Daniela Kostova – the artist who wrapped Vienna’s Ringturm and explores the natural elements (Photos)
In the beginning of the summer, an art installation caught the attention of the Viennese residents – a huge photograph of a baby astronaut was placed, wrapping top of the city’s Ringturm (Ring Tower), a white pigeon with widespread wings perched on its spacesuit. With her project entitled “Future Dreaming”, Bulgarian artist Daniela Kostova evoked many positive emotions, but also gave food for reflection because of the symbolism of her work.
The work appeared on a building built after World War II, symbolizing a new beginning. This enriches the story and gives additional meaning to the artist’s messages. Thus, the image of the child astronaut can be read as an impulse for discovery while the bird embodies the dream of flying. The world itself is visualized as a fragile baby toy that only rotates if its individual parts are in sync.
“I took photos of a toy that somehow represents the world, like its interconnected elements”,says Daniela Kostova. “These are the planets, the astronaut, the rocket, and they all work only if they are in balance. That was one of the main messages in the work – the balance in nature and the relationship of man to the world. Sizes and proportions also matter - the baby is too big compared to the toy, i.e. it’s all about a change in the perspective, and about the fact that everything is relative depending on the point of view and its positioning. This huge child can be a symbol of hope, but at the same time also of a threat as we think we are bigger than the world, and in fact we have only made a baby step in our understanding of the Cosmos.”
How does the soothing image of a baby already dreaming of the future intertwine with the global problems we face - no matter where on the planet we live?
“This is a collective image of the future – the perspective for our children, outer space as a meeting place for different countries, even a kind of call for tolerance”, replies the artist. “In my opinion, we give little credit to children, but they have the power to inspire and create the conditions for change. We saw it just recently when children from all over the world took to the streets to protest with a call for politicians to pay attention to global warming. And it is the children who have to say it, because they are the people who will bear the consequences of what is happening at the moment. So there may be some points of contact with this issue.”
Daniela Kostova has been living in New York for 18 years, from where she understands the world better because of “her encounter with this multitude of communities, languages, behaviors”. She emerges as an interdisciplinary artist and collaborates with artists from different fields, creating an interesting conversation outside her narrow specialization and opening many doors – to herself and to the audience.
“I have been dealing with the topic of the natural elements for some time now – collecting photos of floods, hurricanes in different parts of the world and treating them as phenomena that open our eyes to things invisible at first sight”, says Daniela Kostova. “Imagine a house without walls and suddenly everything is stripped away, a moment of surprise comes and things shift. I watched what was happening around - the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, in Texas as a consequence of human activity. And it is interesting to see how in a country in which people are accustomed to comfort, such a phenomenon brings them off balance and shows their different inner cores depending on their reactions."
The artist illustrates this crumbling world in her latest work, “The Higher Ground”. In it, a self-righteous cowboy sits on a red armchair with a can of drink and a phone in hand until everything around him collapses.