Professional background

Veronika Tzekova is an artist, urban practitioner and creative strategist, with main practice in articulating and conceptualizing in the filed of fine arts, the broad spectrum of public spaces and urban imaginaries.

Veronika Tzekova graduated MFA from Dutch Art Institute (DAI), postgraduate interdisciplinary research in visual arts and media, Enschede, The Netherlands in 2001. In 2004/2005 she took part in „Transnational Spaces”, a postgraduate program by Bauhaus Foundation, Dessau, Germany. Her projects and art works were presented in solo and group exhibitions in Belgium, France, Slovenia, Luxemburg, Austria, Italy, Serbia, Germany, Turkey, The Netherlands, Greece, Slovakia, USA, Canada and Bulgaria.

Veronika took part in several artists in residence programs in Austria, Turkey, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Italy. In 2012 she took part in the winner of Bank of Austria Award „BLACK SEA CALLINGˮ Artist-in-Residence exchange programme between Austria and nine countries around the Black Sea and hosted by and Cultural City Network Graz, Graz, Austria, 2012 and now she joined the residency programs MPRA in Poznan, Poland and later will participate in a residency at the Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory, Yerevan, Armenia. Previously she won an UniCredit grant for UNIDEE in Residence International Program, Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Italy in 2010.

In 2011 Veronika Tzekova was nominated for several awards among which „GO11 AWARD FOR URBAN ALTERNATE USEˮ with her project „Space Appropriator#3/ Junior Pro-Ballˮ.

Veronika Tzekova, „Space Appropriator#3/ Junior Pro-Ball”, 2011

Veronika Tzekova is an author of the launched in 2011 project „Urban Olympics 2011ˮ, Sofia, Bulgaria and in 2012 elaborated and applied in different cities and urban designs and contexts, one of which is the „PARK&PLAYˮ series in Graz, Austria. In 2012 Veronika also develops the multiparty project „Challenged Gamesˮ, parts of which have been already presented in „the Include the City Festivalˮ, Burgas, Bulgaria; exhibited in „Centrum galleryˮ, Graz, Austria and „Sofia Design Week 2012ˮ.

Veronika Tzekova, „Game Overˮ, 2012

In the last couple of years her artistic process and production are inspired and evolve around urban environment by itself and as a result of nowadays intense social and economic dynamics.

Veronika Tzekova, „Space Appropriator #4/ Ludo KD #2ˮ, 2012

Temporary urban processes and their visual expressions have interested her as an artist for a long time. To this point in her career, her field research and artistic outcomes have focused on and emerged from engagements with urban districts in cities like Sofia (BG), Dessau (DE), Berlin (DE), Istanbul (TR), Giverny (FR), Biella (IT), San Remo (IT) and others. She often finds in what most would consider banal daily phenomena a wealth of condensed information for the time period and the social practices from which such temporary urban processes emerge. Since 2005, this process lead her to the development of the conceptual framework and project idea EuroMosque within the Transnational Spaces, a project by Bauhaus Foundation, Dessau and the creation of series monuments to temporary processes such as „Reconstructed Identityˮ (2005), „WUMAMPAROI #1ˮ (2008-ongoing), „Space NRGZer #4ˮ (2010) and „Dadissuasoriˮ ( 2010).

Veronika Tzekova, „WUMAMPAROI (When You Make a Mistake Put a Rose on It)ˮ, 2008-ongoing

Veronika Tzekova, „Reconstructed Identityˮ, 2002-2005

Since last year her focus is particularly on elements of urban fabric and urban furniture (the series „Space NRZersˮ and „Space Appropriatorsˮ) and rethinking public space through its usage. Both series are interventions in elements she consider „ill” in public spaces of cities in different countries where I’ve been residing for a shorter or longer period. The availabilities of the spots are kept and the intervention is an add-on, which shifts the energy, the appearance, the meaning or the function of it. She is as well interested and inquisitive about the crucial role of urban space design as mediator of ideas and motivating behavioral patterns.

Veronika Tzekova, „Space NRGZer #1ˮ, 2010

Many of her projects are culture specific and can be considered as public-minded art addressing communication needs of concrete locations and situations. Generally their objective is visually condensing, emphasizing and finger pointing.

Veronika Tzekova, „Space NRGZer #4ˮ, 2010

MPRA residency projects

The main project Veronika is working on during her residency is „FOOOOTBALLLLˮ. „FOOOOTBALLLLˮ is a land art installation coming in the shape of outdoors game. The shape of the playground is achieved from the basis of the original football field to which perpendicularly is added a second identical one. The ball remains one, the new configuration of the game results in the number of teams being doubled and there are now four goal lines instead of two. The possibilities to score are tripled as are the number of opponents. The level of difficulty is increased but so are the opportunities.

Veronika Tzekova, „FOOOOTBALLLLˮ, 2010-ongoing, drawing for the projects

The game field is to be produced in the original size and proportion of a football field (though size and medium used can be adjusted to a particular site) and installed as piece of landscape art that can also function as a game in public space in a natural surrounding.

Veronika Tzekova, „FOOOOTBALLLLˮ, 2010-ongoing, visualization for the project in Poznan

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In her recent practice as an artist and urban practitioner she employs both structured (such as games) and unstructured (such as toys) forms of play.

„Challenged Games (The plausible possible or Monuments to CHAlleNGEauthor’s games and toy designs, based on already existing and familiar ones and fusing conceptual art and design. The project „FOOOOTBALLLLˮ is part of the series.

Nothing lights up the brain like play. Playing is an essential learning medium not only for kids and can be applied to a broad spectrum of activities: object play, body play, social play, imaginative play, ritual play, etc. Play is leg up on adaptability, develops emotional maturity, improves decision making and problem solving, Play is also a great empathy tool for projecting activities. It is a genetic birthright and extraordinary transformative force.

Playing is not an anarchy. It has regulations and codes of negotiation. Games have components and are played by rules. In the „Challenged Gamesˮ one of these is “hacked” and challenges the game and the players’ intelligence to adapt and evolve, which is an essential tool for positively rethinking and creatively altering one’s habitat.

„Challenged Gamesˮ are suggestive forms of play with routine, common rules and knowledge and the status quo. Popular and familiar games and toys are rediscovered, transformed beyond the infra ordinary and introduced so to challenge the public intelligence and social interactivity. Through upcycling the very base of learning tools such as games and toys, memory and habituation are reshuffled, so to open new horizons for individual emotional and noetic experiences, infuse unbridled creativity and change the mind setup, behavior and response patterns on a daily basis.

The „Challenged Gamesˮ concept:

– Questions individual positioning in society, choices, social interactivity and exchanges, and provokes new realms of communication and competition.

– Defies in a playfully subversive way rules.

– Can be used as an instrument for gathering lager groups of people, either in spontaneous games or with organized teams in particular occasion. The originality of the design, the mixture of familiar and strange in the setup of the game creates new challenges and will stimulate and motivate people to visit the site and exercise physically, mentally and socially playing the „Challenged Gamesˮ.

– The „Challenged Gamesˮ have the potential to turn into landmark. And even though playing the game is important, it is not crucial. The important is that people start thinking in a „what if…?” manner. We are all after opportunities, but they rarely come without difficulties. We all cherish change, but fear the challenges it brings. Through changing the original challenge of the games the „Challenged Gamesˮ concept challenges a change to occur in the public’s intelligence and push it to function in a world with multiplied opportunities and respectively to handle multiplied difficulties.

„Challenged Gamesˮ are also about (but not only):

  • Art with and in public space;
  • creaCtivities with and in public space
  • Space NRGZing;
  • Space Appropriation;
  • Games as a tool to highlight conflicts of interest in public space.
  • Design with the city rather than designing the city.

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Apart of her main project Veronika is going to participate in In Conversation event „The Challenges of Games – from the reality and back” together with the curator of the exhibition „Magic of Games” at the Archeological Museum in Poznan, Agnieszka Stempin.

Veronika Tzekova, „PARK&PLAY #3 (Chess)”, 2012

The artist will as well lead two workshops in cooperation with Concordia Design Center. The workshop „Play Unlimited” will encourage participants to observe and establish proactive relationship with their environment, defy „passive consumer” attitude, seek for other functions of objects and potentials of situations and exemplify that play can happen unlimited of space and availabilities, props can be found and reinvented everywhere. For the event the company VOX Furniture will produce special playable version of one of their product as well the „Puzzled Tic-tac-toe” artist’s game part of the „Fused Games” series to be used on another product in their offer.

Veronika Tzekova, „Puzzled Tic-tac-toe”, 2012

Text and images © Veronika Tzekova

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