The exhibition is organized to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Bulgarian Association of University Women.
The exhibition itself represents a mosaic of the works of both women artists and architects. Twenty five artists, among them Vera Nedkova, Zoya Paprikova, Vera Loukova, Donka Konstantinova, Olga Bradistilova, Todorka Bourova, Vaska Balareva, Nevena Kozhouharova, Elena Karamihailova, Elisaveta Konsoulova Vazova, Binka Zlatareva and others together with five architects – Victoria Angelova-Vinarova, Paraskeva Gancheva, Mara Zaharieva, Maria Sapareva, Germana Foke – Genova are presented with works, photographs and documents. Most of the artistic works as well as the architectural projects were created between the 1920s and 1930s. You can see 35 paintings, graphics, drawings, sculptures, more than 20 drawings, 50 photographs of buildings andpost cards, more than 35 documents and documentary pictures.
Being aware of how impossible it is to cover all periods, the authors of the exhibition Irina Genova nad Ljubunka Stoilova have decided on a temporal range which is not influenced by the closing of the once existing Association of the Women Artists. The exhibition is even richer with the works of Lika Yanko, Slavka Deneva, Lilyana Rousseva, which belong to the later period of the 1960s and 1970s and reflect another cultural situation.
The abundance of self-portraits and photographs express the curators’ interest in the personalities of the women artists and architects and marks their presence in a symbolic way.
The contemporary visual environment and sensibility define the artistic attitude. The curators have been especially insistent on showing contemporary art as well. They have invited Adelina Popnedeleva, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Sofia Hadzhipapa as well as an artistic couple – Nina Kovacheva and Valentin Stefanov.
Nowadays with the globalization in the centre of the debate we share different (inter)national artistic environments and this is fully applicable to the exhibited women artists. The artists and architects from the early decades of the twentieth century, however, were also educated and expressed themselves in a variety of European cultural centres.
As for the title – why exactly Presences/Absences? During the preparation of the exhibition it turned out that women artists and architects are present in our minds as creators of the Modern art in Bulgaria but they are mostly absent from institutions in charge of preserving historical memories. Works which were reproduced and commented repeatedly when they first appeared and others which were included in the early history of the Modern art of Bulgaria, are difficult and often impossible to trace and find. The research on the accomplishments of the women architects is also impeded. The current exposition is part of the common effort to acknowledge their cultural presence.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue whose compilers and authors are Irina Genova (on artists) and Ljubinka Stoilova (on architects).
The project is financed by the Cultural Department of Sofia municipality.
Bulgarian Association of University Women (www.bauw.hit.bg), successor of the Association of Bulgarian Women withHigher Education, which was established in 1924 and has been member of the International Federation of University Women since 1925
Sofia Art Gallery
National Art Gallery
With the participation of:
Sliven Art Gallery
Plovdiv Art Gallery
Stara Zagora Art Gallery
The Union of Bulgarian Artists
Pro Helvetia Swiss Cultural Programme
Austrian Embassy Sofia