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Interview with Art Collective founders of ALTTTTTAR, Alfiia Koneeva & Mariia Bokovnia


Text by Irina Rusinovich

IInterview with Art Collective founders of ALTTTTTAR, Alfiia Koneeva and Mariia Bokovnia

How did you choose the theme or concept for your art event, and what inspires your creative direction?

The concept for „Archive of Upcoming“ was deeply rooted in the captivating venue we selected – a former archive. This choice was not accidental; it symbolizes our commitment to challenging conventional notions of archives and their connection to our uncertain future. Our inspiration came from the tumultuous social, ideological, and political landscape of our times, which profoundly shapes our perception of what lies ahead. In this exhibition, we embarked on a profound exploration of the intricate interplay between our contemporary world and the mysterious frontiers of the future.

As curators, we were personally drawn to the theme because it allowed us to delve into the enigmatic uncertainties that often cloak the future. We were fascinated by how these uncertainties sometimes render the future unclear and, occasionally, disconcertingly dystopian. Throughout the curation process, we were continually struck by the recurring theme of the past, present, and future intersecting in the works of the artists we selected. This theme encouraged us to challenge our own detachment from reality, question the blurred lines between utopian dreams and dystopian realities, and deeply reflect on the profound impact of human activity on our planet.

„Archive of Upcoming“ became, for us, a symbolic space where the past and future coalesced, offering a profound reflection of our present moment. We came to view archives as more than mere repositories of history; they transformed into dynamic spaces that showcased a tapestry of diverse visions of the future. These visions, sometimes fragmented and uncertain, provided unique perspectives that could very well become integral chapters in our evolving history.

As we navigated the artistic tapestry woven by these talented individuals, we were personally inspired to envision the intriguing contours of what lies ahead. It was an invitation to participate in an ongoing dialogue that shapes the very essence of our existence, to blur the boundaries between past and future, and to engage with the intricate complexities of our world. „Archive of Upcoming“ became, to us, a testament to the ever-evolving nature of our reality and our collective pursuit of understanding the enigmatic future.

Can you describe the process of curating artists and artworks for your event and what criteria do you consider?

The process of curating artists and artworks for „Archive of Upcoming“ was an exciting and personally rewarding journey. What set our approach apart was our emphasis on the artists‘ works themselves, prioritizing their creative expressions above all else. In fact, many of the artists we featured were previously unknown to us, a testament to our commitment to discovering fresh, emerging talent. Our foremost criterion in selecting artists was the undeniable talent showcased in their works. We were drawn to pieces that resonated deeply with the concept of the exhibition, capturing the essence of uncertainty and the interplay between past, present, and future. Each artwork had to contribute meaningfully to the narrative we aimed to construct within the space.

We also considered how the artworks would harmonize with the unique style and atmosphere of the venue. The former archive, with its captivating history and architectural character, served as a canvas upon which the artworks would be displayed. It was crucial for us that the artists‘ works not only complemented the overarching theme but also enriched the aesthetic of the space itself.

Our primary focus was always on artistic quality and conceptual alignment. This approach allowed us to curate a diverse yet harmonious collection of works, providing a platform for emerging artists to shine while contributing to the overarching narrative of „Archive of Upcoming.“

photo credit Alizee Gazeau

What promotional and marketing techniques have proven successful in attracting a diverse audience to your independent art event?

We were deeply passionate about reaching a wide and diverse audience. To achieve this, we engaged in collaborations with local influencers and art communities who shared our vision. These collaborations not only helped us reach a broader audience but also allowed us to tap into the creativity and energy of the local art scene.

Another key element of our promotion was the use of creative and eye-catching materials. We understood the importance of visual appeal in today’s digital age. By investing time and effort into creating compelling promotional materials, we aimed to capture the essence of our event and draw people in.

Moreover, word-of-mouth played a significant role. Our personal connections and networks were invaluable in spreading the word about our event. The genuine passion we had for „Archive of Upcoming“ was evident in every conversation, and this authenticity resonated with others, driving them to attend and support the exhibition.

How do you plan to create an engaging and immersive experience for attendees beyond the artworks themselves?

At „Archive of Upcoming,“ our vision extended beyond merely presenting a collection of artworks. We were deeply committed to crafting an immersive space that beckoned attendees to actively engage with the art. To achieve this, we meticulously curated the exhibition environment, ensuring that it not only complemented the artworks but also invited personal interaction.

Moreover, we are thrilled to announce a forthcoming highlight of the exhibition experience: on September 14th, we will host a captivating sound performance concert. This concert will feature five diverse DJs, each poised to infuse the space with their unique sonic perspectives. This addition promises to transform the event into a multisensory journey, allowing attendees not only to appreciate the art but also to become an integral part of the immersive experience. We believe that art should not be a passive encounter but a vibrant and engaging one that fosters deeper connections and understanding. Join us on September 14th for this exciting exploration of art and sound, where past, present, and future collide in a mesmerizing sensory fusion.

Photo Credit Evgenia Chetvetkova

Can you share any challenges you’ve faced in organizing this art event independently and how you overcame them?

One of the most profound challenges we encountered during this journey was the lack of financial resources. This challenge was particularly impactful as young collectives and artists, especially those with diverse backgrounds, struggle to secure financial support in the current art landscape. In the contemporary art scene, resources often flow to already established and successful galleries and projects. This dynamic creates a significant barrier for emerging artists and collectives. As curators with backgrounds that don’t include well-connected families or established networks in the art world, the process was pretty exhausting.

However, we overcame this hurdle by pooling our own resources, seeking alternative funding sources, like support with the venue from „Konnekt Berlin“ and huge help from our friends and artists. It was a testament to our commitment to the vision we held for „Archive of Upcoming“ and the belief that art should not be limited by financial constraints. The personal and collective sacrifices made this journey even more meaningful, reinforcing our dedication to fostering a space for emerging artists to shine, regardless of financial barriers.

What role does technology or digital platforms play in enhancing or expanding the reach of your art event?

While Instagram remained a primary platform for us, the recent algorithmic changes presented a challenge. However, we recognized the importance of adapting to evolving digital landscapes. Despite algorithmic complexities, digital platforms remained instrumental in reaching a global audience. We leveraged these platforms not just for promotion but also for creating a digital extension of the exhibition, allowing those unable to attend in person to experience the art virtually.

The digital realm also provided a space for artists to share their stories and processes, fostering a deeper connection between creators and their audience. While technology brought its challenges, it also opened up new avenues for engagement and outreach.

photo credit Alizee Gazeau

In what ways do you foster collaboration and community engagement within the art scene through your event?

The birth of Art Collective ALTTTTTAR in Berlin in 2022 was a deeply personal journey for Mariia Bokovnia and Alfiia Koneeva. It was born from a desire to redefine how art is represented and experienced. ALTTTTTAR aimed to break down barriers for young artists, regardless of their cultural or social backgrounds, offering a platform where talent could shine.

This mission resonated deeply with us as artists and curators, as we felt the impact of the established art hierarchy on emerging artists. ALTTTTTAR became a place where cultures converged, and art served as a universal language that united people.

Through exhibitions in unconventional spaces, we sought to disrupt the norm and bring art directly into the daily lives of city dwellers. This approach allowed us to create a unique dialogue between art and everyday life, enriching both. Our commitment to providing an inclusive space for artists was deeply personal, reflecting our values and aspirations for the art community.


Anastasia Muna | DUSK



Photography:  Anastasia Muna  @ana.muna
Styling: Monika Jauneikaite @jauneikaite
Hair & Make-up: Samantha Pottmaier @samanthapottmaier
Set Design: Ksusha @ispeaktoflowers
Talent: Ayaka H @Viva Models
Photo Assistant: Nadiia Hoi @nadiiagoi
Styling Assistant: Sally Chennery @sallyisastylist
Set Design Assistant: Alexandra Kharina h@kharina.alexandra

Aleksandra Stopenko jacket @aleksandra_stepcenko Studio MJ choker


Right: 032C jumpsuit @032C Studio MJ choker @studiomonikajaun , Agnelle gloves @agnelle_officiel

Aleksandra Stopenko jacket @aleksandra_stepcenko, Studio MJ choker @studiomonikajaun, Y3 swimwear @adidasy3, Stocking and shoes Stylist Personal Archive

032C jumpsuit @032C
 032c jumpsuit @032C Studio MJ choker @studiomonikajaunKarl Lagerfeld heels @karllagerfeld
David Koma dress @davidkomalondon Studio MJ harness @studiomonikajaunChiara Ferragni heels @chiaraferragnibrand

Cloé Le Reste | Vaitea



Photography Chloé Le Reste @chloelereste (
Fashion Sami Claire @koko.damaa
Hair and make up Charlène Georgy @chanaelle
Model Vaitea Foley @blueisntyourcolor at City Models @citymodels

right image | Zara jacket,  Shawna Wu (@shawnawux) skirt, vintage Peter Fox shoes,  left image | Vintage Chanel necklace

right image | Pressiat (@pressiat_) skirt, vintage bodysuit, vintage Chanel (@chanelofficial) necklace, left image | vintage Giorgio Armani  blazer, Blackhead Jewelry ear cuff

 right image  Zara  jacket, Shawna Wu  skirt , left image |  vintage dress, vintage earrings

                        right image |  vintage dress, vintage earrings, left image  | Pressiat vintage bodysuit, vintage Chanel necklace

right image | vintage bodysuit  vintage Chanel (@chanelofficial)  necklace, left image |  Pressiat (@pressiat_) skirt, vintage Hermès (@hermes) shoes

right image |  Zara (@zara) jacket, Shawna Wu @shawnawux skirt, left image | vintage bodysuit, vintage Chanel (@chanelofficial) necklace

Cansın Soyer | It’s just me, myself and I



Photographer Cansın Soyer @cansinnsoyer
Photographer Assistant Mustafa Can Koca @ m.cankoca
Stylist Merve Okur @meerveeokur
Stylist Assistant Hilal Üzer @hilaluzer_
Make up artist Melisa Deniz @ mdarslanboa
Model Jessica Fuhrmann @youcancallmejessj

Knitwear Body: Rhodochrosite Studio Culotte Pants:Zara Socks:Wolford Accessory: Editor’s Shoes:Massimo Dutti
Bikini Top: Normaillot Lace Bra : Wolford Biker Leggings: In the Mood for Love Socks: Wolford Accessory:  Editor’ s Shoes : Massimo Dutti

Knitwear Body: Rhodochrosite Studio Culotte Pants:Zara Socks:Wolford Accessory: Editor’s Shoes:Massimo Dutti

Bikini Top: Normaillot Lace Bra : Wolford Biker Leggings: In the Mood for Love Socks: Wolford Accessory:  Editor’ s Shoes : Massimo Dutti

Knitwear Body: Rhodochrosite Studio Culotte Pants:Zara Socks:Wolford Accessory: Editor’s Shoes:Massimo Dutti

Cansın Soyer | Vibrant Spectrum



Photographer: Cansın Soyer @cansinnsoyer
Photographer Assistant: Mustafa Can Koca @m.cankoka
Stylist: Merve Okur @meerveeokur
Stylist Assistant: Hilal Üzer @hilaluzer_
Make up artist:  Melisa Deniz @mdarslanboa
Model: Divanita @divanitanuwame
Location: Digione Plus  @digioneplus

Pink Bomber Jacket : Selezza London

Bucket Hat: In the Mood for Love Pants: Wolford Pink Pants: Selezza London

Pink Bomber Jacket: Selezza London Pants: Living on Mars

Swimwear: Normaillot

Dress: In the Mood for Love Necklace: MTOY

Pants: Living on Mars Bucket Hat: In the Mood for Love

Hugo Marongiu | TAINTED OIL



Photographer : Valerie Archeno – @valeriearcheno
AD/Fashion : Hugo Marongiu – @artistic.hugo
Make up : Camille Lutz – @Camillelutzmakeup
Models : Zoe Dupeyre – @zoedbarz
Gabriele Silvia – @silvia_gabri_gs

Her Patoe   Him  Ruohan  Shoes  Lana Volkov

Total look Moon Young Hee Sunglasses Prada

Suit  Agnès B

Dress  Patou Jewels  Agnès B

 Her AZ FACTORY  Him Coat Alter Pants Sandro GlassesVersace

Her Sandro  Him Agnès B

Studio Visit | Tora Aghanayova


Text by Irina Rusinovich, Photography Johannes Pol 

Studio visit | Tora Aghabayova

How did your journey as an artist begin, and what inspired you to specialize in figurative and surrealist painting?

The journey began not by the easel but by piano. My family believed I would make a good pianist. But I guess I did not have a proper physics for that as my fingers are not long enough or perhaps the music school program was not fiery enough, anyway,  I turned to paper. Several years in all sorts of art schools and I graduated from Azerbaijani State Art Academy with full knowledge of putting those fat strokes, soviet style painting, you know? Creativity is not very welcome but skills must be fine. No complaints about that. I would not want any direction on my thoughts. The most interesting things are happening in the head that is left alone. 

Painting was never my main medium. It is one of the languages that I speak to spread the suggestion of the parallel reality world or call it a surreal world. Less verbal, more intuitive. Painting has the entertaining factor to it, while the videos or some of the conceptual works that I do are like a fall in the music piece when the melody drops from “major” to “minor” and puts one in a melancholic mood.  Painting is a basic language, an old form of expression. I love it.

 Can you tell us about your experience as an Azerbaijani artist living and working in Berlin? How has this influenced your artistic style and subject matter?

The place where you begin your life journey – first your house, then your street, then your city, and so on, shapes you, it gives you a perspective on the world. Everything I see now, everything I experience, first goes through the folder in my brain that is called “home”, a 5-year-old me on a sofa, it processes there and then goes to the other more advanced parts of the institution of my head. I guess that’s why my hair is so curly, it’s the overloaded wires. So I carry this Home wherever I go, like a snail. It is important that the artist must not be attached to geographical matters, and it certainly helps to be away. There were the times I was living in China, the conception of a home being the center of the universe evaporated there. Now I am in Germany, and I clearly know that anyone born here has a German perspective on the world just like I have my Azerbaijani one, which I do not suppress. The theme is lingering in my artworks, I don’t force it and I don’t resist it. It is what it is.

What themes or ideas do you often explore in your paintings? Are there any specific cultural or personal influences that inspire your work?

I am very much fascinated by “happiness” or feeling “good”. We are moving through the age of massive hysteria, when things are speeding up, so much information from all over the world, catastrophes that you would not normally find out about 30 years ago, now with the internet you know too many events of suffering. A problem is cultivated, is respected. A good times event, good news is overlooked, lightness is considered to be a vulgarity, shallowness. So I do explore the ideas of moving through the times of information and finding a good spot during these times. 

studio impressions  by Johannes Pol

 Could you walk us through your creative process? How do you typically approach a new painting, from conception to completion?

I love talking to people. All sorts of people. Everywhere. I gather the stories, then I dive into my head with them, experiencing some silence, while I am in a tram that goes to I don’t know where or walking on the sand somewhere,  I glue the stories into a shabby magazine, then I turn the pages and I find pictures in between.

In your opinion, what is the significance of figurative and surrealist art in today’s contemporary art scene? How does it allow you to express your artistic vision and connect with your audience?

It is certainly one of the most digestible genres. Even if one can not relate to what is going on there on the canvas, at least there are familiar forms, that may lead the viewer to create his own story, often very interesting variations on what you suggested there, sometimes nothing to do with your idea but still beautiful.  

Tora by Johannes Pol 

 Have you faced any challenges or obstacles as a female artist in the art industry? How do you navigate them and stay motivated to pursue your artistic goals?

I have my ups and downs. I don’t have a fashion to blame it on my gender. I know many females who are doing great, I know males who do worse than me. There is so much in the art world that is based on luck. My luck is like a cat. When I move and make some steps to attract it, it may come my way, sometimes it’s just being a lazy cat and won’t move, then I just keep doing whatever attracts it and the cat will come your way at some point. It is a matter of having enough treats to offer. Nothing comes easily.

What are your aspirations and plans for the future? Are there any upcoming projects or exhibitions we can look forward to?

A Solo show in Baku this September on the topic of shiny screens, pretty objects, and hybrids.

And in Berlin during the art week in Schoeneberg, it’s the first week of November, a gallery “Under The Mango Tree” will be showing my solo where I concentrate on private paradise moments. Let us not be so discreet about the beauty of the moment. Our life is made of seconds, each one can be beautiful.


For more news from Tora on her instagram 

studio impressions