The exhibition Between Tradition and Modernism. Images of the Native in Bulgarian Art of the 1920’s is an attempt to present a segment of Bulgaria’s art scene between the early and the mid-20th century. To a certain extent, the singling out of the 1920’s as a distinct period in the history of Bulgarian art was done by art critics for convenience, and is therefore used by this exhibition as a reference point with no strict time boundaries. This decade was a time of vigorous development of the art scene characterized by versatility and modernization. The exhibition is a compilation of artworks exemplifying various trends in the process of modernization, as well as continuation of the tradition of the preceding decades by young Bulgarian art. The artists’ focus of attention was the quest for a national identity and the creation of images epitomizing this concept. The exhibition was developed along four distinct thematic lines in Bulgarian art characteristic of the period, namely interpretations inspired by folk tales and epics, artworks drawing on Christianity and Christian heritage, interest in rites and rituals and representation of images of the Bulgarian countryside. Prints constitute a special component of the exhibition whose presentation of the highlights of the period is complemented by applied art exhibits.
The exhibition features artworks by iconic Bulgarian artists, namely Ivan Milev, Vladimir Dimitrov the Mater, Sirak Skitnik, Ivan Penkov, Nikolay Raynov, Pencho Georgiev, Ivan Lazarov, Nikola Kozhuharov, Boris Denev, Georgi Mashev, etc. The artworks presented in the exhibition come from the permanent collections of the following museums: Sofia City Art Gallery, National Art Gallery, Sofia, Museum of Reginal History, Sofia, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Archives State Agency, National Academy of Arts, SS Cyril and Methodius National Library, Union of Bulgarian Artists, Plovidv City Art Gallery, art galleries of the cities of Stara Zagora, Kazanlak, Kyustendil, Pazardzhik, Sliven, Shumen, Ruse, Samokov City History Museum, museums of regional history of the cities of Dobrich and Vratsa, as well as from private collections.
The project, which was brought to life with kind support from Aurubis Bulgaria AG and the Culture Program of the Sofia City Municipal Council Program, is dedicated to Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU Council.
The exhibition was curated by Adelina Fileva, Stanislava Nikolova, and Lyuben Domozetski. Other participants in the project include consultant Tatyana Dimitrova and artist Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova.