Artist Residency Vishovgrad. International is located in Vishovgrad, a rural village in the central part of northern Bulgaria, and is a place for artists to find inspiration, focus on their work and get involved in extensive exhibition projects organized by ARV.I.
Since 2008 a small farm has been renovated and become an independent artist-run venue dedicated to local and international visual artists, curators, writers, performers and researchers. Since 2017 ARV.I continues to provide creatives a place to live and a studio for individual artistic practice and research. ARV.I functions as a hub initiating exhibitions and other collaborative projects with other artists, art associations and cultural institutions in different parts of the Veliko Tarnovo region. As such ARV.I benefits both the artist-in-residence and the general public by evolving artistic awareness and insights from the contemporary art world and the everyday life of Bulgaria.
After liberation from Ottoman rule, Vishovgrad had a population of around 2500; now there are less than 300 people living in the village. Bulgaria is one of the countries in the world, in the time after the fall of the Berlin Wall and communist rule in 1989, with the biggest decline in population, effectively creating phenomena such as 'ghost villages’. As much as ARV.I is apolitical, there are nevertheless potent issues to be reflected upon in terms of its public situation.
"The current state of Vishovgrad and other Bulgarian villages depicts the backyard of Europe, potent with a not yet explored embodiment of what we are confronted by in the known stages of arts today. Creating intermediary platforms in this environment in between art and the public, ARV.I seek to evoke new thoughts and ideas, artistic creations, projects and topics of research, even political subjects. With few artist run galleries and alternative spaces, most young artists seek out other countries, and rightly so, but I aim to squeeze out the potential by reversing that tendency."
ARV.I Director, Lars Nordby