Herbarium Collection

Art Project Depot - Herbarium Collection
08.04 - 30.05.2021
Sofia Arsenal - Museum for Contemporary Art (SAMCA), Sofia

Curated by Irina Batkova

The Herbarium collection documents the energy of the creative act, whether it is a fixed momentary impulse or a precisely considered gesture. Herbarization is the act of capturing memories, emotions, words, images that have lost their meaning, images that have gradually become essential, the explosive joy of new ideas, its transformation into calm indifference, or in short, the ceaseless human quest for meaning in all its dimensions. What would the selection of museum specimens of world culture look like if it were the work of artists rather than art historians? In what way would each artist summarize their creativity in a space limited in physical parameters? How would one's own view of a personal field of artistic expression overturn some research models?

The project Herbarium , by Irina Batkova, explores the working environment in contemporary culture where ideas are born and exchanged. The focus of "Herbarium" is to create a collection that captures in 40x40x10, 40x20x10 or 20x40x10 boxes the creative energy of different generations of artists around the world. The content of each box is accompanied by a description and a sound file with the artist's voice, which are presented in exhibitions specially selected from the collection and on the website www.herbariumcollection.com.

Invited by the Herbarium curator, the artists select two new participants - this is how the project tracks creative contacts in the art world. The development of the collection has no time limits, it grows exponentially with each new participant until the final exhibition is announced.

The video portrait series H Talks, directed by Milena Kaneva, were filmed in the working environment of the visual artists as part of the archive of the Herbarium project. In the short films, the artists describe the creative process of realizing ideas and concepts about the world and people, the themes that excite them, the creative forces that drive them to move forward.

The website www.herbariumcollection.com contains all the information gathered in the process of developing the archive. All of the artists are represented both with the collection boxes and a further selection of photographs from their selected exhibitions and works. This virtual database is accessible to anyone - researchers, curators, gallerists, students or art lovers - interested in the less visible mechanisms by which contemporary culture functions.

The first exhibition of the "Herbarium as a Place for Storage of Ideas" included 55 artists from Bulgaria, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Finland, Turkey and Austria. It took place in April 2021 at the Sofia Arsenal - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sofia.

The project is implemented by Art Project Depot.
The films are produced by MK Production in partnership with Art Project Depot.