“The more I travel, the more I learn from others.”
Nicolas Tagnati is the upcoming internship at ARV.International in 2021. With the monthly arriving artist-in-residence, Tagnati will be living and working at ARV.I throughout the entire residency program. He will keep the residency afloat and help out the bewildered newcomers with the language, culture, and ways of living in Bulgaria. His position will help anchor the artistic integrity between the upcoming artists-in-residence and the local community. Bridging a significant gap between a specific local identity and the field of contemporary visual fine arts. Tagnati's presence in the upcoming residency and exhibition program in Veliko Turnovo will be highly noticed and much appreciated. This is especially so in terms of continuing the development of art development in Veliko Turnovo and providing artists the foundations to create high-quality work and experience the country and its hidden gems.
Lars Nordby is the director of ARV.International and gallery Heerz Tooya.
Lars Nordby: Nicola, this is amazing. You're coming to Vishovgrad and staying throughout the entire ARV.I season in 2021! We've known each other for about two years now. You've been traveling around Eastern Europe now for a while. Please share some stories and experiences.
Nicolas Tagnati: First of all, it's an honor to take part in ARV.I project. Indeed we met more than two years ago now. Back then, I was a newcomer in Bulgaria, and meeting people such as you helped me avoid a cultural shock. So thanks for that. Since then, I went back to France, and I also lived for six months in Tbilisi, Georgia. The feeling of belonging to Bulgaria started growing, so here I am, back again!
L.N: What made you decide to return to Bulgaria?
N.T: Well, there are many places that I would like to live in, but I know by experience that, when living in this difficult period, it's better to have some solid friends around. We have a great network of cool people in the country, making the lockdown not that hard. Also, I would say that the quality of life here is special.
L.N: What four words are your choices to describe that special quality?
- Warm; surprisingly, here in deep Bulgaria, in a village of 200 people, you find a lot of people speaking English. Bulgarians or foreigners. They are really welcoming and want to know about you.
- Pure; because you go back to the essentials. When it comes to food, or when it comes to free time. When you spend time here, you have the feeling of doing the right thing.
- Slow; in a world where we are non-stop bothered by tasks, where the phone is constantly buzzing, it feels good to slow down and appreciate the precious resource that is time.
- Inspiring; all these conditions together lead to productivity.
ARV.I internship residency 2021
L.N: I am eager to bring forth the meeting point between the upcoming artist-in-residence, their projects, and their solo exhibitions - with your linguistic and didactic background and social working skills with various cultural institutions. It is really refreshing to work with someone with a different creative discipline and background at ARV.I. How do you see your forthcoming collaborations unfold? Any expectations?
N.T: Oh, wow... Yeah, the local community here in Vishovgrad is really welcoming. You don't find this everywhere. It's challenging for me to represent a contemporary art residency, considering it's not my background. You highlighted it; I come from a University background with a relative international environment. It logically makes me present the project with a different approach. It can also be an advantage.
L.N: The artists-in-residence will appreciate your Bulgarian language skills, so to communicate with the locals. It's great to have someone who knows the whereabouts in the region. By now, you know the nooks and crannies in Veliko Turnovo and Vishovgrad. What would you like to introduce the artists to when they arrive? Do you have a specific hidden gem in mind?
N.T: I'm glad you asked this question; it's an occasion to tell what I feel proud to represent Bulgaria for the upcoming artists. What I would like to introduce will depend on the people, I suppose. But surely I will try to share all the great food and produce that Bulgaria has to offer.
L.N: In your garden. What would you like to grow?
N.T: Bulgaria is one of the countries I had the best tomatoes in my life. So that's MANDATORY. After that, all the basics. I plan to have a mini herbs garden and to have a mini permaculture space. Hope the artists like gardening!
L.N: One last thing. If you'd recommend someone to bring two essential and two useless items to Bulgaria, what would those be?
- Essentials; answering this now (16/01/21), I would say a good winter coat. But considering the season is in the summer, I would say a swimming suit. We have beautiful rivers around here. And definitely, a camera because there is a tone of beautiful places to visit. Or a notebook if the inspiration strikes and you want to write about things you experience.
- Useless; a bank card! Just kidding but many places here only accept cash. I don't really see what can be useless here more than somewhere else…
L.N: Perfect. Looking forward to the ARV.I season starts. See you tomorrow!
Nicolas Tagnati (b. 1990, France) holds two master degrees in Didactic of French at the Université Paul Valéry de Montpellier in France. Tagnati has work experiences throughout Europe, with a key interest social interaction, intercultural exchange and languages. His previous work and education involve Ilia state University in Tbilissi, Géorgia / Lecturer de Français (2020); Lunaria: Animation de chantier de volontariat international at Aout, Civita Castellana in Italy (2019); Training Theater in classe FLE by Drame Education (2018); Mediazione linguistica, Universita delle studie di Milano (Erasmus 2016 – 2017); and Langues Etrangères Appliquées (Italian - English - Occitan) at the Université Paul Valéry de Montpellier (2013 - 2017).