Work by Bulgarian-born and Scotland-based visual artist and award-winning theatre maker Katherina Radeva will take centre stage in Perth Theatre as her first major UK survey solo exhibition is unveiled. 

Spanning 20 years and over 100 works including never exhibited before prints, paintings, drawings, objects and a newly commissioned limited-edition light art installation, Transient Spaces runs in Perth Theatre’s Threshold artspace until Wednesday 27 November. One of Katherina’s works from the show is also featured in the group exhibition Staging Places currently at V&A Museum, London showcasing 25 of the best UK designers for performance today. 

Transient Spaces tells the stories of those like Katherina, born on the cusp of the collapse of communism anywhere in post-socialist Europe, but also the stories of those who share the artist’s experiences of migration, identity and social class – leaving friends and family behind and looking for a better future. Transient Spaces offers timely reflection on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergent debates in curatorial and artistic practice from the former East of Europe. 

Throughout her award-winning career as a set and costume designer for theatre and dance (including Stick By Me which won the 2019 CATS Award for Best Production for Children and Young People), Katherina has been an influential voice in international conversations rethinking the geopolitics of art after the fall of communism, a ferocious critic of unequal negotiations between East and West, and an advocate for the art of post-socialist countries. 

Iliyana Nedkova, creative director for contemporary art for Horsecross Arts, the creative organisation and charity behind Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre, and one of the curators of Transient Spaces said: 

“This exhibition is the first opportunity for theatre, dance and contemporary art enthusiasts to discover the other, prolific yet under-represented side of Katherina, the visual artist. I hope that they will also discover the exuberant yet restrained style of her brush stroke, her moody yet intellectually stimulating paintings, her honest and raw drawings about identity, belonging, politics and culture. Katherina’s exhibition also embodies what our curatorial programme is about. As Perth’s only public gallery and museum dedicated to contemporary art and artists’ moving image, Threshold artspace is situated at the ‘threshold’ of two iconic performing arts buildings, and thus uniquely positioned to explore the relationship between visual and performing arts, between art and theatre as in case of Katherina’s work. Additionally, one of the fastest growing strands of our museum collection of contemporary art at Threshold artspace is of works by women artists. We are proud that 50% of our collection comprises works by women artists like Katherina’s or the Quebec artist and filmmaker Marlene Millar.”

Transient Spaces also features an ambitious new limited-edition light art installation commissioned and acquired by Horsecross Arts as part of its Collect + Support initiative for collectible contemporary art. The light artwork is inspired by the glowing, five-pointed Red Star – the central trope of communism – yet it traces the hand-drawn qualities of Katherina’s painterly style through light.

Katherina Radeva said:

“I am so thrilled to have my first UK major survey show at Threshold artspace, at such an important cross art form institution which has been putting Perth on the international contemporary art world map since 2005! I am also so excited that the exhibition is pertinently timed to accompany the autumn tour of my Two Destination Language theatre production Fallen Fruit across Scotland. The tour of Fallen Fruit to Perth Theatre on 10 November is an essential part of the exhibition and in fact marks the very day some 30 years ago communism collapsed in Bulgaria.”

As a co-curator of Transient Spaces Daniela Dimova-Yaneva, Director of the Bulgarian Cultural and Educational Centre Scotland said:

“The raison d’être of the Bulgarian Cultural and Educational Centre Scotland is to enable and amplify the contribution that Bulgarian artists make to the cultural life of Scotland, including Bulgarian-born Katherina who has been based in the UK for 20 years now and for the last 3 years has made Scotland her home. We are so honoured to have been awarded our first major Creative Scotland Open Project Fund grant without which the Bulgarian Cultural and Educational Centre Scotland couldn’t have been able to develop an exhibition and curatorial partnership with Horsecross Arts towards Katherina’s exhibition, her performance, the new limited edition, the forthcoming publication and the range of guided tours."

Thursday 3 October 2019