The exhibition commemorates the 70th anniversary of Thomas Kochev’s birth – an artist who acquired a prominent place in the tradition of Bulgarian sculpture. Without being a retrospective, the exhibition features thirty wood, ceramic and bronze sculptures, as well as a substantial number of drawings thus presenting the rare opportunity to get a comprehensive idea of the artist’s work.
Thomas Kochev entered the Bulgarian art scene in 1971, remaining an active presence on it until his death in 1997. His sculptures represent an organic whole of sense of material, exquisite form and artistic freedom of thought. Immersed in a world of their own, they convey the idea of enlightenment and spiritual heightening. Wood, which is Thomas Kochev’s preferred material, lends the images the sensual and intimate feel of living matter with all of its warmness and vulnerability.
Drawings comprise a significant part of the exhibition, as they give a comprehensive idea of the sculptor’s artistic visions. Artistic, spontaneous, characterized by a graceful and temperamental outline, they precede, follow and summarize the evolution of his sculptural work.
The delicate dialogue with Greek antiquity or medieval wood engraving, with the classics or the primal energy of the material comprise an organic alloy of a personal style based on substantial experience and deep thought, of a unique artistic language, which, untouched by changing influences, tendencies and tastes, brings aesthetical values to the level of spiritual ones.
Works featured in the exhibition belong to the Sofia City Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, the “Iliya Beshkov” Pleven City Art Gallery, the Silistra City Art Gallery, Svetlin Rousev atelier-collection, and other private collections.
Curator: Svetla Georgieva
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Thomas Stavrov Kochev was born on April 1, 1940 in Banitsa, Greece. In 1948 his family emigrated first to Yugoslavia, then to the Czech Republic and Romania. In 1968 he majored in sculpture in the City of Cluj, Romania. Until 1970 he worked as a scenographer at the Hungarian opera in the City of Cluj. In 1971 he moved together with his family to Bulgaria, remaining in the capital city of Sofia till the end of his life. He died in 1997.
In the period between 1971 and 1990 he participated in all general art exhibitions held in Bulgaria, as well as in sculpture symposia in the City of Bourgas, the village of Yasna Polyana, the District of Bourgas, Hungary, Romania, the 1984 Paris Autumn Salon. In 1975 and 1985 he had solo exhibitions in Sofia.
A posthumous exhibition of his works was held at the SiBank Gallery in 2008. He won the annual Union of Bulgarian Artists award for sculpture in 1983 and 1989. Tomas Kochev designed monuments to be found in the Bulgarian towns of Chirpan and Troyan and in the village of Vaklino in North-Eastern Bulgaria.
Works of his belong to the collections of the National Art Gallery, the Sofia City Art Gallery, the Varna City Art Gallery, the Pleven City Art Gallery, the Smolyan City Art gallery, the Botevgrad City Art Gallery, the Silistra City Art Gallery, Hugo Vuten’s collection and various private collections in Bulgaria and abroad.