20.05.2023 - 25.07.2023

Alison Darby

Alison Darby

Structura Gallery’s “Open Windows” project aims to reduce the tension between the exhibition space and ‘the street’, who don’t always find common ground and are often at odds. The idea is to make the art, placed directly in the windows, both more accessible and to provoke passers-by to interact with it.

Alison Darby is the third artist-in-residence to spend some time in Sofia in an attempt to get to know the city and get inspiration for an exhibition. A central theme in her work is the urban environment and her interaction with it. She is motivated by spaces and their stories, transformations and new functions. She is particularly interested in places that are not marked on official maps, but exist as a gap in time, an in-between moment and a transition to a next existence.

“In my installations I layer different media like a collage. Sculptures, photographs, drawings and audio recordings intertwine to form a dense fabric. In my work I deal with fields, urban archaeologies and territories that bear the imprints of human activity. I turn my gaze to the ground to look more closely at the cobbles, the fabric of the city, the marks on the bitumen. I direct my gaze to the surfaces and subject the texture and traces to careful contemplation. Starting with the forms and materials, I question what is fundamental and formative about this society. What socio-political structures and mechanisms lie beneath the surfaces? Using for example a pavement, a building under reconstruction or a wasteland, I explore how the human body is staged and at the same time what memories, traces and stories are left in the material.”

In the Structura Gallery project “Bouquinerie”, Alison Darby creates a composition made up of several visual components. It embodies her perception of one familiar urban sight: the makeshift stalls for “second-hand” books and cards in the garden in front of the Rila Hotel. What impresses her is the informal use of this public space. Rows of books that form a kind of walls and create a new structure. Postcards and old photographs relating to faraway places, and forming walls of boxes full of stories that gather in this place. Alison transforms these elements into a long strip of ornaments (words). They are her transcription of the soundscape and the stories she has heard. The ornamental notes complement a plaster relief protruding from the wall that expresses her tactile perception.

The project reflects the artist’s concept of the different uses of places, the accumulation of stories and meanings, and how historical and visual layers interact with the environment and people.


Alison Darby was born (1986) in Belgium but is currently based in Berlin. After following classical piano studies at the Conservatoire Royal de Mons, she studied painting for a year at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp in 2011. In 2012 she started her sculpture studies at the Berlin University of the Arts and in 2018 achieved the title of Meisterschülerin in the class of Prof. Manfred Pernice.

Her work has been shown in several group exhibitions nationally and internationally. In 2019, she participated in the Welchenhausen International Sculpture Symposium and made a stone sculpture for the Sculpture Trail in the Our Valley. Alison Darby has worked collectively with other artists* in several constellations (with the collective FroonTimmer 2017 to 2019/ With the artist Tama Ruß she built a temporary concrete monument in Berlin’s outdoor space in 2018, which set the impulse for the emergence of a community garden and initiative DaWoEdekaMaWa/ In 2020 she made artistic research on art in public space with the collective x-embassy and developed a publication and a performative walk in the Berlin district of Pankow). In 2021 she received the research grant from the Senate Department for Culture and Europe, Berlin and in 2022 the Neustart Kulturstipendium from the Stiftung Kunstfonds to enable the development of new works.

The project is realised with the financial support of the National Culture Fund PROGRAMME FOR RESTORATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF PRIVATE CULTURAL ORGANISATIONS

Art manager: Nana Melkonyants