Vladimir Mitrev


1972 born in Sofia, Bulgaria, lives and works in Berlin, Basel and Sofia


2003–2004 Meisterschüler at Universität der Künste, Berlin
2003 Graduation in Fine Art at Universität der Künste, Berlin
2001 Studies Fine Art at Wimbledon School of Art, London
1997–2003 Studies Fine Art at Universität der Künste, Berlin

Grants, awards etc.

2016 Nomination for the Videoart Award George Papazov, Sofia
2015 Artist talk, „Glocal (Hi)stories“, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
2012 ArtUP! Media Art in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, Project of the Goethe Instituts in Ankara, Athens and Sofia
2012 Artist talk at Webster University Department of Art, St. Louis/USA
2010 Award in the category Media Installation of the 14th International Video Festival VIDEOMEDEJA, Novi Sad/Serbia
2010 Nomination for the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award for New Bulgarian Art, Sofia
2010 Nomination for the 14. Marler Video-Kunst-Preis, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl
2008–2010 Studio-Grant of the Karl-Hofer-Gesellschaft, Berlin
2008 Nomination for the Golden Cube, Monitoring, 25. Kasseler Dokumentarfilm- und Videofest, Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel
2008 Artist in Residence at Kulturkontakt, Vienna
2004 NICA Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, Art College, Pittsburgh/USA

Selected Exhibitions and Screenings

Splendid Isolation – Not in Our Name, Kunst Raum Riehen, Basel
Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit des Seins, Kunsthalle Palazzo, Liestal

Video Town, Accélérateur de Particules, Strasbourg
Capri by night, Schauspiel, Koeln
Video City, Congress Center, Basel
Nachtflimmern, Projektraum M54, Basel
Das Esszimmer goes Weltraum, Basel
Sex Appeal, One Night Stand Gallery, Sofia
Mut zur Lüge, Exhibition Expanded Media, 300. Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Kunstbezirk, Stuttgart

Contemporary Video, Exhibition of the nominated works for the Videoart Award George Papazov, Contemporary Space, Varna
Scale in the Social, Exhibition halls Raphael Michajlov, Veliko Tarnovo/Bulgaria
Liste Total, Werkraum Warteck, Basel

Home, Kunstfenster, Heinrich von Zügel Haus, Wolkenhof in Murrhardt
Regionale 16, FABRIKculture, Hegenheim
Focus Bulgaria, viennacontemporary, Vienna
Save the Dreams. Contemporary Artists from Bulgaria, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice
Solo Screening „Glocal (Hi)stories“, Kunsthistorisches Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
In the Making, Oslo Night 2015, Haus der elektronischen Künste, Basel

Formalno, Aritstat prisastva formalno na Z/zemjata, Art Today Association, Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv
nachtflimmern – Projektraum M54, Basel
Und woran glaubst Du?, Electrohaus, Hamburg
Die Krim als Spielplatz der Geschichte, Solo Show, philosophicum im Ackermannshof, Basel
Potrzeba wolności, MOCAK, Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
Voir et Revoir. Regionale 14, La Kunsthalle Mulhouse/La Filature, Mulhouse

Voir et Revoir. Regionale 14, La Kunsthalle Mulhouse/La Filature, Mulhouse
goddamn! here I am. Regionale 14, Ausstellungsraum Klingental, Basel
Home/s. Media Art in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, Benaki Museum, Athens
Potrzeba wolności, MOCAK, Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow
Kritika ja kriisid. Kunst Euroopas alates 1945, Eesti Kunstimuuseum, Tallinn
The Desire for Freedom. Art in Europe since 1945, Palazzo Reale, Milan

Berliner Zimmer. Künstler aus Südosteuropa in Berlin, in Cooperation with Goethe Institut, HDLU, Zagreb
XXX. Europaratsausstellung. Verführung Freiheit. Kunst in Europa seit 1945, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin
Research – Wirklichkeit als Material, Galerie im Ratskeller, Berlin
Contemporary Icons. Recent Art from Bulgaria, The Cecille R. Hunt Gallery, St. Louis/USA
Salon Sophie Charlotte 2012. Wissen ist Kunst – Kunst ist Wissen, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin

Ich bin ein Berliner, Dezerschauhalle Miami, Florida/USA
Vom Zauber des Seitlich-dran-vorbei-Sehens. Zeitgenössische Videokunst in der DASA, Dortmund
4th Crosstalk Video Art Festival Budapest
Akademie zeigt Farbe, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin
After the Flight, ICA Institute of Contemporary Art Sofia, ICA Gallery, Sofia

14th International Video Festival VIDEOMEDEJA, Novi Sad
23th Instants Video Festival, Marseille/France
Creative cities, artistic towns, and fantastic villages, 4 Tuned Cities, The Kosova Art Gallery, Prishtina
Gaudenz B. Ruf Award for New Bulgarian Art, Rayko Aleksiev Gallery, Sofia/Bulgaria
1st Facade Video Festival, ArtTodayAssociation, Plovdiv
3rd VIDEOHOLICA International Video Festival, Varna
Bulgarian Video Art, 3H+K Gallery, Pori/Finland
14. Marler Video-Kunst-Preis, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl
Themenwechsel, Ausstellung der Atelierstipendiatinnen der Karl-Hofer-Gesellschaft, Forum Factory, Berlin

Time Machine, Jahresgaben, Kunstverein Arnsberg, Arnsberg
The Catch of the Day, Galerie im Regierungsviertel, The Forgotten Bar, Berlin
Taboo! Taboo?, CologneOFF V, 5th Cologne Online Film Festival, various locations
MICROWAVE – New Media Arts Festival Hongkong
After Ego, Center for Contemporary Art, Banja starinna, Plovdiv
Mehr als man erträgt, Imagecampaign, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
Form versus Inhalt, Haus am Kleistpark, Berlin

Monitoring, 25. Kasseler Dokumentarfilm- und Videofest, Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel
Aaperto-Wilde Hasen, Tape Club, Berlin
Vladimir Mitrev - solo exhibition, Kunstagenten – contemporary art gallery, Berlin
It ist hard to be an artist, Gallery Art Point, Vienna
Video Monologs, Italia 08, Galatina, Lecce/Italy
Red, Video Salon 3, Gallery 10m2, Sarajevo/Bosna-Herzegowina

High Lights, Gallery Mikael Andersen Kopenhagen, Berlin
Dunkenreizen, Gallery Weißer Elefant, Berlin
Athens Video Art Festival, Athens
Viennafair, Kunstagenten – contemporary art gallery, Vienna
European re-Union, Gallery ArtPiont, Vienna

Rio, Artnews Projects, Berlin
10x5x3, National Exhibition Center „Shipka 6“, Sofia
emergency room, Gallery Olaf Stüber, Berlin
(re)view-identities, Kunstagenten – contemporary art gallery, Berlin

watch it, Kunstagenten – contemporary art gallery, Berlin
2. Berliner Kunstsalon 2005, Kunstagenten – contemporary art gallery, Berlin
Video Anagramm Lautgedicht Musik, Kunstsalon Wilde Gans, Berlin
Blue Hall – Marktplatz Europa, Kunsthalle Arnstadt

Public collections ursula blickle videoarchiv, Vienna/Austria

Oil Paint, 2001-2019, 23×64×12 cm

Once Upon A Time / 2016, HD video, 10:40 min
My video "Once Upon A Time ..." is based on one of the most famous scenes in film history. It is from the film "Once Upon A Time In The West" by Sergio Leone (1968). The scene appears at the end of the film in the key gunfight between the mysterious Harmonica (Gunman) and the violent murderer Frank. They are facing each other, ready to pull their guns. The culmination of the scene is the close up of the eyes of Harmonica (Charles Bronson), which are visible for a few seconds between the black bars of the film screen. This cinematic skill has to intensify the dramatic of the scene to the utmost and to emphasize the positive features of the hero’s character. Based on this image, symbolizing the climax of heroism, the huge dose of pathos, and the need of justice after an injustice, I use my own eyes and stretch the duration of the frame to more than 10 minutes. In my sequence the narrative takes it’s own emancipated way and deconstructs the notion of male heroism looking for direct contact with the viewer.

Installation views:

Mut zur Lüge, Exhibition Expanded Media, Kunstbezirk, Stuttgart

Video City, Basel, Curated by Andrea Domesle, Foto: Dirk Wetzel

patience please

Mila Rodino / 2016, HD video, 1:32 min
YouTube project. Performing the national anthem of Bulgaria.

Installation view

Мащаби в социалното или изкуството като реакция, Велико Търново

The Inner Life of My Wardrobe / 2013, HD video, 12:27 min
The wardrobe is an everyday piece of furniture. As storage, private or public, the wardrobe is a protected space whose content is not accessible to everyone. In the video, however, the wardrobe of the artist opens in rhythmic intervals and allows the viewer to look into its inner. Each time when the doors open the contents of the wardrobe is different: empty, on their own moving shelves, jiggling wine bottle, clothing and personal items, old private photographs, children's writing, excerpts from propaganda films, the fall of the Berlin Wall, an old Sofia tram. So the wardrobe turns into an idiosyncratic place of remembrance of the time of the transformation of post-socialist society. Like memory that is formed by fragmented, disparate parts and pieces of images and sounds into a harmonious whole, the wardrobe keeps different media and found footage materials that are integrated in a homogeneous audio-visual narrative. Thus the wardrobe turns in to a place of memory, in which objects, images, and films from the personal history of the artist mingle with those collective memories that are shared by most East Europeans of his generation. So the intimate space always interlaces with the collective archive. The two places of memory constantly complement and intersect each other, and turned out to be interchangeable.

Playing Boule in the Valley of the Shadow of Death / 2011, HD video installation, 6:07 min, sound: Sibin Vassilev

The videoinstallation is based on a historical image. It is one of the earliest and most famous war images in the history of war photography. It was made during the Crimean War in 1855 by the British photographer Roger Fenton. The place where the photo was made is called "The Valley of the Shadow of Death“, which is also the title of the photo. It shows a boring landscape with a country road in the middle that is littered with about 250 cannonballs. The reason to make a work about this photo is a scientific discussion, whether the photographer has staged the cannonballs on the road for his aesthetic purposes or not. My intention was to set the photo in motion and to let the cannonballs move on the battlefield. I wanted to see, how much the chance placement would influence the image and how much manipulation would be needed to make the image attractive.

Installation view:

Ratskeller, Berlin

Schwarz Rot Gelb / 2009-2011, HD video, 22:00 min

The video installation is dedicated to a national symbol of Germany. Walking and leaving colored footprints on a white field I created the German falg in the course of about three hours. The creating of this image is an expression of my long way to another national and political reality.

Installation views:

Home/s, Benaki Museum, Athens

The Desire for Freedom, Palazzo Reale, Milan

Illegal / 2003, installation, travel bag, nine photos, four books, one dress, one knife and CV as a wall text

Oktober 1994
Ich komme zum ersten Mal nach Deutschland mit einem Touristenvisum für drei Monate, um meine Freundin zu besuchen. Sie kam im Jahr davor mit einer Aufenthaltsbewilligung zum Studium nach Berlin.

Dezember 1994
Mein Visum läuft aus. Ich versuche, es zu verlängern. Ohne Erfolg. Also bleibe ich in Berlin bei meiner Freundin und dem Kater Speedy.

Januar 1995
Meine Bewerbung an der Hochschule der Künste Berlin wird abgelehnt. Ich bekomme zum Geburtstag ein Taschenwörterbuch in zwei Bänden – Bulgarisch-Deutsch und Deutsch-Bulgarisch.

Juni 1995
Meine Bewerbung für einen Studienplatz wird abgelehnt. Ich lese die Märchen der Brüder Grimm.

Januar 1996
Meine Bewerbung für einen Studienplatz wird wieder abgelehnt. Die anderen Bewerbungen auch. Dieses Mal bekomme ich ein Taschenmesser zum Geburtstag.

Juni 1996
Meine Bewerbung wird wieder einmal abgelehnt.

Januar 1997
Ich werde zum Studium zugelassen. Mein Visum ist schon lange ungültig. Ohne Visum kann ich mich nicht für das Studium einschreiben. Ein neues kann ich nur in meiner Heimat bekommen.

Februar 1997
Meine Freundin und ich kaufen uns einen weißen Opel Corsa. Wir haben beide keinen Führerschein. Meine Freundin übt zwei Wochen mit dem Corsa Autofahren.

1. März 1997
Wir kaufen eine große Reisetasche. Im Geschäft kann man sie nicht anprobieren. Zu Hause passt sie doch. Die Verkäuferin schenkt uns einen Talisman aus buntem Holz und bindet ihn an die Tasche fest.

3. März 1997
Um 7.00 Uhr fahren wir los. Vor uns liegen fast zweitausend Kilometer. Aus einem Bettlaken macht sich meine Freundin einen schwangeren Bauch.

3. März 1997
Um 12.00 Uhr erreichen wir den ersten Grenzübergang Zinnwald. Wir halten am Wegrand an. Meine Freundin packt mich in die Reisetasche ein. Es schneit.

4. März 1997
Es bleiben noch vier Grenzübergänge. In der Tasche ist es dunkel und sehr heiß. Weil ich keine Luft bekomme, schneide ich mit meinem Taschenmesser ein Loch in den Stoff.

5. März 1997
Um 0.00 Uhr überqueren wir die letzte Grenze.

Installation view:

Berliner Zimmer, HDLU, Zagreb

This Never Happened / 2010, video, 4:3, 10:27 min.

With the call "Baleva – on the scaffold“ Bulgarian politicians invoiced in 2007 publicly to the murder of a curator. The Bulgarian art historian Martina Baleva wanted to show in an exhibition, how art can influence the national imagination. For this she chosed the painting by Antoni Piotrowski "The massacre of Batak“ (1892), depicting an historical event, which is one of the founding myths of the Bulgarian nation. The politics and the media foiled the exhibition and put out a bounty on the curator, who since then lives in exile. The video is based on visual material from the banned exhibition. The painting "The Massacre of Batak“ serves as a naturalistic setting for historical photogrpahy and cinema footage as temporal, medial addition of the iconographic stereotypes of difference as Self and Otherness, victims and perpetrators, Christians and Muslims, established in paintings of the 19th century.

The work was awarded in the category Media Installations of the 14th International Video Festival VIDEOMEDEJA 2010.

Push it! / 2009, video, 4:3, 5:49 min

patience please patience please patience please

The Lovely Color / 2009, video, 4:3, 3:54 min

Close-up of the hands of a black hairdress behind the window of a cheap hair salon in East London. The hairdress does not work with scissors or comb, but with needle and thread and sews the head of her black client until she gets blond hair.

Étude Red Blue / 2008, video, 4:3, 3:31 min

The video-installation presents the artist boxing with himself. His two roles are distinguished only by the color of his boxing gloves in red and blue. The two figures are viewed from a bird’s eye stepping into the picture that is also the boxing ring. In spite of the continuous and systematic punch exchange none of the two figures is injured or knocked-out. On the contrary, by the end of the film the boxers part as unharmed and safe as they were upon their initial meeting.

Installation views:

Capri by night, Schauspiel, Koeln, Curated by Daniela Radeva

It ist hard to be an artist, Gallery Art Point, Vienna

Creative cities, artistic towns, and fantastic villages, The Kosova Art Gallery, Prishtina

patience please patience please patience please patience please patience please patience please

Steve Mcqueen / 2007, two-channel video installation, 10:59 min

Installation view:

Monitoring, Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel

Drei Variationen mit Ronden / 2007, three-channel video installation, each 4:3, 5:44 min

Installation view:

Galerie Weisser Elefant, Berlin

Our Correspondent from / 2007

33 analog photos each 19 x 12,5 cm from news correspondents taken from an old tube TV screen

patience please

Checkpoint / 2006, video, 4:3, 6:34 min The work explores the strategy of the mass media, the way how it shows us the horror of war and conflicts and brings it in our living rooms. It is also a try to understand what is the impact of these images on me and my environment. The work is based on found footage from the most prominent news channels of the western world.

patience please patience please patience please patience please patience please patience please

Sunset 2-11-03 / 2003-2004, video, 4:3, 47:36 min

Autopainting / 2004, video, 4:3, 3:44 min

A sport car with paint reservoir attached to it circles in back motion around its own axis leaving a red trace. Each time the one that operates the car /the artist/ comes into frame to fill in the reservoir, the concentric trace increases. While in the first part of the video the car dictates the form of the trace, in the second part it constantly looses balance and derails from its self-outlined trajectory.

Red Painting / 2003, video, 4x3, 0:54 min

The video is part of the series „Studio Movies“. One of the main themes of the video series is the painting as authentic abstraction. The refusal of the use of brush, paints and canvas, the classical technical devices of the painter, and their substitution with the digital video lens is a basic motive in the studio movies. This motive is most radically expressed in the video „Red Painting“. It lasts only 54 seconds and contains three actions: quadrangular red form, a stone dashed into the frame from the direction of the painter/spectator, an image destroyed into pieces. The act of rejection of the classical painting and its „modernization“ through the video is sublimated here not only temporally but symbolically. The references to the history of art – from the ikonoklastic wars in Byzantium through the monochrom squares of Malevich to the concrete painting – are only part of the semantic levels of the studio movies.