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Exhibition “Words - Windows / Wörter als Fenster” by Wolfgang Nieblich and Antonia Duende


The exhibition "Words - Windows / Wörter als Fenster" by the German artist Wolfgang Nieblich and the Bulgarian-German artist Antonia Duende at the Mission gallery is dedicated to the holiday of Bulgarian education and culture and Slavic writing - May 24. It is organized by the State Institute for Culture of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria in partnership with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and can be visited between May 27 and June 14, 2024. The event is also part of a program for intercultural dialogue through art.

What unites the two authors is that for decades they have been integrating written signs and fragments of texts into their works, and thus the word becomes a kind of window to other worlds. In their paintings, the text gives rise to multi-layered associations and, last but not least, has an aesthetic effect as a plastic element in the compositions.

Since 1985, Wolfgang Nieblich has been playfully exploring the interactions between type and picture. His "Word Pictures" cycle is one of the most comprehensive, next to the "Book" cycle. "Sometimes a picture is the spark that gives birth to a text, sometimes a word, a sentence, a text from a Latin manuscript, unicode or a fictitious letter, leaving open space for interpretations, is the occasion for creating a picture," says the author. The other cycle that Nieblich presents in the exhibition is called "Zipper Paintings". These are two-level works that can be viewed both open and closed. When closed, they hide a secret. The play between closed and open state allows us to look through the window of fantasy, through word and image to contemplate outer and inner space. Thus a third level emerges, and perhaps one more – that of the viewer's imagination.

Antonia Duende's interest in using fragments of texts, symbols and sacred signs in her paintings arose in 2005, when she discovered a copy of the so-called Baška tablet, Croatia /around 1100/ with Glagolitic texts in the state library in Berlin, from which she began to take frottages on handmade Chinese paper and then layer them with watercolors. This is how the "Glagolic traces" cycle arises. At a later stage, Antonia Duende began to add other code systems through drawing and frottage - such as sheet music, fragments of texts in different alphabets, of ancient sacred symbols (from Bogomil steki, from Thracian tombs, from the still unread Diskos of Festos on Crete, etc.), thus initiating a dialogue between different cultures in her paintings. In this way, she strives to place the Glagolitic and Cyrillic characters, as well as the symbolic language of the Bogomils and Thracians, in a global context through her own artistic language - in the cycle "Sacred Interweaves". Her most recent works (mixed media on canvas) from the Word Islands and Tower of Babel series, many of which are featured in the exhibition, are a visual metaphor for the individual's quest for spiritual growth through the suggestive power of the word.

The opening of the exhibition will take place with the participation of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sofia - H.E. Irene Maria Plank. The director of the Goethe Institute-Bulgaria, Dr. Kirsten Hackenbroch, will also be present at the event, and the famous graphic artist and art critic Prof. Spartak Pascalevski will deliver welcoming words.