June 26, 2019 - Architektur im Ringturm (AIRT) - Daniela Kostova: Future Dreaming
e-flux Architecture
June 26, 2019
June 26, 2019

Architektur im Ringturm (AIRT)

Daniela Kostova, Future Dreaming, 2019. Photo: Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein. Design: Bueronardin. © Daniela Kostova.


Daniela Kostova
Future Dreaming

Architektur im Ringturm (AIRT)


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The risk that a society imposes on its children so that they can learn from personal experience is one of the measures that can be used to assess the relationship between people and the unknown. A recurring concern for Daniela Kostova is to ask what “safe play” means in various cultural and social contexts. This dimension in the work of the Bulgarian, now living in New York, is re-activated by the site-specific display of her current work: throughout the summer months of 2019 a photo collage of this artist covers all four sides of the Ringturm—a familiar landmark in Vienna and the headquarters of the leading insurance group in Austria as well as Central and Eastern Europe.

From the main side of the building, a small child with wideawake eyes looks out at us: it is wearing a space-suit and has twisted the left side of its mouth upward—the facial expression looks cool, almost serene. The subject reminds one of a harmless children’s game; the setting is full of reminders of space travel. But the space Kostova has prepared as a stage for the child seems unfit to bear a game or a narrative; on the contrary: Kostova’s setting looks makeshift. The brightly lit surroundings of the child are too flat, the shadows it casts on the wall are too artificial. The digital assembly of the image—its constructedness—is obvious.

This fabricated quality, which goes through long stretches of Kostova’s creations like a leitmotif, forms the actual quality and active core of her artistic strategy: in something closely related to bricolage—the spontaneous application of resources found in situ—Kostova creates images to negotiate perspectives and contradictions dwelling inside actual life situations. 

On the oversized helmet worn by the child, a white dove settles—a creature that is found in many variants on different emblems of manned spacecraft missions. The symbolic superstructure, exemplified by the bird, and the mobile with celestial bodies, including the earth, make it clear that we are concerned not only with a physical journey but with an extension of perspective: they give visual form to the fragility of our planet, the future living-space of our children.

Philippe Batka


Kostova is the 12th artist to wrap the well-known Ringturm building where Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein has a long-standing commitment to the arts, culture and society. She is preceded most recently by Gottfried Helnwein. What has now been a summer tradition since 2006, the Ringturm has been transformed into the most spectacular works of urban art. The project is a high-profile symbol of the cross-border cultural exchange and dialogue in public spaces that Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein is driving forward. Daniela Kostova's work Future Dreaming will be on view through the summer. The site-specific installation is accompanied by a show at Ringturm's exhibition center AIRT.

Also on display at AIRT: Stefka Georgieva (1923–2004), a monographic survey about the work of the Bulgarian architect in the State planning system. June 27–September 27, 2019, Ringturm Exhibition Centre, Schottenring 30, 1010 Vienna. Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, free admission. Closed on public holidays

Architektur im Ringturm (AIRT)
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Future Dreaming
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