19 September 2017 - 22 October 2017
Exhibition of BAZA Award for Contemporary Art Nominees
20 June 2017 - 30 July 2017
The BAZA Award for contemporary art was established in 2008. The award’s statistics include: nine successfully completed fellowships of Bulgarian artists in New York City, forty-three exhibition nominees, 277 submitted portfolios, and 27 artists, curators and representatives of institutions who acted as members of the jury.
The exhibition aims to present each nominee in the best possible light. Artists present mostly new works, specifically created for the contest, or works created in the past year.
The jury’s choice of a winner is based on various criteria, namely: recognizing new names without ignoring nominees from previous years, who show promise; nominees’ competitiveness on the international art scene; their basic knowledge of 20th century art, and the relevance of their work to the world of today.
The BAZA award winner for 2017 is Martina Vacheva.
• DIRECTIONS • IVAN MILEV (1897 – 1927) •
16 June 2017 - 06 August 2017
This exhibition is organized and presented to the public as an expression of reverence to one of the most original aesthetic phenomena in Bulgarian visual arts of the 1920s, Ivan Milev. At the same time, as is the case with many major exhibition projects implemented in the past, it marks another anniversary – 120 years since the birth of the artist and 90 years since the untimely end of his life and creative work.
The name of the exposition is Directions, as it is an attempt to illustrate or at least outline some of the genre (easel and mural painting, drawing, illustration, stage design) or thematic spheres of artistic interest in the known or preserved part of Ivan Milev’s fine art production. Here one can see works that trace the connection with the national or fairy-tale element in his art, with the themes of religion, mysticism, fatalism, with the Native art movement and Secession, with the decorative style and the short-lived Bulgarian modernism.
The exhibition includes several works that are part of private collections. The viewers can discover the artist’s creative work, including a number of paintings that are not well-known or have not been displayed for decades.
The exhibition comprises works from Kazanlak Art Gallery, National Gallery – Sofia, National Academy of Arts, Sofia City Art Gallery, National Museum of Literature, Art Gallery “Dimiter Dobrovich” – Sliven, Stara Zagora Art Gallery, Art Gallery “Kiril Petrov” – Montana, Art Gallery “Hristo Tsokev” – Gabrovo, Ruse Art Gallery and a number of private collections. The exposition was realized in partnership with Kazanlak Art Gallery which preserves the largest part of Ivan Milev’s artistic heritage. In the fall, the exhibition will be presented in the artist’s home town.
The team of Sofia City Art Gallery would like to thank Academician Svetlin Rusev, Prof. Milena Georgieva, Prof. Marin Dobrev, Architect Alexander Todorov and Emil Chushev for their cooperation in tracing several artworks.
Philip Zidarov– curator
12 June 2017 - 09 July 2017
The idea about the Bronze House originated some ten years ago and naturally evolved in the works of the Bulgarian-Austrian artist Plamen Dejanoff. This is his most large-scale, renowned and commprehensive project that involves a lot of European museums, foundations, galleries, collectors, patrons, and experts in the field of modern art, history, architecture and urbanistics.
The Bronze House focuses on various aspects of art in social environment and its inter-relatedness with social processes, problems of modern cities, attitudes to hisotry, memory and cultural heritage.
There is a compound of houses in Arbanasi that host impressive wood-carvings, metal works and stone details as well as rich records of some 20,000 documents related to Bulgarian history from 13th to mid-20th century. The records include further several texts by Le Corbusier dedicated to the details in the Bulgarian medieval architecture.
Inspired by all this, Plamen Dejanoff sets about restoring missing details from the houses‘ decoration and turning houses in individual works of art that are in the heart of the project.
The Bronze House is the largest sculpture-house in the world made entirely and only by massive bronze. It is 14-metre high, and the foundations are seven metre by seven metre. It is made by more than 1,000 hand-cast and processed massive bronze elements.
The precious colour of the metal and its fine processing refer to the archaelogival monuments found in Bulgaria. The structure of the sculpture is made by alternating rectangular elements whose composition is inspired by the wood-carvings typical for the Bulgarian Revival. The overall plan inevitably calls for associations with the Tower of Hrelyu of the Rila Monastery.
At the same time the stylistics of the Bronze House is markedly modern and drawing on modern urban environment and modern technologies. Thus the sculpture turns into a powerful symbol of the symbiosis of past, present and future.
It is envisaged that the Bronze House will be erected at the end of 2017 and opened in the beginning of 2018 at the place of the former mausoleum in Alexander Batenberg Square in Sofia, a key place for Bulgarian post-liberation, new and modern history. After the mausoleum was destroyed in 1999, nothing significant happened in this area of the city. The square appears desolate and empty from any content. It often provokes debates and disussions, but not a single adequate urbanistic concept could be identified for it during the last 20 years.
The Bronze House is a functional architectural object. Inside the building there is a large space (a hall) that is open for the general public and is envisaged to serve as a stage for various events such as concerts, theatre performances, exhibitions, congresses etc. The Sofia City Municipality may use the Bronze House for its annual cultural calendar. This is precisely the social significance of the Bronze House. The cycle modern art – modern urbanistics – social significance will be successfully accomplished producing a side-effect for the general public.
The Sofia City Art Gallery presents Plamen Dejanoff’s newest work – a model of the Sofia City centre and the location of the Bronze House. The artist further created a special limited circulation of posters dedicated to the project. They will be presented side by side with various covers of international magazines that published articles about the Bronze House.
Curator Boris Kostadinov
The European Union declared 2018 a European year of the cultural heritage. Bulgaria and Austria will hold the EU presidency in the same year.
The Bronze House and its erection in Sofia is the official proposal of the Republic of Austria to Bulgaria in connection with the cultural cooperation between the two countries during their presidencies.
Born in 1970 in Veliko Tarnovo. Works and lives in Vienna and Veliko Tarnovo.
Graduated the National Academy of Arts in Sofia and subsequently studied in Pratt Institute, New York. In 1997 he graduated Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna with a master’s degree in sculpture in the class of Prof. Michelangelo Pistoletto.
H e was awarded by Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna as early as 1992. Then followed awards by Goldenen Heinrich Friedrich Fuegerpreis der Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna; Meisterschullpreis der Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna; Kunstpreis der Stadt Hamburg, Hamburg, etc., as well as fellowships such as MAK Rudolph M. Schindler, MAK Centre, Los Angeles, MOMBUSHO, Musashino Art University, Tokyo, IASPIS, The Royal Swedish Academy of Arts, Stockholm.
Plamen Dejanoff has had more than 300 exhibitions in the last 20 years, 60 of which individual.
The larger individual exhibitions have been in MUMOK Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, MAK Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna, MAMBO Museo d ́Arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologna, Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg, 21er Haus Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Vienna, MSU Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, GFZK Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, L’ELAC, l’espace lausannois d’art contemporain, Lausanne, NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aahen.
Plamen Dejanoff has participated with his works in group exhibitions in various museums such as Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, MOMA, New York, MOT Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Kunsthalle, Zurich and many more.
He has also participated in bienials in Berlin, Shanghai, Prague, Melburn and Cairo as well as in the European biennial Manifesta.
Me, Myself and the EU
09 May 2017 - 11 June 2017
Me, Myself and EU is Alex Majoli’s exploration of Europe’s contemporary social and political issues and its identity crisis through three key characters:
The emergent far-right: The rise of fiercely anti-immigrant far-right parties such as the French National Front and the Danish People’s Party play a key role in shaping Europe’s new image in response to the migrant and refugee crisis.
They receive a disproportionate share of media attention, augmenting their theatrical role and their ability to impact on how the majority of people perceive the story of this crisis unfolding.
Individual migrants and refugees’ assimilation experiences in Europe: The dramatic scenes of migrants and refugees fleeing their war-torn and poverty-stricken homes and arriving exhausted at southern European beaches and eastern European borders are but one commencing moment in a long process of acceptance and assimilation - or lack thereof.
The fragmenting receiving societies: Conflicts at several layers of European society are playing out in response to the refugee and migrant crisis. A general divide between Eastern and Western Europe is materializing, raising sensitive questions about whether countries like Hungary share compatible values with others like Germany and Sweden. Friction is being laid bare within European regions, too, as the arrival of refugees and migrants is revealing a hardline current in countries that are generally assumed to be among the most inclusive and tolerant.
With this project, shown for the first time in Sofia State Art Gallery, Majoli aims to invite the audience to question what is happening with the ideology of Europe as a whole and xenophobia, the refugee crisis and the extreme right wing across the entire continent in specific. His approach to this concept aims to challenge the viewer’s understanding of reality, by drawing attention to the masks we wear as actors playing our roles in society.
Alex Majoli created the exhibition "Me, Myself and EU" invited by Fotofabrika Foundation. He visited Bulgaria in April this year, because My first show in Bulgaria cannot miss a Bulgarian footage.
14 March 2017 - 30 April 2017
THE NUDE MALE BODY 1856 - 1944
21 February 2017 - 26 March 2017
The topic of the nude male body in the great world of art is not new. In Bulgaria, however, attempts to present it in the museum/gallery space, as well as in the theoretical sphere are absent. Studied, researched, problematized, shared as a visual narrative, that history in our country remains marginalized.
“Every nude body, as abstract as it is, should arouse in the viewer a drop of erotic feeling, even if it is a pale shadow – and if it doesn’t, it is bad art and false morals” – noted in his capital research on the nude body in art Kenneth Clark. Even if we disagree with this ideology in its entirety, it seems we cannot find reasonable arguments to refute the claim that “naked”, at least on the territory of art, is associated with concepts such as sexual and erotic. Concepts, which in every period, seem to be a subject of redefinition by adding more branching arrangements and details. Concepts, which are reflected in the traditional culture of Bulgarians and have peculiar uses in a number of ceremonies, folk songs, mythological and poetic notions. However, in the exhibition “Nude Male Body 1856 – 1944”, which fits in itself not an exhaustive, but still representative sample of images, projections of this “use” can hardly be seen in pure form. What causes this? What distances the Bulgarian artist from the man's body? Why by conveying a nude man on the canvas by the artist, he turns simply to a non-erotic object, devoid of emotion? Where does this refusal of the artist to engage with the nude male body come from? How are these “uses” (with/)of the nude male body in the art of our country being perceived by the authors? And by the observer?
These are just a fraction of the issues that the team of this exhibition is trying to place in the space of Bulgarian fine art. The answers to these questions can hardly be unambiguous. But these are answers without which the nude male body will continue to make us look away in a feigningly uncomfortable manner.
The exhibition offers the first-ever visual narrative of this particular national closeness through the figure of the man that is left without clothes. The nude man who, for one reason or the other, after leaving the private space somehow turns into an object disturbing the society. The exhibition presents the development of educational male study throughout the period and the “use” of the nude male body in the work of artists in the country. Visitors can see 96 works – paintings, drawings and sculpture by 54 artists, some of which are iconic names in the history of Bulgarian art and other are forgotten and completely unknown to the general audience.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue and is implemented in a partnership with the National Gallery, Sofia, National Academy of Art, Earth and Man National Museum – Sofia, Union of Bulgarian Artists, the art galleries in Plovdiv, Kyustendil, Shumen, Pleven, Pazardzhik, Kazanlak, Stara Zagora, Lom, Studio-collection “Svetlin Rusev”, Foundation “Tzanko Lavrenov”, private collections of Aleksander Kerezov, Boyan Radev, Ventsislav Kadiev, Vladimir Georgiev, Ivo Raykov, Nikolay Mladzhov, Dr. Ognian Delibozov, Toma Nikolov and Hristo Balarev.
Curators: Adelina Fileva, Ramona Dimova, Plamen V. Petrov
LINE: THE SHORT NAME FOR SPACE
07 February 2017 - 05 March 2017
Line (together with form, chiaroscuro, colouring, volume etc.) is a major element of the image, often the fundamental one preceding all the rest. Marking the initial impulse of the idea, effecting a spontaneous connection between realization and representation, the line often remains the essential and sometimes even the only carrier of the work’s emotional intensity.
The exhibition allows viewers to get to know both landmark but also completely unknown paintings, graphics and sculptures from the collection of the Sofia City Art Gallery.
Curator: Svetla Georgieva
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