Лого на Софийска Градска Художествена Галерия
Анимация по време на зареждане

AQUARIUM Works from the Contemporary Art Collection of the Sofia City Art Gallery

29 September 2010 - 22 October 2010

This is the first joint project of the Sofia City Art Gallery (SCAG) and the University of Sofia in the common effort to promote contemporary art and encourage communication with it. The artworks featured in the exhibition leave SCAG storerooms to find opportunities for a dialogue in a lively dynamic environment.

The exhibition views the aquarium as a replica of the world, a cultivated space, where life exists with its joys and dramas. The idea of the aquarium was suggested by exhibition venues themselves, which look like aquariums with their glass display cases. The aquarium does also refer to the seat of learning as an incubator of life processes.

The exhibition features works from the SCAGcollection by some of the most prominent contemporary Bulgarian artists, including Sasho Stoitsov, Mariela Gemisheva, Krassimir Terziev, Mihaela Vlasseva, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Ivan Kostolov, Rassim, Ivan Moudov, etc. The exhibition features paintings, photographs, objects and installations.

The works selected for the exhibition explore the interaction between humans and their surrounding environment. In this case this is a specific city in a specific country in a specific time frame, namely Sofia, Bulgaria at the turn of the century. What is happening to the contemporary human here and now? Has his/her idea of the world and ways of communicating with other people changed? Can we spot the changes having occurred in the world relying on the works of contemporary artists?

The exhibition presents the most popular trends in contemporary art with original works demonstrating social commitment.

The Sofia City Art Gallery works with young artists and art critics, developing special programs aiming to integrate the latter into the contemporary art scene. Therefore, cooperation with the “St. Kliment of Ohrid” University of Sofia provides a good opportunity to attract new audiences.

Project curator: Maria Vassileva, chief SCAG curator. 


14 September 2010 - 17 October 2010

Josef Oberbauer was the first artist to devote most of his artistic efforts to the depiction of Sofia. His documentary-style watercolour paintings and drawings provide invaluable evidence of what the capital city and other cities throughout Bulgaria looked like in the late 19th and early 20th century. A passionate traveler, he drew pictures of the cities of Nesebur, Veliko Turnovo, Tryavna, being attracted by houses of worship, old houses, cemeteries, fortress walls remains, open air markets, inhabited with an impressively diverse multitude of people wearing various traditional garments. These paintings-cum-authentic documents captured the spirit of an age, gradually giving in to the pressure of Europeization. 

He was particularly interested in places whose mission it is to preserve spirituality, such as monasteries and churches. He painted a series of paintings featuring the St. Sofia Basilica, the most prominent of the capital city’s landmarks at the time, allowing the viewer to trace the architectural transformations underwent by the said church. He also depicted the Rila Monastery, churches in the city of Nesebur, the Bachkovo Monastery, the “Forty Holy Martyrs” Church in the city of Veliko Turnovo and many others. 

In his capacity of chief draughtsman at the Sofia Municipal Council, he drew a plan of the neighbourhoods of Banishor and Draz, featuring the remains of the northern part of the ancient city of Serdica’s fortress wall. The said plan provided the basis for the his watercolour painting ”Reconstruction of Ulpia Serdica”, where he combines fact and imagination to represent the image of the ancient city.

It is interesting to study the new developments in the city and trace the various transformations it has undergone. Some places have stayed the same, others have been destroyed. Oberbauer’s images of Sofia convey a sense of relaxation, yet also of anxiety, caused by the awareness of the passing of time. 

Oberbauer’s paintings were a reproach for the city planners of his time and their negligent treatment of the remains and traces of ages gone in a time of dynamic changes. They are also a cautionary tale for architects of today.

The exhibition features 78 drawings and watercolour paintings, as well as the most interesting of his original hand-drawn maps of the city. The exhibition is the result of the combined efforts of the Museum of Sofia History and the Sofia City Art Gallery.

An exhibition catalogue is available

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