpan in Slovenia, the character has become an archetype in the ensuing century and a half of nascent nationalism, instrumentalised by various, often opposing parties, from rightwing extremists to progressives, modernisers to traditionalists. Bulgarian Rose Queen and Bikini Car Wash see Vacheva extend her stinging presentation of sexual exploitation, in such vernacular rituals as car washes and beauty pageants.
Photo: Urška Boljkovac. Archive: MGLC.