Thought Experiment #3: Nikola Grozdanov. Interferences

curated by Aksiniya Peycheva

29.11.2023 - 16.12.2023

Nikola Grozdanov. Interferences, 2023

Nikola Grozdanov. Interferences, 2023

The exhibition “Interferences” by Nikola Grozdanov creates a space of conditional perceptions. Referring to the thought experiment “Mary’s Room”, the author explores the correspondence between the functionality of the human consciousness and the reality in which it supposedly exists. The experiment describes Mary, a scientist, who lives in an all-black-and-white world. In this world, she has wide access to the descriptions of the different colors, but she has no way of perceiving them with her eyes. Mary has learned all there is to learn about the color, but she has never seen them. The central question in the experiment is whether Mary would gain new knowledge when she steps outside her colorless world. The experiment aims to counter physicalism—the view that the universe, including all that is mental, is entirely physical.

In Nikola Grozdanov’s room, the physical objects are glass-metal ones, created entirely by his hand, and their color is conditional because it depends on the light that is placed inside them. Glowing briefly, it charges the pigments with which the glass is baked, so that they themselves begin to glow when the light goes out. Only by fulfilling the specific conditions, their light manages to materialize in the space. With their oval but irregular shape, they appear briefly until their charge runs out, much like signals between the synapses in the brain. These terms refer to the unwritten rules between the viewer and the art object. They are sort of a “contract”. If the first party succeeds in fulfilling them and presenting them in the physical world, then the viewer may be able to see them as well. But their true perception comes afterwards; it is not a product of the physical world, it is simply a consequence of it. And again, their true essence is non-physical, and their true perception is a priori conditional.

In this sense, the objects in the room create a closed system of interactions. Space becomes an experimental site of interfering connections – between the physical predetermination of being and its non-physical imprint in the human consciousness, between truth and need, between absence and presence.

In the project “Thought Experiment” the author worked with Dr. Tina Tasheva, and Dr. Albena Yoleva from University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy, Sofia, Department of Silicate Technology. The author would like to thank Tihomir Danchev from Omega Light for the help with the lighting fixtures, Petar Manuilov from Lux Nox for the help with the luminous pigments, as well as Mihaela Kamenova for the help with the metal pieces.

A video of the working process between Nikola Grozdanov, Dr. Tina Tasheva and Dr. Albena Yoleva can be seen HERE.


Nikola Grozdanov (b. 1988 in Sofia). Lives and works in Sofia. He holds a Master’s degree (2014) in Mural painting from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia and has previously studied at the Glyndor University in Wells, UK (2011). From 2017 until 2021 he lived and worked in Murano, Venice, as a collaborator in a contemporary glass studio. He has been nominated for the Baza Award for Contemporary Art (2023) and the International Artistic Glass and Design Competition for young people under 35 (2022). He organised a solo exhibition “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” (2021), Heerz Tooya Gallery, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. He has participated in group exhibitions including: “Exhibition of the nominated artists for the BAZA 2023 Award for Contemporary Art” (2023), Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia, curated by Marina Slavova; “Emergencies, Refractions, Reflections” (2022), Archivio Emily Harvey, curated by Roberto Mastroianni, Venice; “International Biennale of Glass” (2023 and 2021), National Gallery Kvadrat 500, curated by Konstantin Valchev, Sofia; “MilanoVetro – 35” (2022), Castello Sforzesco, Milan. Grozdanov’s works are socially and politically oriented. He works in the techniques of stained glass, cast glass, fusing and screen printing.


The project is realised with the financial support of the National Culture Fund