FLAVIO BONETTI. STORIA NATURALE curator Katia Anguelova
09 April 2010 - 16 May 2010
The “Natural History” project features ten large format photographs (130х160cm), inspired by Italian artist Flavio Bonetti’s visit to the Museum of Natural History in Sofia in 2006.
When he found himself in the museum for the first time, he was struck by the presence of objects that were evidently extraneous to the “sterile” environment of the contemporary museum. Examples include a beige curtain befitting a bourgeois apartment, which serves as the backdrop to an impressive stuffed rhinoceros. This observation changes the message of the venue, while provoking a different kind of perception of it – both from a visual and a cognitive standpoint.
Flavio Bonetti documented those “anomalies” in the environment. He further developed his project by adding other objects (a living dog and a living cat, a children’s bicycle, a clothesline, shoes), which add to the home-like atmosphere of the museum, while lending the latter a surreal and ambiguous touch at the same time. There is interaction between everyday life and the exhibits featured in the scientific collection.
In this sense, the artist puts questions concerning fundamental issues of cognition. Photography is not an instrument for “recording” the reality of the museum collection, but a place for arranging various options and uncertain memories, suggested by the artist, who, at the same time, sticks to the original atmosphere of the museum with all of its formal characteristics. Adding traces of human presence to the “mummified” atmosphere of the museum, Flavio Bonetti brings up thoughts about home, everyday life, the small things in life, our weaknesses. As the Italian critic Roberta Valtorta states in her review of “Natural History”: “This, in the end, is photography: a way of attributing an effect of reality to a given situation, be it possible or impossible – if there is such a thing as an impossible situation. And what is reality, that reassuring term we often use to understand and justify things, remains a mystery.”
Before its presentation in Bulgaria the “Natural History” cycle was on display at the Monica De Cardenas Gallery, Milan and the ABBT Projects Gallery, Zurich.
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Flavio Bonetti was born in 1956 in Brescia, Italy. He lives and works in Milan. He works in the fields of video and photography. He received the First Prize for his film Normale at the preview of independent film in Bellaria, and his film Geogrаphy was featured in the selection of the 1999 Turin Film Festival. Bonetti frequently creates still lifes and landscapes in his photographs, which feature both natural and cultural objects. He holds that “with the development of civilization people project their notion of rational order on nature, thus constantly changing the status of natural scenery from “natural” to “unnatural”.
His works have been on display at the following prestigious art forums and venues: Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary: Optimism In the Age of Global War, 10th International Istanbul Biennial; Memories in Motion, Munich; Fair Play 2007, Video and Films, Play Gallery, Berlin; Natural History, ABBT Projects, Zurich; Artgames. Analogies Between Art and Games, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen; The Ecstasy of Things, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Villa Ghirlanda, Cinisello Balsamo, Milan; The Italian Look. Italian Fashion Photography from 1951 to Today, Rotonda della Besana, Milan, National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome.
With the kind cooperation of the Italian Cultural Institute, Sofia
and the Monica De Cardenas Gallery, Milan
The Other Eye Luchezar Boyadjiev: Artist in the Storage
30 March 2010 - 16 May 2010
The Other Eye (initiated by Maria Vassileva) is a series of exhibitions where the museum invites in turn an artist, an architect, a writer, an art critic, a fashion designer, a musician, a doctor, a politician and/or a theoretician to conceive and curate an exhibition using the museum collection. We want to offer to our audience alternative views that will not be solely based on knowledge about art history, style, genre or practice. A view instigating a dynamic dialogue with art works featured in the collection, while providing new opportunities for analysis and interpretation of the artistic heritage that is our mission to preserve and promote.
Our first invitation went out to the artist Luchezar Boyadjiev. He accepted under the condition that he will work complying only with his artistic views, talent, imagination, spatial thinking, perception of visual form and ability to tell a story through art works; intuition, psyche, views on art and its place in the world and people’s lives; to work in a way that suits his concept of collegial ethics or lack thereof; his views on the art museum and the latter’s life through the works collected there; his perception of the art audience as well as to work only with similar notions and principles of his choosing...
According to Luchezar Boyadjiev the most important thing about this exhibition is that everything in it is personal. He invites the viewers to think of his exhibition as of an installation of ready-made objects that the artist found in the storage of the museum.
Naturally when he “dares” to freely interpret works from the SCAG collection while treating them as components for his installation, the artist is relying on his art history education as well. Luchezar Boyadjiev is searching to deconstruct the clichés of Bulgarian art history by reconstructing the misleading randomness he witnessed in the way artworks are stored in the museum’s storage. In this he is using his own perspective: “To put it briefly, if you ever happened to wonder whether there is anything that connects artists and their works throughout art history other than the fact that they all make art, this project and this installation will help you realize that artists are connected by the very same things that connect everything and all people around the world in this life – from the pub to the bed, from the paint color of the living room to the ideal for female beauty in the 1930’s or the 1990’s; from career aspirations and sucking up to the powers of the day to the torments and revelations experienced by the spirit of the artist, the saint, the wrestler, the shop owner or the neighborhood key maker”.
Luchezar Boyadjiev is searching for connections between the artworks in a way that „may turn out to be not only ahistorical, but also disturbing” hoping that the dialogue between the various works in the exhibition will be more vital than expected. The artist is convinced that his approach will kick start the collection on a life that is more active and humane, a kind of life that is more artistic, challenging and innovative. He hopes that the viewers will get satisfaction, knowledge and possibly inspiration that will encourage them to think of their museums as part of their own lives and world.
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Luchezar Boyadjiev was born on October 12, 1957 in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 1980 he graduated the National Art Academy, Sofia, majoring in Art History. He is a co-founding member of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Sofia (1995). In 1992 he was the curator of Bulgarian participation in the 3rd International Biennial in Istanbul, Turkey.
Over the last years he has had solo exhibitions with: Feinkost Gallery, Berlin (2007); the Experimental Art Foundation (EAF), Adelaide, Australia (2006); and within the Arte Fiera, Bologna, Italy (2004). His more recent group exhibitions are: “Common History and its Private Stories”, MUSA (Museum auf Abruf), Vienna, Austria; “Wealth of Nations”, within “Cinema City” Film and Media Festival, Novi Sad, Serbia; “Liquid Frontiers”, Europe XXL/Lille 3000, Tri Postal, Lille, France; “Bad Times/Good Times”, Futura - Center for Contemporary Art, Prague, the Czech Republic (2009); “Art, Price and Value”, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy; “Wonder”, 2nd Biennial in Singapore; “The Jerusalem Show”, Al-Ma’mal Foundation, the Old City of Jerusalem; “Eurasia”, MART, Rovereto, Italy; “Lucky Number Seven”, 7th SITE Biennial, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA; “Land of Human Rights: At the Limits of the Thinkable”, , Graz, Austria; “Brave New World…”, IFA Gallery, Berlin/Stuttgart, Germany (2008); 3rd Prague Biennial, Prague, the Czech Republic; “Attitude 2007”, CAMK, Kumamoto, Japan; “Footnotes: on Geopolitics, Markets and Amnesia”, 2nd Biennial, Moscow, Russia (2007).
He has had residencies with the Getty Foundation (USA), KulturKontakt (Austria), the Municipality of Paris (France), the Sharjah Biennial (UAE), etc., while working in New York, Philadelphia, Vienna, Paris, Sharjah, Worpswede (Germany), Novi Sad, and Seoul among others. Over the years he has been presenting widely as well as participating in numerous conferences, discussions and workshops.
Luchezar Boyadjiev is one of the most prominent Bulgarian artists on the international art scene. His works deal with urban issues, construction of audiences as well as with personal interpretation of social and political processes.
TOUCH OF LIGHT THOMAS KOCHEV
24 March 2010 - 02 May 2010
The exhibition commemorates the 70th anniversary of Thomas Kochev’s birth – an artist who acquired a prominent place in the tradition of Bulgarian sculpture. Without being a retrospective, the exhibition features thirty wood, ceramic and bronze sculptures, as well as a substantial number of drawings thus presenting the rare opportunity to get a comprehensive idea of the artist’s work.
Thomas Kochev entered the Bulgarian art scene in 1971, remaining an active presence on it until his death in 1997. His sculptures represent an organic whole of sense of material, exquisite form and artistic freedom of thought. Immersed in a world of their own, they convey the idea of enlightenment and spiritual heightening. Wood, which is Thomas Kochev’s preferred material, lends the images the sensual and intimate feel of living matter with all of its warmness and vulnerability.
Drawings comprise a significant part of the exhibition, as they give a comprehensive idea of the sculptor’s artistic visions. Artistic, spontaneous, characterized by a graceful and temperamental outline, they precede, follow and summarize the evolution of his sculptural work.
The delicate dialogue with Greek antiquity or medieval wood engraving, with the classics or the primal energy of the material comprise an organic alloy of a personal style based on substantial experience and deep thought, of a unique artistic language, which, untouched by changing influences, tendencies and tastes, brings aesthetical values to the level of spiritual ones.
Works featured in the exhibition belong to the Sofia City Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, the “Iliya Beshkov” Pleven City Art Gallery, the Silistra City Art Gallery, Svetlin Rousev atelier-collection, and other private collections.
Curator: Svetla Georgieva
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Thomas Stavrov Kochev was born on April 1, 1940 in Banitsa, Greece. In 1948 his family emigrated first to Yugoslavia, then to the Czech Republic and Romania. In 1968 he majored in sculpture in the City of Cluj, Romania. Until 1970 he worked as a scenographer at the Hungarian opera in the City of Cluj. In 1971 he moved together with his family to Bulgaria, remaining in the capital city of Sofia till the end of his life. He died in 1997.
In the period between 1971 and 1990 he participated in all general art exhibitions held in Bulgaria, as well as in sculpture symposia in the City of Bourgas, the village of Yasna Polyana, the District of Bourgas, Hungary, Romania, the 1984 Paris Autumn Salon. In 1975 and 1985 he had solo exhibitions in Sofia.
A posthumous exhibition of his works was held at the SiBank Gallery in 2008. He won the annual Union of Bulgarian Artists award for sculpture in 1983 and 1989. Tomas Kochev designed monuments to be found in the Bulgarian towns of Chirpan and Troyan and in the village of Vaklino in North-Eastern Bulgaria.
Works of his belong to the collections of the National Art Gallery, the Sofia City Art Gallery, the Varna City Art Gallery, the Pleven City Art Gallery, the Smolyan City Art gallery, the Botevgrad City Art Gallery, the Silistra City Art Gallery, Hugo Vuten’s collection and various private collections in Bulgaria and abroad.
Bronka Gyurova and Her Circle Curators Roumyana Konstantinova and Slava Ivanova
26 January 2010 - 28 February 2010
The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the birth of woman artist Bronka Gyurova. She belonged to the generation of Bulgarian portrait and landscape artists who were most prolific during the 1930’s and the 1940’s. For various reasons she became detached from her home country, yet she is indisputably a part of the history of Bulgarian art.
The exhibition features paintings and drawings belonging to various periods of Bronka Gyurova’s career as an artist, as well as works, such as paintings, drawings and sculptures by fellow artists, namely Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angeloushev, Kiril Tsonev, Stoyan Sotirov, Rada Poptosheva, Mara Tsontcheva, Vera Nedkova, Vera Loukova, Mara Georgieva, Vaska Emanouilova, Bencho Obreshkov, Donka Konstantinova, Stoyan Venev. Each of the artists belonging to that circle had a role to play in the development of Bulgarian art. They all shared a desire for innovation and experimentation in artistic expression, as well as willingness to measure up to the contemporary European art scene.
The choice of works by artists belonging to Bronka Gyurova’s “circle” is based on the artist’s original autobiography and diary, kindly provided by Mrs. Deyana Alsheh, as well as on the curators’ research of the tendencies and trends in Bulgarian art during the 1930’s and the 1940’s.
The works featured in the exhibition belong to the Sofia City Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, the “Svetlin Rousev” Atelier Collection, private collections, as well as to the family of Bronka Gyurova and Elieser Alsheh in Buenos Aires. A substantial part of the works featured in the exhibition will be on display for the first time in Bulgaria.
The exhibition also features plenty of documentary material, namely photos, letters, catalogues, archive material. Bronka Gyurova’s unpublished manuscripts are exceptionally valuable, as they provide yet another glimpse of the Bulgarian artist’s life and work.
Bronka Gyurova was born on January 1, 1910 in the town of Shoumen. Over the period 1928 - 1932 she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Sofia in Prof. Dimitur Gyudzhenov’s painting class. In 1937 she specialized in “Illustration” with Prof. Minne in Brussels, Belgium. She organized her first solo exhibition in 1943 in Sofia. Over the period 1933 – 1949 she participated in all general exhibitions held in Sofia, Bulgaria, as well as in group exhibitions held in Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia. She was a member of the “Association of Women Artists” /1932/, the “Association of Independent Artists” /1935 /, the “’Contemporary Art’ Association” /1936/ and the “Association of New Artists” /1938/. In 1952 she settled in Buenos Aires, Argentina, together with her husband, Elieser Alsheh, and her daughter, Deyana. She died on June 5, 1995 in Buenos Aires.
VELICHKO MINEKOV Retrospective exhibition
20 November 2009 - 31 December 2009
Velichko Minekov's exhibition allows viewers to trace the development of an artist, the strengthening of his method, and the process of diversification of his artistic style His is an artistic career that goes back six decades, which, at the very outset, carried the strong promise of something new, revealing the artist’s potential for lasting and high quality presence on the Bulgariancontemporary art scene.
Velichko Minekov had the unique opportunity to communicate with three of the colossi of Bulgarian sculpture, namely Andrey Nikolov, Marko Markov, and Lubomir Dalchev. Influenced by the great Bulgarian masters of sculpture, he started contemplating embarking on a journey into the world of art. His very first works "Repose" (1957), "Thirst" (1958), "Motherhood" (1958) and "Fila" (1959) already attest to the young artist’s willingness to transform nature, to eliminate the accidental and unnecessary, to highlight the most prominent and sustainable features of the object being represented, thus conveying a feeling of monumentality of form and reinforcing the symbolic message of the image.
As just another confirmation of thesimple truth that hardships break the weak, yet making the strong even stronger, in 1969 came the moment when an ideological attack was launched against works, without which both Velichko Minekov’s art and the natural and vital process of diversification of Bulgarian sculpture would have been hard to picture. Essentially, this was an attack on the artist's courage to ignore banal imagery and seek in his works "Icarus", "Shooting", "Movement" the building components for an innovative structure of the sculptural work. Regardless of that, Velichko Minekov invariably continued to apply the principles of expressiveness, flexibility and dynamism, guided by belief in the artist's inalienable right to oppose the existing canon.
The decades to follow are full of moments or even months, sacrificed in the search of ways and means to overcome difficulties, develop skills, uncover secrets, get to know himself and the surrounding world better. The following works came to life as a result: "Expectation" (1967) and “Nestinarka” (1973), "Orpheus"(1969), “Rachenitsa" (1970), “Motherland” (1972) and "Earth and Man"(1977), which are characterized by sincerity and determination. The sculptor created monuments giving an account of both the drama and heroism of past events and his reflections and judgments on the present. Thus the ensemble “Serdica” (Sofia, 1977) the reliefs “Calvary” and "Pledge” (Town of Panagyurishte, 1978) and the monuments "Spartacus" (Town of Sandanski, 1979), 'Khan Asparuh” (Town of Dobrich, 1981) and "The Unification"(City of Plovdiv, 1985) came to life. The works created by the artist over the past 20 years differ from the aforementioned ones. They are a consequence of the years of accumulated wisdom and the artist’s exploration of expressive sculptural form, yet they are most of all the result of the distinctive presence of the artist’s personality.
The “Velichko Minekov” exhibition features more than one hundred of the sculptor’s works, owned by the Sofia City Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, the “Stanislav Dospevski” Art Gallery in the city of Pazardzhik and private collectors.