7 abstract paintings for 7 days in the 2nd edition of KOREN residency


What is a “root”? It may have many symbolic dimensions but it always creates a bridge between two existences and at the same time is a source of life-giving power - connecting the tree with the earth, the man with nature and the outer & inner worlds.

In this sense, the intention of the founders of the KOREN residency - Atanas Levakov & Magdalena Dudova - is to provide a place inspiring with new creative perspectives through solitude and isolation from the urban environment in the beautiful and majestic nature of the Iskar Valley & the Balkan Mountains, giving the opportunity for experimentation and combining diverse media in artistic process.

In the second edition of the curatorial format, we meet with the German abstract artist Steffen Mischke. He spent a week in the village of Bov as part of the residency. The result is 7 abstract paintings, organized in a solo exhibition “Seven days à BOV” and presented in Depoo Gallery from 15-22 June 2023.

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The typical explosions of colours in Mischke's paintings were influenced by the atmosphere of the KOREN residency house, shares the artist himself. You can read more about what he communicates regarding his experience and creative process during the residency period:


You have been part of different residencies. Can you share what is the most valuable about this type of project? 

Being outside my everyday life, of course, changes perspectives. If I don’t have to care about anything else but my art, it’s definitely visible in the outcome. It feels different, too. Hope that’s also visible by the viewer in the end.


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Do you see the limited time frame as a negative aspect or rather as a fresh impetus in the process?

The limited time frame helps me a lot to focus. I distract myself very easily with all kinds of other work. So the pressure of an upcoming deadline puts a lot more concentration in one single project. I love that.


How do you approach a project like this? Do you prepare in advance or rely on improvisation on the fly?

Of course, I thought about this and that. But I know myself well enough that I won’t stick to my plans and only make up rules to break them. So in the end: No preparation at all. The frame sizes were chosen and built on my first day at Bov, for example


Nature, beautiful views and the village itself can be an inspiration. Did you relate your works with the stay at Bov or was it just a nuance on what you usually do?

I did what I usually do. A constant work in progress. But Villa Bov for sure had an influence. The colours in the house that Atanas and Magdalena chose had an impact on the colours I chose for my paintings.



Does it help to have someone to lean on throughout the process, or is it better for you as an artist to concentrate in solitude?

Bov (Both) - laughs Mischke. But not at the same time. I need to work alone, but I need time for reflection and feedback from someone who isn’t involved in the process as well.


Did you enjoy your stay in the house and how would you describe it to future artists? 

It’s amazing. The mountains, the river… Maggy and Nasko take care of your needs, with help, advice, connections and tasty yummy yummy food which is a visual pleasure as well. You will take pictures of your dish everyday like annoying Instagram influencers.


Steffen Mischke (1982) studied art with a focus on painting at the University of Dortmund and the Academies of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf and Münster.

In his work, Mischke uses moments of abstract expressionism, the most diverse elements of successive movements, such as the gestures of Neue Wilden and subcultural art phenomena of the 1980s and 90s.

More about the artist: https://www.steffenmischke.de 


Photos in the post: Mihaela Draganova, Magdalena Dudova

Text by Liliya Varadinova

KOREN is a collaboration between Visionary x Atanas Levakov x Magdalena Dudova.

Curator: Atanas Levakov

In 2023, KOREN residency is organized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund / Program for Restoration and Development of Private Cultural Organizations, the Singer-Zahariev Foundation and in partnership with SuperHosting.BG.