Лого на Софийска Градска Художествена Галерия
Анимация по време на зареждане

The Temptation of CHALGA Curators Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva, Vessela Nozharova Chronology and documentation Venzislav Dimov

30 April 2009 - 31 May 2009

Sofia City Art Gallery
Altera Association
Art Affairs and Chronology Foundation

The project was made possible with financial support from the Sofia City Municipality

Media partners: Programme Weekly Culture Guide, 24 Chasa newspaper, VAGABOND MEDIA

A potent cultural phenomenon has had tangible presence in Bulgarian society over the last 20 years. Unbearable for some, yet blissful for others, chalga (the most commonly used term to refer to Bulgarian pop folk music) has become an inseparable part of our everyday life. Over all those years we have involuntarily become “witnesses” and “accessories” to the complicated process of a marginal suppressed genre turning into a profitable industry, firmly establishing itself as a value system and lifestyle.

Gaudy, lustrous, noisy, scandalous, kitschy, chalga (also called „ethno pop” and „pop folk”) is a true reflection of the endless period of transition in Bulgaria and the social, political and economic change triggered by it. It is a remarkably candid celebration of the most typical features of our national mentality. Full of love and tears, the chalga euphoria triggered a post-socialist Balkan sexual revolution, defying all norms and taboos.

It is all the above and also the numerous assets it uses to fully engage all senses that make chalga a rich source of ideas for contemporary artists.

This project’s curators dare remove the heavy barrier separating “chalga” and “culture” inviting modern Bulgarian artists to come up with their responses to this topical issue. Chalga is present in the exhibition in the shape of music, vision, text, history, mood, specific sites and events, namely everything that made it such a significant social factor. Each project participant has found something touching, shocking, confusing or gladdening about chalga, yet, most of all, something tempting enough to trigger an artist’s response in the shape of a work of art. 

Artists featured in the exhibition include Georgi Toushev, Daniela Kostova, Boris Missirkov/Georgi Bogdanov, Adelina Popnedeleva, who were the first to treat chalga in their works in the mid-1990’s through the late 1990’s, when the latter was at its peak. In the years to follow other acclaimed artists like Alla Georgieva and Krasimir Dobrev were also provoked the luscious visions and intense emotions. Some of the said artists contributed new works, specially created for this project. They were joined by two Bulgarian artists, namely Konstantin Bozhanov and Ergin Chavoshoglou, who are better known abroad, rather than at home. Their works offer an outsiders’ view of Bulgarian chalga and its equivalents worldwide, analyzing the phenomenon from a more distanced perspective.

Representatives of the new generation of modern Bulgarian artists, namely Boriana Ventsislavova, Svetozara Alexandrova, Stanimir Genov, Vikenti Komitski, Orlin Nedelchev, seem to be as tempted as the rest. 

DJ JORO-BORO from the Bulgarian bar in New York City, who is the star in Daniela Kostova’s video, will be a special guest of the exhibition.

A timeline of chalga culture in Bulgaria including information connecting it to major political and social events comprises an important part of the exhibition. It was made by Dr. Ventsislav Stefanov from the Institute for Art Studies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who is the author of the first monograph on chalga, “The Ethno-pop Boom”, Sofia, 2001. His years-long research in the field of ethno music, as well as his rich collection of unique artifacts associated with the heroes of pop folk culture, complement the overall impression of the works featured in the exhibition. 

Besides providing an eclectic response, making social criticism and defying all standards and taboos, “The Chalga Temptation” is also the moment of awakening in art, when both our cultural identity and surrounding reality become clearly distinguishable. 

The exhibition curators would like to kindly thank their loyal associate, Iurii Vulkovski, the SCAG team and everybody, who helped make this project a success: Donka Angelova, Rozmarie Statelova, Viara Mlechevska, Svilen Stefanov, Dimitur Grozdanov, Dosiu Amoudzhiev, Yovo Panchev, Roudolph Barch, Vania Koubadinska, Ivailo Evtimov.

Nikola Mihov Sofia City Art Gallery an inside glimpse

09 April 2009 - 26 April 2009

An exhibition becomes accessible to the public once the exhibits’ arrangement is complete. What is left unseen is the huge daily effort applied “behind the scenes” to ensure the gallery’s proper functioning. This involves consideration of the gallery’s policy, the process of designing each specific exhibition and the management of the gallery’s collection. The „Sofia City Art Gallery – an inside glimpse” video exhibition is an attempt at a look beyond exhibition halls, meaning to present gallery employees and the various aspects of their work. 

All six videos are comprised exclusively of photographs to create a kaleidoscope of vision, events and portraits flashing on screens and situated at different places in the gallery. The public is allowed for the first time to follow the processes of exhibition consideration and design, the transformation of gallery space and the addition of new art works to the gallery’s collection. The videos also pay homage to outstanding works by modern Bulgarian artists (Luchezar Boyadjiev, Nedko Solakov, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Kalin Serapionov, Ivan Moudov). 

The project was completed in cooperation with Daniela Radeva, Maria Vassileva and the whole SCAG team.

Nikola Mihov was born in 1982 in Sofia. He works mainly in the field of photography. He has had solo exhibitions in Sofia, Paris, Zagreb and Thessaloniki. He has participated in numerous international group exhibitions and film festivals. Nikola Mihov is a Gaudenz B. Ruf Award – 2008 nominee and winner of the Nikon Profiled Award of the 2007 PHODAR International biennial exhibition (www.nikolamihov.com)

DIALOGUES WITH TIME Paintings from the Sofia City Art Gallery collection dating from the mid-20th century through the beginning of the 21st century

09 April 2009 - 26 April 2009

This exhibition is part of the “Sofia Days in Moscow” initiative seeking to present Bulgarian art in Moscow. 
The exhibition, featuring more than 80 paintings by 46 Bulgarian artists, is a showcase of the Sofia City Art Gallery collection. Works included in the exhibition date from the mid-20th century through the beginning of the 21st century. They give an idea of the spirit of the time they were created in, as well as of the artistic trends and changes in Bulgarian art.

The exhibition features the works of prominent artists such as Ivan Nenov, Dechko Uzunov, Vera Nedkova, Vassil Barakov, Stoyan Sotirov, KIril Petrov, who studied in Munich, Paris, Vienna and whose artistic career started before World War II to be continued after the war ended. Their works, as well as those of applied artists having worked in the 1920’s, 1930’s and the early 1940’s provided the basis and inspiration for the generation of artists whose career started in the 1960’s, namely Svetlin Rousev, Ivan Kirkov, Yoan Leviev, Dimiter Kirov, Georgi Bozhilov, Genko Genkov, Georgi Baev, Alexander Petrov, Magda Abazova, Peter Dochev, Ivan Voukadinov, Lika Yanko. The latter generation brought painting back to prominence in the Bulgarian art scene leading the way for many decades through its works and truly distinctive artistic approaches. 

The trends set by the generations to follow are presented in the works of Nikolai Maistorov, Ivan Dimov, Dimiter Bouyukliyski, Toma Trifonovski, Hristo Simeonov, Dimiter Kazakov-Neron, Yordan Katsamounski, Dinko Stoev, Sasho Stoitsov, Milko Bozhkov, Andrei Daniel, Svilen Blazhev, Ivailo MIrchev, as well as in the early 21st century works of the youngest generation of artists represented by Mihaela Vlasseva, Ivan Kostolov, etc.

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