Drama by SAGG Napoli × Stefania Batoeva

7 - 25 September 2021

It is a register of emotions and a story built around two artist friends exploring new disciplines – in artistic and athletic terms.

Drama is a project by SAGG Napoli and Stefania Batoeva, commissioned for the opening of Import Export gallery. It is a register of emotions and a story built around two artist friends exploring new disciplines – in artistic and athletic terms.

The exhibition will start with a live archery session, in which arrows are shot by SAGG Napoli into painting-objects created together with Batoeva. Merging their practices for this occasion, the artists will remain present in the show after the performance: one through the suggested self-portraits painted on the pastel-coloured surfaces of the painting-objects (Batoeva), the other materialised through her custom arrows (SAGG Napoli).


Emotional landscapes feed Batoeva’s painting practice; likewise, the autobiographical in SAGG Napoli’s work originates in an understanding of her practice as self-discovery. She further explains:


‘To have patience means to trust a process and set intentions and goals, to move towards each one of them, slowly allowing the technical movements to sync with your muscles and your mind. When you miss the target, you have to understand why you missed (often it’s not only technical factors to do with your equipment, but instead it is your own body position and your mind), to learn to accept that things break and you don’t always have to fix them’.


Reinforcing this point, Batoeva insists that her melancholic figures are not to be fixed, as sadness can be a generative force. ‘It requires working within a feeling, similarly to painting’, she adds. Juxtaposing the tenderness of the self-portraits with the agility of the arrows, the artists explore the dramaturgy of the act of shooting – echoing the dynamic of falling in love. Who actually loses in that situation? As SAGG Napoli puts it:


‘Why would you fix a broken heart? (…) What has come out of my heart once it had been broken? Was it all pain and disappointment or was it vulnerability? It was strength, it was intuition and – eventually – clarity. Once the heart broke, I could see parts of me I didn’t know I possessed’.


Finally, Drama also questions the ascription of gender roles and stereotypes within the dynamic of love. In Batoeva’s work, this is often visualised through the gender non-specificity of her figures. In SAGG Napoli’s work, it is pronounced through the reversal of the conventional image. As she explains:


‘I just feel like for centuries the image of the woman with a bow has always been connected to a warrior woman. The bow was a weapon. I don’t wanna be seen as I play into that image. Why would I wanna be a warrior? What if the “enemy” isn’t someone I can or want to defeat physically? (…) Rather the enemy is a set of values and distractions that do not allow me to be the best version of myself’.


A cross-disciplinary occurrence of vision, motion and sound, happening at the gallery on September 7th, Drama will result in a series of painting-objects, supported by a film by SAGG Napoli and a poem by Batoeva.