"With the mirror light you can move inside human buildings. Some buildings have no windows, others are completely made of glass and still others have the shutters closed. Some are solidly built, others are temporary, like tents".
Based upon observation of daily life, Mariana Vassileva's works respond to an element of playfulness in us all.
With the curious gaze of a voyeur of an urban anthropologist, the artist observes people and their surroundings in order to capture a moment of poetic imagery. Watching, and the distance it implies, are both method and subject of work refecting on human concerns familiar to us all: communication, cultural displacement, relations with self and other, loneliness, and the humour hidden within the rhythms of the day to day.
A cultural transplant herself, the Berlin-based artist here takes us on a multi cultural journey, turning the honed perspective of an outsider onto daily details, which normally go unnoticed. In Mexico, Colombia, Chile and closer to home, Mariana's delicate observations show us how many reasons to smile we forgo if we don't look around us.
Wandering through the exhibition, we fnd an elderly shoeshine who in his 50- year career never before had a
woman sit in his chair, painting shoes onto her bare feet with shoe polish. To the soundtrack of the stock market, the artist gently crashes an all male world, subtly questioning norms taken for granted across the globe.
Equally universal, a street musician sings a lullaby for sleeping strays, providing a soundtrack to a thriving city where people work and play, and where the two are often one and the same. In another work, two policemen are trying in vain to direct a chaotic stream of trafc. But is their work futile, or do they exemplify a culture in motion, moving to its own rhythm? Here, as in many of the artist's works, music adds a forceful dimension to the beauty of a simple image, reinforce its rhythm and harmony with its own playful narrative.
Further examining social sculpture in her video work, the artist turns her gaze, and ours, onto the family.
Playing with conventions of portraiture, tradition, identity, and time, we're given a heartwarming glimpse into the ageless qualities, which make us most human.
While in her sculptural works, the artist also addresses and subtly inverts social frameworks. The title pieces of this exhibition is a hand making the sign of peace, while a rubber band attached to the two outstretched fingers turns the victorious gesture into the playful violence of a slingshot. Just as the object is both weapon and toy, equally the gesture, with a fip of the wrist, signifes vastly difering things in diferent cultures.
Performing a delicate play on word, gestures, contexts, and perspectives, these and the other works, which comprise the exhibition, remind us that if we look at the world with a playful gaze, moments of beauty are ample.
Mariana Vassileva was born 1964 in Bulgaria and studied at the Universität der Ku?nste in Berlin. She has exhibited her work in museums worldwide, including the Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal, Canada,Tate Britain, London, and Reina Sofa in Madrid. She has participated in several Biennials, such as the recent Biennial Vento Sul in Curitiba, Brazil (2009). Her works are part of the Collection Lemaitre and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, amongst others. The artist lives and works in Berlin.