Notes on Bov - insights on the process of Mundinger during KOREN Residency
In April, KOREN residency was launched by Atanas Levakov as curator and Magdalena Dudova as creative director/photographer in collaboration with Visionary for its first edition.
KOREN is a creative multidisciplinary art residency, located in the picturesque Balkan Mountains near Sofia, Bulgaria with the intention to present an annual curated format that will include established artists with a main focus on abstract muralism and fine art.
Johannes Mundinger - a German abstract painter, was the first invited artist in KOREN to reside in Villa Bov for one week (April 29th - May 5th) followed by a solo show Notes on Bov at Depoo Gallery, Sofia (May 9th - 16th).
Direct link to the facebook event: https://bit.ly/notes-on-bov
Villa Bov perches above the Iskar Valley. The view from the studio window stretches over the tracks and the road, on either side of the waterway, narrowing in a curve following its path and disappearing behind the next mountain. Below the villa, a side valley branches off, with several rows of houses nestled between trees on its slope. It leads to a rock ledge over which a waterfall plunges. The quarry, which processes the rock into the gravel on the opposite side of the valley, is unmistakably prominent, intruding into the idyllic perception.
Mundinger processed these impressions and translated them into paintings. Like the quarry, he breaks down the impressions of the valley into individual elements, dissects the lines and structures, and rearranges them, blending them with elements from his repertoire. The result is abstracted notes - Notes on Bov.
Curious about Mundinger’s creative process and experience of Koren residency? Read more in the discussion between the artist - Johannes Mundinger and the curator - Atanas Levakov below:
You've been part of different residencies. Can you share what's the most valuable part of thеsе kinds of projects?
For sure it's time off from your normal routine and liabilities. A residence gives space to focus on another level, while at the same brings new perspectives.
Did you find the limited time frame a negative aspect or a kick-start of the process?
Painting, as I did for the exhibition, requires a lot of decisions. If I have more time I contemplate more. In this case, it was a good reason to make these decisions faster, not getting lost in thoughts and doubts and too many changes. Still, I experimented with different materials and approaches but kept my focus.
How do you approach a project like this? Do you prepare yourself in advance or rely on improvisation on the go?
Knowing I'll only have a bit more than a week to prepare the whole exhibition, I decided to define some elements ahead and improvise on others.
I planned to work with drawings on paper and small format paintings on glass, choosing material I'm familiar with to have the time to focus on finding motives rather than develop everything from scratch.
This gave me the freedom to take time discovering Bov and its surrounding mountains, the quarry, the train tracks and waterfalls and to take some of these impressions back to the studio. I also took some time to experiment with other materials, carving wood, but in the end decided for glass paintings only.
Nature, beautiful scenery, and the village itself can be an inspiration. Did you relate your works to the stay at Bov or this was just a nuance on top of what you do usually?
What I enjoyed the most during my stay at Koren Residency, was having all the time to just be without having to think about anything besides enjoying the days and work for the exhibition. So maybe this freedom also found its way into the motives, but I also took bits of the structures, lines, textures, stairs and stacked-up buildings I found in Bov and around.
Does it help when there is assistance throughout the process or is it better for you as an artist to be in the zone on your own?
It depends a lot on the particular stage during the process. When I need to think things through, come up with concepts or make decisions it's good to have my own space for it first and then maybe discuss it with someone.
Also, there are some tasks I can delegate easily, preparing basic materials for example, while others I need to execute on my own. When painting I have a basic idea and composition, but the whole motive is usually developed within the process of painting, so that's something I can´t hand over.
Did you enjoy your stay at the house and how would you describe it to the future artists to come?
It was a real pleasure having experienced the great hospitality and support of KOREN Residency. I was happy being provided with all tools needed, having food prepared whenever I wanted and I had inspiring conversations with the hosts. So it was a great working environment for me.
Johannes Mundinger is an abstract painter and muralist from Berlin, Germany. He works in the sphere of drawing, mural painting, fine art, and installation. He also initiates collaborative projects like exhibitions, mural paintings, art processes, socially-engaged projects, etc.
Since 2012, he has held a studio grant from the Urban Spree Gallery and won the 2013 jury prize of the Berliner Kunstverein. Mundinger murals can be found throughout Europe, as well as in Mexico, Russia and the United States. His work has been shown in numerous galleries and institutions, including the Freiburger Kunstverein, the Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven and the Jewish Museum in Kraków. He had larger solo exhibitions at the Kunstverein Offenburg/Mittelbaden and the Yeoju Museum Korea.
Mundinger's artworks address the locations for which they are created. He often refers to a certain environment or place, dealing with the historical or social context, or playing aesthetically with given elements and atmospheres, which is used as a base from which the motive is developed.
More information about the artist and his work:
Photos in the publication: Magdalena Dudova, Mihaela Draganova, Nikola Bagarov
In 2023, the KOREN residency is organized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund, Bulgaria, Program for the Restoration and Development of Private Cultural Organizations, and The Singer-Zahariev Foundation and in partnership with SuperHosting.BG.