For the 12th year of wrapping the Ringturm building in Vienna, Austria, curator Philippe Batka selected the work of artist Daniela Kostova. The project is based on Kostova's photography "Cosmonaut 1001", which presents an absurd scene of a baby-astronaut with a white dove perched on her helmet, and her suit has Bulgarian and American badges on it. "The inspiration and enthusiasm in the case of Ringturm came from the scale of the building, its history and the architectural environment. I had to develop a narrative in this specific situation by adding new elements on each side of the building."
Future Dreaming is precisely what Kostova is seeking in her recent works. This relationship between destruction and creation, how art and creativity can turn the negative into the positive, the bombarded areas into adventure playgrounds, the tragedy into a chance, and how to find this balance in which the history, the present and the future live together, and one is not at the expense of the other. Building on the memories and lessons of the past as part of our future.
The Ringturm building fits well with this story, a landmark in the center of Vienna, it was erected after the destruction of World War II and marked the revival of the city.
“This year, we again deliberately chose an artist from an East European country. This turns the cultural spotlight on the regions in Eastern Europe where our Group operates, shifting the focus away from our daily business of policies and premiums. Daniela Kostova is a seamless addition to the impressive list of East European artists who have been commissioned for the artistic wrapping of the Ringturm,” Günter Geyer, Chairman of the Managing Board of Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, explained.
The 2019 artistic wrapping of the Ringturm was officially opened on June 26th at a ceremony attended by Austrian Foreign and Culture Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Bulgaria’s Deputy Culture Minister Amelia Gesheva. Culture Minister Schallenberg highlighted the international cultural contribution made by the art installation in the heart of Vienna, which has become an established tradition over the years: “For the 12th time, the artistic wrapping of the Ringturm has created a prominent symbol that reflects the broad spectrum of contemporary Austrian and international art. I’m especially pleased that a conscious decision is made time and again to give artists from Central and Eastern Europe a space in which to display their work on this striking landmark. The wrappings address topics that are significant for society and mirror current events, prompting us to reflect on them.”
Talking about her work Kostova commented: “In my work I have repeatedly dealt with the question of what ‘safe play’ signifies in various cultural and social contexts. The site-specific display of this particular project adds another dimension to the subject. What interests me here is the wide angle through which we can take a look at the future of our children”.
Daniela Kostova combines photography, sculpture and architecture to create large-scale installations, which challenge viewers preconceived perception of reality. Her work addresses issues of migration and cultural representation by drawing parallel between societies at different stages of capitalist development. Informed by her personal history of a Bulgarian-American immigrant it looks for reoccurring narratives and emerging hybrid forms.
If there is one message we can derive from this work by Kostova is that we are as big as our dreams are! And that we must be brave in our wishes and intentions. We must not forget that we are part of a larger interconnected system that needs a balance. That this balance is fragile and despite of the seeming progress that we have made as a society, we are still somewhere in the beginning, we only made the first step.