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Hamburg’s Mindscapes

November 8, 2008 by · No comments

An interview with the young designer Gradinko Aladinkov by Natalia Nikolaeva

Hamburg is the city where I have lived in the past eight years. I am still in the process of discovering its interesting faces, surprising metamorphoses, hidden features and unique charm.

Hamburg mindscapes

It is not a chance that Hamburg’s haunting northern beauty and its original architecture have been an inspiration for many artists. One of them is the Bulgarian Gradinko Aladinkov who opened his solo exhibition Hamburger Mindscapes in Sofia, Bulgaria on August 26, 2007.

Those who are curious to experience Hamburg in a different, innovative and imaginative perspective can do so at Gradinko’s photo collage exhibit at the Apartment Club on Neophit Rilski St. in Sofia.

Our readers, instead, can enjoy Gradinko’s virtual exhibit here, along with our conversation.

Portret na Gradinko Aladinkov

Tell us about the occasion of your Hamburg-related exhibit in Sofia

HamburgI spent more than three months in Hamburg and took a lot of photos. I created the design of Mentos for their web-agency Pilot. In my free time I walked around and took pictures. I am a huge fan of German architecture and so those were mostly photos of buildings.

What made you choose this title for your exhibit?

It is both descriptive and playful. It is descriptive because the images are definitely landscapes of the mind. They are collages of multiple pictures, so buildings are real, but places and compositions are not.

HamburgBesides, I have always found it funny that Hamburg’s dwellers call themselves hamburgers. I can imagine walking down the street with Burger King’s menu all around me.

Was it difficult defining your project’s subject matter?

I had the contents of my project far before I had the project. I had no idea how I was going to present my photos while I was taking them. The idea of the collages came later, while I was mulling over the material I had accumulated and I realized that if I showed them independently, the pictures would be boring to anyone not interested in architecture.

HamburgSo I solved the problem through those collages, where architural aesthetics is synthesized, buildings’ shapes are freed from their context and enhanced with a surreal, phantasmagoric use of perspective.

What guided you while you were preparing the elements of the exhibit?

The final result is quite interesting to view. Some compositions are relatively close to the real places in Hamburg, others are composed of buildings from different areas, still others are completely abstract. I experimented on the scale from documentality to abstraction, but I was careful of the final result, which in my mind had to be desirable enough to be hung on the wall.

What was the reception of the exhibit like in Bulgaria?

HamburgThe people I talked to told me they liked it, but I can’t trust them. There were some good press reviews, but they can be trusted even less. There isn’t any reliable contemporary art criticism in Bulgaria, really.

How would you define your own art?

It’s more design-oriented rather than conceptual. I like the things I make to look nice. I think I am too young to present my ideas of the world without arranging them beautifully or adjusting their colors. Take the works of my fellow Bulgarian artists of my same age, who are trying to make conceptual art. Their works are too boring and shallow to me, besides being ugly.

Are you going to present your exhibit in Hamburg?

I hope.

We know that many Bulgarian artists move overseas, attracted by opportunities and globalization. Would you stay in Bulgaria working and creating?

HamburgI have already stayed. I feel at home here, I have friends, relationships, a reputation. I don’t want to start somewhere else from the beginning. And I love this place, even if it is Europe’s butt.

What do you dream of?

Becoming a minister in the Bulgarian government. I have always thought I know how to make things better than most other people. That’s why I majored in Political Science: I wanted to make the world a better place.

I realized the difference between political science and politics a little too late. When I graduated I knew that Bulgarian politics is not for me, so I started working in design to support myself. But my passion for power is alive and well!







Translated from Bulgarian by Ellie Ivanova Ponti

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