Лого на Софийска Градска Художествена Галерия
Анимация по време на зареждане

GARDENS OF MEMORY 80 years of preserved Sofia history

08 September 2008 - 03 October 2008

The exhibition presents four institutions having a common origin – Sofia History Museum, the City Library, Sofia State Archives and Sofia Art Gallery.

In 1928 on the occasion of celebrating the half-century jubilee since the Liberation of Sofia and the 1000th anniversary of the Golden Age of Bulgarian Letters and Literature the then mayor General Vladimir Vazov issued a written order by virtue of which the Sofa Municipal Museum was set up.
This was the beginning of collecting materials and evidence about the history, culture and art of Sofia – books, documents, photos, maps, schemes, archaeological findings, artefacts, sculptures, paintings, graphics.

The museum was housed at different addresses from 1929 to 1941 when a special building was opened for it at 3 Banski Square (the same building was later demolished during the bomb raids in March 1944). In 1948 part of the pictorial fund of the museum was transferred to the newly established National Art Gallery. In April 1952 the library and the archives separated from the City Museum and in October the same year the Museum of the History of Sofia and the City Gallery were pronounced independent institutions. 

Today, 80 years after the visionary creation of the City Museum, which gave rise to four significant situations, these same institutions have their own addresses and paths of development. 

The exhibition is an exploration of the historic and artistic memory and shows over 150 exhibits – paintings, sculptures, books, documents, photos.

The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue.

Three forgotten collections 75 years Rotary Bulgaria

17 June 2008 - 06 July 2008

The Three Forgotten Collections exhibition is organised to mark the 75th anniversary since the founding of the first Rotary club in Bulgaria and includes works from the collections of the Rotarians from the pre-war club Lyuben Bozhkov, Nikola Vassilev and Gencho Stainov.

The projects connected to cultural events were characteristic of the Rotarian activities and their bulletin regularly informed about art in Bulgaria. The club used to host the intellectual elite of Sofia, some of the regular guests being Alexander Bozhinov, Alexander Dobrinov, Sirak Skitnik, Raiko Alexiev, Prof. Nikola Mihailov. The Roatrians of Sofia collected works by Konstantin Shturkelov, Bencho Obreshkov, Ivan Hristov, Nikola Tanev, Boris Georgiev, Atanas Mihov, Andrei Nikolov and many others. As patrons of art we can mention Sergei Kalyandzhiev, Dobri Kurshev, the Peev brothers, Dr. N. P. Nikolaev, Gencho Stainov, Georgi Atanassov.

The name of Alexander Dobrinov is also associated with the Rotary society after his being presented in the club in 1934 by his friend engineer Tsvyatko Kadiiski. By 1938 the artist had created over 70 cartoon portraits of Rotarians and guests of theirs, most of which published in the Rotarian journal. Dobrinov was the author of the group portrait “Rotary Club – Sofia” (1936) which burnt during the bomb raids in 1944 and what was left was only a single colour facsimile. We owe Dobrinov also a brilliant portrait of the 1936 President of Rotary International William Manier as well as the portrait of the saviour of Bulgarian Jews, Dimitur Peshev, created during his visit to the Club. During one of his visits the founding father of Bulgarian cartoon Alexander Bozhinov, instead of delivering a Rotarian speech, drew a self-portrait, signed it and gave it to Rotary as a gift. That very portrait was published in the Club journal in 1938. The first representative of the artistic circles to be admitted to Rotary Club in 1936 was Dechko Ouzounov who painted the portrait of the first Bulgarian Rotarian, Subo Nikolov. In the same year under the aegis of Rotary Club – Sofia and the Bulgarian Ambassador in Prague, Ivan Popov (a founding member pf the Club), a celebration marking the 80th birthday of Ivan Murkvichka was organised in the Check capital. A year later the Club organised a discussion on the topic of “Architecture and its Synthesis with Art” prompted by Rotarians architect Mihailovski, architect Vasilyov and Dechko Ouzounov.

The current exhibition Rotary Club - Sofia presents collections inherited by Nikola Vassilev, Lyuben Bozhkov and Gencho Stainov. The works included in the exposition are being exhibited publicly for the first time. 

Nikola Vassilev was born in the village of Trun in 1884. He studied medicine in Gant and later on law in Brussels. He dropped out to take part in the wars for the unification of Bulgaria. After the war he became representative of Standard Oil for Bulgaria , later on setting up his own company for trading oil products. He was one of the founding fathers of rubber manufacturing in our country. He was twice elected Member of Parliament. As such he signed Dimitur Peshev’s Declaration by virtue of which Bulgarian Jews were rescued from the Holocaust. Sentenced to death by the “People’s Court” and murdered on 1st February, 1945. Vassilev was friends with the artists Ilia Obreshkov, Sirak Skitnik, Ivan Hristov, Vassil Stoilov, Boris Denev. He was the one who invited Alexander Bozhinov to the Club. He was a close friend to Dechko Ouzounov. He recommended the purchasing of works by Konstantin Shturkelov for the Club. Vassilev was one of the initiators for the visit of a group of intellectuals in Athens in the early thirties, among whom were Prof. Ivan Lazarov, Sirak Skitnik, Boris Denev, Fani Popova-Moutafova. He owned works by Nikolai Rainov from his Prague period. 

Lyuben Bozhkov was born in the town of Varna in 1880. He studied engineering in Vienna, took part in the first naval constructions in Bulgaria after which he worked for the BDO where he reached the position of General Director. Professor at the State Polytechnics. He took part in the construction of the sub-Balkan railway line and designed a project for the bridge over the Danube. Chairman of the Bulgarian Geographic Society and member of National Geographic. He was author of the book “Bulgaria is not Only the country of Roses”. A keen lover of books, at the end of his life he gave away his unique collection of geographic maps to the National library. He was friends with Konstantin Shturkelov, Vassil Stoilov, Dechko Ouzounov, Raiko Alexiev.

Gencho Stainov was born in the town of Kazanluk in 1884. He finished the Commercial High School in the town of Svishtov and then graduated in electrical engineering in Lausanne. He designed and guided the construction of Enina Water Power Plant, electrified the town of Kazanluk, expanded the Bratya Stainovi textile factory, developed a method for shooting at aircrafts (patented in the USA) and devices for meteorological research, studied the rainfalls in Bulgaria. In 1938 Dechko Ouzounov arranged the exhibition stall of his company at the Plovdiv Fair.

SELF - PORTRAIT The visible image and the hidden meaning

13 June 2008 - 24 August 2008

The self-portraits of Bulgarian painters gathered in the Sofia City Art Gallery collection have been created over a long period of time from the end of 19th till the beginning of 21st century. 

The collection captures artistic, cultural and spiritual projections of the self-portrait as a specific art genre. The circle of authors gradually grows with time and reveals known, less known and long forgotten or already strange to the public images of Bulgarian painters from different generations.

The exhibition of self-portraits of Bulgarian painters comprises more than 200 works of 190 authors. Self-portraits of all genres – full-body, head and shoulders, half length or head only, in different postures and close-ups, including additional images, objects, scenes, attires, iconic signs that offer various opportunities to step into the personal world of the artist.

Canvases submerge the spectator in the image of the painter but also tell stories, guide, imply, reveal in a captivating way obvious things left unnoticed. There are no style limits. The exhibited works are diverse, each with its own language of expression, plastic intimations and visions, from succinct forms to voluble details. The ‘obscure sense’ is transposed through and beyond the visible image, it goes outside space, crosses the fixed genre using various means of expression.

A special catalogue has been issued for the exhibition.

Pierre et Gilles Set up by Magazine 1 and the Centre for Culture and Cooperation, French Cultural Institute

09 May 2008 - 06 June 2008

The exhibition is going to present for the first time to the Bulgarian audience original works by the world famous French tandem Pierre and Gilles.

The style of the two artists has long become a symbol of artistic success. They have been working together since 1976 so far having created more than 800 artistic pieces. Their works combine photography and painting and each artist has his own domain in the process – Pierre takes care of the filming while Gilles is in charge of the setting and the painting on the photos.

Partners at work and in life, Pierre and Gilles (Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard) impose their own specific iconography inspired by the symbols of pop-culture, religion, the burlesque, magic and eroticism. Their works are dominated by portraits and self-portraits which they create with a sense of provocation, irony, tenderness or determination. “We tend to idealize the people we make portraits of. Apart from our adoration though you can sense their own energy. We show the world the way it is but through the eye of a poet.”

Among the world stars having sat for a portrait are Catherine Deneuve, Naomi Campbell, Madonna, Marilyn Manson, Jean Paul Gautier, Silvie Vartan, Boy George, Nina Hagen, Kylie Minogue, David Bowie and many others.

The Pierre et Gilles exhibition in Sofia Art Gallery includes 50 works by the legendary artists created in the period between 1978-2008. Among them are the two Silvie Vartan portraits created particularly for the exhibition in Sofia.
Pierre and Gilles themselves are going to be present at the opening and that will be their first visit to a country from South Eastern Europe.

A special catalogue has been issued for the exhibition.

BAZA Award Exhibition of the Nominees Bora Petkova, Vasilena Gankovska, Vikenti Komitski, Violeta Tanova, Lazar Lyutakov, Rada Boukova

07 May 2008 - 06 June 2008

For the first time in Bulgaria the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia jointly with Foundation for a Civil Society, NYC and
Young Visual Artists Awards presents the prestigious BAZA Award for young artist in the field of contemporary art. 

The Award comprises a travel fellowship, a six-week residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York City, in October 2008 – May 2009 and a solo exhibition at the ICA gallery in Sofia.

The purpose of the Award is to encourage young artists with the opportunities for schooling, exploration and career. The Award creates a positive context for young modern art and an art-friendly milieu. 

The annual Young Visual Artist Award was established in 1990 in the Czech Republic by Wendy Luers, founder and President of the US Foundation for a Civil Society (FCS). Today the Award exists in ten European countries and is one of the prestigious measures of outstanding professional performance. The affiliated states are the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Albania, to mention but some. The Young Visual Artists Awards international network YVAA (http://www.yvaa.net) has evolved from the active information exchange among the countries.

The initiative and organization of the award procedure and the exhibitions are in the hands of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) – Sofia (http://ica.cult.bg), which consequently was selected to organize the competition.

The competition is open to artists aged 35 and younger and working in all the media of modern art. Participation is free or on a proposition from invited institutions that are active in the domain of modern art.

The procedure: The jury (Boriana Dragoeva, Kiril Prashkov, Maria Vassileva, Iara Bubnova and Stanislav Pamoukchiev) nominated six artists on the basis of documentation that they have submitted. These finalists will have their works displayed at a general exhibition in the Sofia Art Gallery. The winner will be announced on the opening of the exhibition.

The Sofia Art Gallery is a partner in the project.

The winner is Rada Boukova

Ivan Georgiev - Rembrandt 1938-1994 retrospective exhibition

04 April 2008 - 28 April 2008

Ivan Georgiev has never exhibited his works at an exhibition nor has he sold pictures. Once he presented his works (probably for the 1966 General Art Exhibition) and got snubbed, he vowed he would never again submit his pictures to be judged by a panel of authorities. He chose to go underground and to benefit from his freedom in endless poverty.

Initially he painted portraits, landscapes and still-lives. From the late 1970s onwards by and by he moved away from the visible world. Ivan Georgiev’s abstract painting is unique in Bulgarian art of the 1970s and 80s. Though his painting continues to be obscure, it instills life into what might be called wasteland. Abstract expressionism is one of these lands.

Though Ivan Georgiev’s style of painting varies all the time, it is easy to recognize it for the forcefulness it carries despite the plethora of styles and the range of feelings that fluctuate from joy and ecstasy to gloom and sarcasm. Shining or flickering and overloaded with explosive power, his painting visualizes the idea of existence as a continuous alternation of light and dark.

The retrospective exhibition is dedicated to Ivan Georgiev’s 70th birthday and displays some 200 works that have never been displayed. These have been selected from the artist’s 600 or so pictures from privately owned collections. The displayed works trace the artist’s creative path from the academic sketches to the abstract paintings that he produced during the last year of his life.

Curator: Krassimir Iliev
- - -
Ivan Hristov Georgiev was born in Sofia on 11 September 1938. In 1958 he graduated from the Art School in Sofia. In 1961 he enrolled at the National Art Academy where he was tutored in painting by Prof. Panayot Panayotov. In 1963 he was awarded the prize of the Central Council of Trade Unions for his poster “Never”. In 1965 he was awarded for his study at a student competitive exhibition at the Art Academy. He graduated from the Art Academy in 1966. He died on 30 July 1994 in Sofia.
Ivan Georgiev’s pictures were displayed posthumously at an exhibition that Maximilian Kirov arranged in 1995 in the Vitosha Gallery. There followed four other exhibitions: in December 1997-January 1998 in the Vitosha Gallery; in 2003 in the Artamontsev Gallery in Sofia and in the Bulart Gallery in Varna; and in 2005 in the Art Efir Gallery in Sofia.
It is only four works painted by Ivan Georgiev that are possessed by a Government-owned gallery. These are a donation made by the artist’s sister Vyara Georgieva to the Sofia City Art Gallery in 2003.


12 March 2008 - 30 March 2008

An exhibition of Ivailo Petrov marking his 85th birthday anniversary

This exhibition is part of the celebration of Ivailo Petrov’s 85th birthday anniversary and presents our renowned writer from a new perspective. Known to the wide audience for his literary work and acknowledged as one of the greatest contemporary Bulgarian writers, Ivailo Petrov was also a gifted painter. Painting, though left in the shadow of his literary prominence, had always accompanied the development of his versatile personality and expressed the spontaneous nature of his talent. The mastered drawing line, the subtle sense for the typical, the resonant colour , the good-humoured cartoon turn his paintings into a cheerful revelation, into a warm and spiritual confession.
The exhibition in Sofia Art Gallery includes over 60 works of Ivailo Petrov – paintings, drawings and small plastic pieces. The works belong to private collections and most of them have not been displayed so far.

Along with the exhibition opening there will be a presentation of the book Before and After published by Literaturen Forum, which includes autobiographical texts by Ivailo Petrov as well as reminiscences of his life.

The newly instituted award for national literature to the name of Ivailo Petrov will be given for the first time.

The real name of the writer born on 19th January, 1923 in the village of Gyuchedyoluk (now Bdinci), district of Varna, was Prodan Petrov Kyuchukov. He finished secondary school in the town of Dobrich. After 1947 he spent a few semesters studying law at Sofia University. Then he studied for two years at the Art Academy under Iliya Beshkov.

He worked for Radio Sofia, Bulgarski Pisatel Publishing House, Plamuk Magazine, Literaturen Front Newspaper. His first collection of stories was Baptism (1953). In 1961 his novel Ground Swell came out. Among his other works are Wolf Hunt, Confused Notes, Before I Was Born and After. His works have been translated into Belorussian, Chinese, Mongolian, German, Russian, Japanese, Rumanian, French, Polish, Slovenian. He won several awards among which the Grand Prize for overall contribution to Bulgarian literary culture Hr. G. Danov in 2002, the Golden Age Prize for contribution to Bulgarian culture, the St. Kliment Ohridski Sofia University Grand Prize for literature and others. Ivailo Petrov died in 2005.

MY JAZZ ICONS Maria Zafirkova Dimitar Traychev Hristo Alexiev

07 March 2008 - 30 March 2008

The project is dedicated to the great names of world jazz. Among the painted are Mahalia Jackson, Count Basie, Elvin Jones, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Sara Vaughan and others.

The three artists use elements of the classical drawing, the cartoon and the poster, relying on the principles fundamental of contemporary graphic design. The authors themselves are jazz fans who work on the representation of different musical products.

Maria Zafirkova (b. 1951) is known to be a delicate painter and an experimenter in the field of materials. Her portraits are marked by a graphic subtlety and moderate lyricism. Dimitur Traichev (b. 1952) is not only a very good graphic designer, master of posters and painter but also a tempted conceptualist. In his excessively expressive portraits he combines “the images of his sound iconostasis”. We know Hristo Alexiev (b. 1950) from his numerous theatrical posters and character sketches. In the portraits of famous musicians he shows his specific rendering of each separate personage.

The exhibition My Jazz Icons is dedicated to one discovery – the jazz singer Radka Toneff (1952-1982). She built up her musical career in Oslo and during her short biography of an artist she managed to win recognition as one of the most famous and legendary names on the contemporary jazz stage. Each of the three artists presents a portrait of the singer.

Vaska Emanouilova Gallery presents Exhibition in Progress. You are invited to come again! Solo Exhibition by Bora Petkova

07 February 2008 - 09 March 2008

The new exhibition season in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery starts with the inauguration of the on-going project Sculpture within which different authors working in that field are going to present their works. The aim of the project is to create an interest and to develop a better understanding of contemporary sculpture and the problems it poses. The initiative is also provoked by the desire to draw the public attention to the development of sculpture in Bulgaria. The most suitable place for this turns out to be the gallery possessing museum collection with works of the eminent Bulgarian sculptor Vaska Emanouilova. 

The first author chosen within the framework of the project is Bora Petkova (b. 1979). Her offbeat and eccentric approach to the sculpture object is known to the viewers from her participation in a number of exhibitions connected to the National Contest for Young Artists, Critics and Curators with the St. St. Cyril and Methodius International Foundation as well as from the exhibitions presenting the selections to the 2007 M-Tel Awards for Contemporary Bulgarian Art and Gaudenz B. Ruf Awards for New Bulgarian Art.

Bora Petkova’s exhibition in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery – Exhibition in Progress. You are invited to come again! represents the process of forming a sculpture object within the exhibition space. The exhibition period itself is divided into four separate stages during which the object is in different phases of completion (from February 7th to February 18th, from February 18th to February 25th, from February 25th to March 3rd and from March 3rd to March 9th ). Each week the artist is going to work on the sculpture gradually adapting it to the exhibition space until the last week when it is going to be presented as a complete sculpture object. The presenting of the exhibition as a working process poses a few questions like how the artist works with the object in real space, what the meaning of sculpture is, how we as viewers perceive and communicate with the sculpture objects as well as what the boundaries and the frames of the exhibition space are.

Snejana Simeonova SAILBOATS

05 February 2008 - 02 March 2008

The Sailboats series was created in the last two years. It is a logical sequel to the Nets and Pairs series where shapes rise and extend in space, allowing the latter to flow into them. As in Nets and Pairs, shapes in Sailboats extend outward, as though a centrifugal force were acting. 

Made of various materials, namely iron, Depron foam, polyester resin, wood, paper pulp, and chaff, the eleven sculptures presented in the Sofia Art Gallery convey both hope and despair, the balance between the two shifting with each sculpture. 

The exhibition’s focal point is a sculpture featuring five human figures. The “dismembered” clothes levitate the bodies floating between the heavenly and the earthly. 

Metaphors of the journey, Snejana Simeonova’s Sailboats are drifting between the possibility and impossibility of change, anchored in fear, gently driven by longing. 

The compositions were created in the artist’s atelier in the village of Illindentsi, a place that has become a centre of sculpture in the last few years. The magic of the village has been a major influence on Snejana Simeonova’s art.

Snejana Simeonova majored in sculpture at the National Academy of Fine Arts, Sofia. She graduated from it in 1976. Her work features a wide range of rendering styles, varying between monumental sculpture and small sculpture. She regularly participates in national sculpture exhibitions, as well as in international ones – she has presented her works in Latvia, Germany, Hungary, the Republic of South Africa, Japan, Spain, Belgium, Israel, and Turkey. Her works are characterized by easiness mixed with hidden tension, a blend of exquisiteness and passionate energy.

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