Research of the relation between text and its presence in world art has remained quite fragmentary. The first attempt at such a study, which also seems to be the only one, is the “Important Message” project, presented at the SCAG in 2006 by Maria Vasileva and Daniela Radeva, who focused on the use of text in Bulgarian art between the late 1980’s and 2006. Yet it is a fact that text has had a place in paintings by Bulgarian artists since as early as the 19th century. Therefore the “Silent Image and Blind Text” exhibition focusing on text and its place in Bulgarian visual arts over the period after 1856 is not just a follow-up to the “Important Message” project, but also an attempt at a comprehensive study of the relation between text and image in Bulgarian art –from the first secular 19th century paintings through to the most recent artistic output of the 21st century. What is more, the exhibition offers an approach to systematizing the physical presence of text in visual art, focusing on four major thematic units, namely “Descriptive text”, “Text and being”, “Intentionality of text”, and “Triumph of text”.
This project is an attempt at an overview of the physical presence of text (even its markers) in Bulgarian visual arts, where “text“ shall denote not only a group of written words and sentences, but also isolated words, syllables, letter and number graphemes. The exhibition features more than 120 works by artists including Nikolay Pavlovich, Stanislav Dospevski, Anton Mitov, Ivan Markvichka, Nikola Petrov, Ivan MIlev, Nikolay Raynov, Boris Georgiev, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Galin Mlakchev, Georgi Bozhilov – Slona, Tekla Alexieva, Rumen Gasharov, Andrey Daniel, Nedko Solakov, Lachezar Boyadzhev, Ventsislav Zankov, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Krasimir Krastev – Rassim, Boryana Dragoeva – Rossa, Sasho Stoitsov, etc. Thus the exhibition allows viewers and researchers to follow the relation between text and image, and the shape it took over various historical periods, as well as to look at the whole variety of opportunities afforded to Bulgarian artists by the love and discord between text and image. Sometimes the relation appears surprisingly close, while other times it is unexpectedly distant.
The exhibition features works from the collections of the National Art Gallery, the National Academy of Fine Arts, the “Ivan Vazov” National Theater, the National Museum of Church History and Archaeology, the Union of Bulgarian Artists, the Sofia History Museum, the Plovdiv City Art Gallery, the “Vladimir Dimitrov – the Master” Kyustendil City Art Gallery, the Blagoevgrad Museum of Regional History, the “Dimitar Dobrovich” Sliven City Art Gallery, the “Nikolay Pavlovich” Svistov City Art Gallery, the “George Papazov” Yambol City Art Gallery, the “Svetlin Rusev” Atelier-Collection, and private collectors.
Curatorial project of Plamen V. Petrov and Ramona Dimova