This major project is a new film and video piece by international artist Jivko Darakchiev. It explores landscape as a defining feature of collective memory and modern existence. The starting point of Playland was inspired by the striking visual contrast between two major features in the landscapes of South East England and Hauts de France and their respective patrimonial identities; the white chalk cliffs of the Sussex Heritage Coast in England and the black spoil tips (terrils) of Northern France. Both landscapes are a constant reminder to the local population of the passing of time – a sort of ageing mirror of human presence. As the narrative of the film develops, audiences will encounter the different forms of human behaviour learned or prompted by the overarching presence of these landscapes.
Playland is the first significant showing of the artist’s work in the UK. The new work will be shown at five venues in the south east of England. At each venue it will be contextualised by documents, artefacts and photographs particular to the local areas and artists from the region will lead on the collection of this material and deliver related public engagement activities.
Darakchiev was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. He lived in the USA for 16 years and in 2008 graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU). In 2011 Darakchiev was accepted at Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains in Tourcoing (Fr) on a two-year post graduate programme. He now lives and works in Paris.
Darakchiev’s art interrogates the physicality of people and things within our existences. His work tends to the basic aspects of human behaviour, our syndromes of being and of doing, the objects we use, as much as those specific to a certain place and time as those universal to everyone. Within his work, these daily gestures and items are orchestrated in a different manner in order to establish among them unexpected relationships, often absurd, sometimes funny. Through patient attention and re-appropriation, what is familiar can be interpreted anew. An ethnographic study of the human everyday is synthesised into soft science fiction.