Fictional Biography

The National Gallery
Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art


Albena Mihaylova
Fictional Biography

Opening: Thursday, 3 October, 6:30 p.m.
SAMCA, 2, Cherni Vrah Blvd.


‘Fictional Biographies’ is the title of Albena Mihailova’s monumental four-channel video installation, which presents a general view of the personal, and of life as part of the cyclicality of nature. The artist chooses a protagonist for each of the four videos, featuring Monika, Najla, Junghae, and the artist herself, Albena. The word ‘fictional’ in the title stops us from expecting any sort of depiction of the life sequence of four mature women. And yet, these are biographies. Albena Mihaylova creates an exceptional filmic essay that moves between fiction and abstraction, reality and dream, analysis and vision, the individual and the collective. In a statement accompanying the project, the artist says: ‘Nature and its elements are connected to people, to their mental and physical states, but also to their lifestyle or sociopolitical views.’ The result is a new approach to the genre of cinematographic autobiography.

The artist focuses on the idea of identification with an extremely powerful presentation in the museum space. Each video, with a duration of 9.30 minutes, is composed so strictly that the movement, the pause, and the vision are coordinated. The viewer falls into the four-channel video installation not only amidst the respective landscape, but also in the global scene, as if all directions are open. The sound from the multi-channel installation is transferred to another part of the museum space. In addition to the natural sound environment, Korean composer Junghae Lee superimposes an audio landscape on the original tone. The composition welcomes visitors from the entrance and requires orientation. Can we feel the world in the dark even before we have seen it?

Dr. Andrea Domesle, Basel
Art historian and curator


The exhibition was organised at the invitation of curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and is the fifth in the Autobiography Project of the programme of the Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art.


With particular thanks to:

Reinhard Manz, director of photography and technical supporter; Junghae Lee, protagonist and composer of the audio installation; Monika and Larissa Romenska and Najla Osseiran, participants and people close to my heart; and Andrea Domestle, fellow traveller and co-curator of the project.

With the financial support of the Culture Committee of Film and Media Art of the Cantons of Basel City and Basel Landscape