The Balcony is pleased to announce that Abril Cisneros and Mari Kolcheva will join forces with Arthur Cordier and Valentino Russo for the further development of the curatorial program. Welcome!
Abril Cisneros (Mexico/Spain) is an art historian and curator based in Leiden. Concerned with challenging standard narratives of media and field specificity, her practice investigates the potential of interdisciplinary methodologies to approach contemporary art and broaden interpretive possibilities. Her research interests include histories of (material) resilience, non-western epistemologies, the dynamics and impact of independent art spaces, and, more expansively, politically engaged culture and performance. Last July, Abril joined the team at The Balcony as a curator and programmer.
Abril holds a BA in Art History from Leiden University and her work has been recently published by spaces such as the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas), and Meno Parkas Gallery (Lithuania). She was a curatorial intern at Museum Beelden aan Zee (The Hague) and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (Manila). Prior to this, she worked at Galerie Maurits van de Laar (The Hague), and ran the student-led gallery of the Faculty of Humanities at Leiden University. Alongside her role at The Balcony, she is pursuing an MA in Curating at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam after being awarded the 2023 Fundación Botín grant for curatorial studies.
Mari Kolcheva (Bulgaria) is a visual artist based in The Hague with an inexhaustible interest in language and the stories that elude it. Her practice embraces curiosity and care to probe modes of knowledge that evolve on the unsteady frontier between science and magical thinking, and to explore the tension between natural body and body politic. Last July, Mari joined the team at The Balcony as a curator and programmer.
Mari received a Master’s degree in Photography & Society from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in 2020. Her work has been selected for Somfy Photography Award, and she was the recipient of Stipendium Dialoog by FOTODOK, Vrij Neerland and Stichting Dialoog. In 2020 she co-created Symposium on Visual Culture "Undisciplining Photography," in collaboration with Nederlands Fotomuseum (Rotterdam).
Previously, she devoted five years to developing a biotop for young Bulgarian artists using the medium of photography in Rubber Gallery—the first photography-dedicated space in Bulgaria, with venues in Sofia & Plovdiv, and she worked for the pan-European Cinema Education project CiNed, as well as for the International Sofia Film Festival as a part of Documentary Cinema panel.
In 2023, she was awarded the Kunstenaar START grant by the Mondriaan Fonds. Alongside her role at The Balcony, Mari is working together with the philosopher and educator Thomas Bragton on a long-term project that involves integrating Visual Culture education into high schools and professional school curricula, in collaboration with Johan de Witt Scholengroep and Waterlab voor de Toekomst, as she believes that learning how to see the world around us is of prime importance.
Arthur Cordier (Belgium) grew up on an island. Currently his practice entails that of a curator and artist working between The Netherlands and Belgium. With a background in communication studies and urban space, his practice often involves the study and tactical reassembly of commercial, production and advertising strategies, especially when these operate in urban contexts. The amplitude of his proposals allow him to work around the aesthetics and politics of bureaucracy, entrepreneurship, and efficiency, which at times results in self-reflective exercises traversing the economic conditions of being an artist.
In 2018, together with Valentino Russo, he co-founded The Balcony in The Hague, where he has co-curated a program tackling, among other themes, the paradoxes of creative labor, the framing of automation and the dynamics between consumption, excess and the role of the artist in a society driven by efficiency.
Arthur received a Master’s degree in Artistic Research from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in 2019. He has had solo exhibitions at IKOB Museum of Contemporary Art (Eupen), Hgtomi Rosa (The Hague), as well as group exhibitions at Galerie Maurits van de Laar (The Hague), TORCH Gallery (Amsterdam), Bregenz Biennale (Austria), Cas-Co (Leuven) a.o. In 2022 and 2023, he was awarded the Kunstenaar START grant by the Mondriaan Fonds, as well as PRO Invest stipend from Stroom Den Haag. Alongside his role as a curator at The Balcony, Arthur contributes to Art Au Centre (Liège), further establishing exchanges between The Netherlands and Belgium.
Valentino Russo (Italy) is an artist and curator living and working in The Hague. An avid web surfer from his early years, Valentino’s artistic practice is informed by the spreadability and transformation of images in the internet age, the dynamics of self presentation in online spheres, and the vocabulary of social media. Working mainly with found footage and photography, he further addresses themes of media saturation, media literacy, attention economy, and the way these influence our understanding of truth. In 2018, together with Arthur Cordier, he co-founded The Balcony in The Hague where -from the organization’s early location at a violin store’s vitrine to its current venue- he has co-curated over 30 exhibitions with a focus on upcoming practices.
Valentino attended the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) and received his MA in Artistic Research in 2018. His work has been exhibited in spaces such as -Fabbrica del Vapore (Milan), Showroom Mama (Rotterdam), and Hong-Gah Museum (Taipei). He also has a bandcamp page, check it out!