Back in 1997, an exhibition presenting Armenian Artists in Bulgaria was shown in the halls of the Sofia City Art Gallery (SCAG). It was the result of the research efforts of curators Adelina Filleva and Olympia Nikolova.
The retrospective exhibition of Bedig Bedrossian, currently on display at the gallery, is a natural continuation of the same initiative, as well as of the SCAG’s strategy to present visual stories about not-so-famous, marginalized and disremembered persons, whose oeuvre however is part and parcel of the overall artistic landscape of this country.
Guided by their researchers' creed that any art deprived of its creator’s personality is mute, the exhibition's curators Plamen Petrov and Ramona Dimova offer to the audience a visual story not just about the artist, by way of his secular and religious paintings, drawings, cartoons, and caricatures, but also about the man Bedig Bedrossian. This life story ranges from his literary attempts, written in both Romanian and Armenian, to the documentary narrative about his life course.
Last but not least, the Wharfs exhibition, even though revealing the individual creative world of an artist, whose creative period lasted from 1944 to 1989, provides actually an opportunity to give a new meaning to certain concepts that have left a profound mark on the historical narrative about our recent past. That is precisely why the exposition is not just the fulfilled mission of his heirs, nor is it the fruition of some sort of resurrection of a wandering artist from Armenia. It allows the audience to encounter works of art, in which their author materialized his own quests for justice and not for the objectivity surrounding him.
BEDIG BEDROSSIAN was born in 1912 in the village of Sredishte (Silistra Province) into a family of Armenian refugees. When he was just seven years old, his family settled in the city of Silistra, where he received his entire education. In 1930, he graduated from the city’s Romanian Secondary School for Boys. His friendship with the painter Todor Dobrudzhanski played an important role in the formation of the artist Bedig Bedrossian.
In 1941, Bedig Bedrossian painted the icons and the murals inside the dome of the ‘Surp Asdvadzadzin’ (Holy Mother of God) Armenian fane in Silistra, whose foundations date back to 1611, thus rendering it one of the oldest Armenian spiritual centers in this country.
Following the political changes, which swept across the country after September 1944, the artist worked actively in the field of film posters. At the same time, he did not remain indifferent to the typical visual agitation and propaganda posters of that era. Bedig Bedrossian’s first solo exhibition premiered at the city gallery of Silistra in the early 1950s. In 1967 he was awarded the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Third class.
At the end of 1969, he travelled to Armenia, where he created a cycle of landscape paintings titled ‘Armenia’. The landscapes were shown in various collective and solo exhibitions. Many of his works, created while he was living in his family’s native land, were left behind there as a donation. Some of them are kept today at the National Gallery of Armenia in Yerevan. In 1980, at the initiative of the ‘Yerevan’ Cultural and Educational Organization in Bulgaria, the artist mounted a sizeable solo exhibition at the Central Military Club in Sofia.
Bedig Bedrossian passed away on June 20, 1989 in Silistra. His complete oeuvre includes over 600 artworks, consisting of oil paintings, drawings, caricatures, and sketches. The vast majority of those are well-preserved. Other works have been tracked down, restored and shown in various exhibitions.
Paintings and drawings by Bedig Bedrossian are in the possession of the city art galleries of Silistra, Tutrakan, Dobrich, Varna, Plovdiv, and Pazardzhik, the Sofia City Art Gallery, and the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund, while others are held in various public and private collections both in this country and abroad, including Germany, France, Russia, Romania, and Armenia.
The exhibition includes works of art from the art collections of the National Art Gallery of Sofia, the Art Gallery of Silistra, the ‘Boris Georgiev’ City Art Gallery of Varna, the City Art Gallery of Plovdiv, the ‘Stanislav Dospevski’ Art Gallery of Pazardzhik, the Art Gallery of Dobrich, the Art Gallery of Tutrakan, the Armenian church board of trustees at the ‘Surp Asdvadzadzin’ (Holy Mother of God) Armenian church in Silistra, the Armenian Cultural and Information Centre in Plovdiv, as well as from private art collections.