A POSSIBLE HISTORY
12 September 2012 - 02 March 2013
This project is an attempt to present, both visually and theoretically, the development of Bulgarian art from the late 19th century through the present day. The visual aspect of the exhibition involves the artifacts belonging to the museum collection, while the theoretical component comprises texts analyzing artistic developments. The study of the latter was structured as follows: analysis of six periods with five sub-themes each. Prominent Bulgarian art historians, namely Irina Genova, Tatiana Dimitrova, Chavdar Popov, Boris Danailov, Diana Popova and Maria Vassileva, were invited to research developments in Bulgarian art based on the gallery’s collection and consequently offer their reviews. The individual parts of the study comprise a comprehensive view of history from a modern vantage point. Each period and its sub-themes reveal the most significant aspects of their time. The project, comprising an exhibition and an exhibition catalogue, is highly educational, as it aims to make a clear, user-friendly outline of major tendencies and trends.
The exhibition elaborates on issues, which were either never brought up before, or were presented outside the context of their time and the overall logic of artistic developments. Examples include early 20th century themes such as interest in the Orient or salon portraiture, as well as the development of art from the early 1950’s through the mid-1950’s. The project is an attempt to view art history from all sides in order to challenge stereotypical perceptions or ideology-based interpretation of artworks and offer a modern viewpoint that is as objective as it is possible.
The study is based on the museum’s collection, whose scope and comprehensiveness allow such a broad view of history. The collection, which dates back over 80 years, now features more than 8, 000 artworks, belonging to the genres of painting, sculpture, graphic art, contemporary art and photography. Its building is related to the overall development of modern Bulgarian art, which went a long way within a century, namely between the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule (1878) and the early 21st century, going through various intensive processes of initiation, institutionalization, and recognition. This development was marked by change and reconsideration of values, prompted by various art-related and political factors, namely the willingness to measure up to European art and culture and build a tradition, which would create a sense of history and thus contribute to the social significance of art. "
"A Possible History“exhibition offers an interpretation of Bulgarian art history through the gallery’s collection, as the latter features various, and unique, unknown and emblematic artworks and names, which have a prominent place in the development of Bulgarian art. This new project and study concerning the art collection of the Sofia City Art Gallery do not only aim to contribute to the already voluminous body of research, exploring the collection’s beauty, richness and significance. This exhibition and study offer a chronological outline, as well as a comparison of styles and themes, which reveals the points of intersection between the views of various artists, associations of artists, and artistic trends. Thus the exhibition and the study related to it consider various trends in the history of Bulgarian art over the period between 1878 and 2012, which came to interact with one another, while taking turns at the dominant position in the course of the decades.
The 200-page exhibition catalogue features 300 reproductions and texts in Bulgarian and English.
The “Vaska Emanouilova” Gallery, which is a branch of the Sofia City Art Gallery, also came up with new permanent exhibits. Vaska Emanouilova’s art was considered and presented chronologically through her work, as well as by photographs, documents and the accounts of renowned art historians and fellow artists.
The “Possible History“ exhibition was made possible with kind support from the Ministry of Culture, the Sofia Municipality, OGNYANOVO K Plc.,PLENA Group Company, METROREKLAMA, CEZ- Bulgaria, REOFIX SMLLC and in media partnership with the Bulgarian National Television and the Bulgarian National Radio.