ALEXANDER DOBRINOV (1898 – 1958)
25 September 2018 - 28 October 2018
In commemoration of the 120th anniversary of artist Alexander Dobrinov’s birth, the Sofia City Art Gallery is opening a retrospective exhibition of cartoons and caricatures drawn by the artist over the period 1915 - 1958.
Dobrinov created hundreds of political and socially conscious cartoons and compositions, leaving behind a voluminous legacy of incredible portraits of entire generations. Were it not for Dobrinov’s art, these images of poets, musicians, singers, authors, actors, art critics, philosophers, and politicians would have remained hidden behind their occupations and professional accomplishments.
In the 1930’s, art critic Emanuil Popdimitrov gave a foresightful account of Alexander Dobrinov’s past and current presence in Bulgarian art, writing: “Besides being satirical in character, Alexander Dobrinov’s cartoons have a purely aesthetic effect produced by the beauty of lines and the subtlety of watercolor. This is supplemented by the joy of likeness to the model. Because viewers of today take pleasure in solving the riddle, in recognizing the model, while admiring the artist’s ability to accomplish likeness regardless of the significant change in facial features presented by the drawing. This concerns viewers of today alone. Many of these cartoons will also be admired by those who will not be familiar with the models. And this is what the true art of portrait caricature is all about: to have a life of its own apart from the model. And this is how it is going to be for Alexander Dobrinov’s cartoons.“
Today, there are fewer and fewer witnesses to the age presented by the artist. What we are left with are facts, events, archives, libraries, and the artist’s works dispersed among various newspapers, magazines, galleries, museums and private collections around Bulgaria, and throughout the world. This exhibition features more than 200 cartoons and portrait caricatures belonging to the permanent collections of the Sofia City Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, the National Museum of Literature, and the artist’s family.
An exhibition catalogue is available presenting works from Bulgarian collections, as well as, for the first time ever, works belonging to the permanent collections of the Gallery of Fine Art in Ostrava and the Gallery of Modern Art in Hradec Králové, the Czech Republic.
ELIEZER ALCHEH AND
21 September 2018 - 04 November 2018
The Eliezer Alcheh and "Aesthetics of Disgrace" project focuses on the past, more specifically on that segment of the past stretching between the dates of birth and death of artist Eliezer Alshekh, namely the time between the years of 1908 and 1983. Drawing on Ruzha Marinska’s study of the artist’s work, as well as on the knowledge acquired by Rumyana Konstantinova during the preparation of the large retrospective exhibition organized in 2008 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth at the National Art Gallery in Sofia, today, ten years later, the curators of the exhibition hosted by the Sofia City Art Gallery, namely Plamen V. Petrov, Ramona Dimova, Natasha Noeva, and Nikoleta Gologanova, offer their own perspective on the artist’s past. Memories of him, documents shedding light on his personal life and professional career, and the substantial body of his work are finally being transformed into history, which helps put things in perspective. The past is rendered into a story, which does not constitute a mere succession of dates and events, but rather a narrative that could not only be read through, but also lived through and made sense of.
“Death projects its brutal and necessary separation on every nook and cranny of our lives“, wrote philosopher Jeanne Hersch in her essay From Exile to Farewell. Alshekh’s separation from Bulgaria happened in the distant year of 1928, when the Bulgarian national with Jewish blood running in his veins set off on a journey to Munich. In the decades to follow, he would live the life of a rover, a stranger until his last breath, whose work, overshadowed by labor camps, would be branded formalistic and disregarded because of that. Yes, Bulgaria and Eliezer Alshekh parted a good 90 years ago. Yet it is this separation that defines his notable and unique place in the history of Bulgarian art. The Eliezer Alcheh and "Aesthetics of Disgrace" exhibition tells the story of his earning this special recognition. The exhibition centerpiece is his 1960’s work Port by Night, a painting considered to be one of the peaks of his artistic career. The canvas will be shipped from Buenos Aires exclusively for the exhibition together with other works of the artist that have not been exhibited or published before. Featured among them are Alshekh’s first artistic attempts.
Also, the exhibition prompted the collation of a printed edition featuring the contents of the exhibition, including pictures of the artworks included and the entire volume of newly found documents providing evidence and facts about the artist that have not been published before, as well as already familiar papers by renowned Bulgarian researchers. To help shed light on the historical context of the artist’s personal life and professional career, the exhibition team asked prominent researchers such as Prof. Eugenia Kalinova, Ph. D., Rumyana Marinova-Hristidi, Ph. D., Assoc. Prof., and Alexander Sivilov, Ph. D., Assoc. Prof., to contribute research papers to the edition.
The exhibition features artworks belonging to the permanent collections of the Sofia City Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, Sofia, the Ruse City Art Gallery, Boris Denev Veliko Tarnovo City Art Gallery, Iliya Beshkov Pleven City Art Gallery, the Kazanlak City Art Gallery, Dimitar Dobrovich Sliven City Art Gallery, the Stara Zagora City Art Gallery, the Plovdiv City Art Gallery, the City of Vratsa Museum of Regional History. Also featured are paintings from numerous private collections.
The project is brought to life in official partnership with the Faculty of History of the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, the Embassy of the Argentine Republic in the Republic of Bulgaria, and the Organization of Jews in Bulgaria Shalom.
The exhibition is organized with the patronage of His Excellency Alberto A. M. Trueba, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Argentine Republic to the Republic of Bulgaria