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
Exhibition of the nominated artists for the modern art Baza award:
17 July 2018 - 12 August 2018
The eleventh edition of the most prestigious competition for young artists in Bulgaria will be held in 2018. BAZA is part of the Young Visual Artists Awards international network (YVAA) in different countries in Central and Eastern Europe. It was established in 1990 and managed by International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York (by 2014) and by Residency Unlimited (RU), New York (since 2015). Bulgaria joined the network in 2008 upon the initiative of Maria Vassileva, and the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia was chosen as a partner to organize the award provides the competition management.
For 2018 the BAZA jury members are: Boshko Boskovic (program director of Residency Unlimited, New York), Karina Kottova (curator), Vladiya Mihaylova (curator), Vera Mlechevska (curator), Stefka Tsaneva (curator).
The BAZA award winners so far are: Rada Boukova (2008), Samuil Stoyanov (2009), Anton Terziev (2010), Vikenti Komitski (2011), Leda Ekimova (2012), Kiril Kuzmanov (2013), Zoran Georgiev (2014), Alexandra Chaushova (2015), Dimitar Shopov (2016) and Martina Vacheva (2017).
0 FOR BLACK, 1 FOR WHITE
06 June 2018 - 08 July 2018
The exhibition is a joint project of Nina Kovacheva and Valentin Stefanoff, following an invitation from the Fotofabrika and produced by the Festival specially for the Sofia City Art Gallery. The event will display thirty large-scale photographic images and five videos. The works are part of several sequences that show the two artists’ individual quests. Most of the photos are exhibited for the first time in Bulgaria. Nina Kovacheva’s cycles “The Hidden Face of Fragility” (2010) and “Five Bible Stories” (2011) lead us through different stages that depict characteristics of man and of traits of human nature while Valentin Stefanoff’s series “Organon” (2011), “Primordial Soup” (2011) and “Plastic Romanticism” (2018) take us into the world of inanimate matter and enable us to peep beyond the large form and to focus our attention on details that he has chosen.
Nina Kovacheva and Valentin Stefanoff graduated from the National Academy of Art in Sofia in 1985. They have been living in Paris since 1995. Their distinguished artistic careers comprise plenty of exhibitions in galleries and museums in Bulgaria, France, Austria, Germany, China, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and elsewhere. They employ a variety of art media like drawing, painting, and photography, in addition to video, video installations, objects and sound instillations. The two artists are well known for their individual aspirations and performances and for quite a number of joint projects that are intended mostly for museum façade and public space and that they sign NINAVALE.
Nina Kovacheva was born in Sofia 1960 in Sofia.
The Temptations of ninavale, the Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art (SAMCA), Sofia, Bulgaria, 2018 / Aging Pride, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, 2017 / The Temptations of ninavale, National Gallery of Macedonia, Skopje, Macedonia, 2017 – Guo Zhong Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2017 / Gold and Niles, Galerie Heike Curtze, Vienna, Austria, 2016 / The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Musée d'art moderne et contemporain (MAMC), Saint-Étienne, France, 2015 / Art for Change 1985-2015, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2015 / The Naked Man, The Museum of Modern Art (Lentos Kunstmuseum), Linz, Austria, 2012 / The Crying Game, Galerie Heike Curtze, Vienna, Austria, 2012 / Close Encounter, Jeju Museum, South Korea, 2010 / Surplus Enjoyment, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan, 2010 / Art Project, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France, 2007 / Face, ZONE: Chelsea Center for Contemporary Art, New York, USA, 2007 / Desire and Resistance Determine the Motion, Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg (MAMCS), France, 2007 / Au-delà de ce qui est visible, National Museum of Contemporary Art (Muzeul Național de Artă Contemporană MNAC), Bucharest, Romania, 2005 / Wet Contact, Kunsthalle, Hannover, Germany, 2002, inter alia.
Valentin Stefanoff was born in 1959 in Sofia.
The Temptations of ninavale, the Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art (SAMCA), Sofia, Bulgaria, 2018 / Le Musée a 30 ans! Musée d'art moderne et contemporain (MAMC), Saint-Étienne, France, 2017 / National Gallery of Macedonia, Skopje, Macedonia, 2017 / Art for Change 1985-2015, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2015 / Close Encounter, Jeju Museum, South Korea, 2010 / Surplus Enjoyment, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan, 2010 / Micro-Narratives, Musée d'art moderne et contemporain (MAMC), Saint-Étienne, France, 2008 / Contemporary Art Biennial, Quebec, Canada, 2008 / European Attitude, Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China, 2008 / Desire and Resistance Determine the Motion, Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg (MAMCS), France, 2007 / ASIA – EUROPE Mediations, National Museum (Muzeum Narodowe w Poznaniu/MNP), Poznan, Poland, 2007 / Micro-narratives, October Salon (Oktobarski Salon), Belgrade, Serbia, 2007 / Play for Two Hands and Black, the façade of the National Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria 2006 / Phases of Accumulation and Extraction in a Limited Space, National Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2005 / Phases of Accumulation and Extraction in a Limited Space, Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg (MAMCS), France, 2006 / Currency, Galerie Mabel Semmler, Paris, France, 2003 / Open – Closed, Museum of Contemporary Art (Muzej savremene umetnosti), Belgrade, Serbia, 2000, inter alia.
CELESTIAL DOG Painting and terracotta
27 April 2018 - 27 May 2018
The exhibition has been structured as a study of the universal concept of roots, genetic memory, and the primal impulse to describe the world using the magic universality of the sign.
Artworks inspired by Neolithic art use layers of modernity combining into a single whole abstract imagery with recognizable details. Touching upon the symbolic richness and geometry of prehistoric means of expression, these artworks seek to represent a consolidated image of time and the human presence sealed in it.
Through the rich language of the paintings the artist offers an effortless translation of archaic symbols into relevant artistic, aesthetic, and philosophical interpretations.
The tailor-made exhibition created by the artist to fit the space of the Sofia City Art Gallery features 30 paintings. They are complemented by three cycles of terracotta works creating the sensation of authenticity and primal vitality.
An exhibition catalogue is available.
„All forms of Neolithic representations around the world constitute painting ensembles that are a combination of three major categories, namely geometrical motifs or abstract signs, animals, and human figures. This thematic and technical unity of prehistoric art harbors an amazing symbolic treasure which motivated me to interpret and create this cycle of paintings and terra cotta works entitled ‘Celestial Dog’.“
BETWEEN TRADITION AND MODERNISM
03 April 2018 - 05 August 2018
The exhibition Between Tradition and Modernism. Images of the Native in Bulgarian Art of the 1920’s is an attempt to present a segment of Bulgaria’s art scene between the early and the mid-20th century. To a certain extent, the singling out of the 1920’s as a distinct period in the history of Bulgarian art was done by art critics for convenience, and is therefore used by this exhibition as a reference point with no strict time boundaries. This decade was a time of vigorous development of the art scene characterized by versatility and modernization. The exhibition is a compilation of artworks exemplifying various trends in the process of modernization, as well as continuation of the tradition of the preceding decades by young Bulgarian art. The artists’ focus of attention was the quest for a national identity and the creation of images epitomizing this concept. The exhibition was developed along four distinct thematic lines in Bulgarian art characteristic of the period, namely interpretations inspired by folk tales and epics, artworks drawing on Christianity and Christian heritage, interest in rites and rituals and representation of images of the Bulgarian countryside. Prints constitute a special component of the exhibition whose presentation of the highlights of the period is complemented by applied art exhibits.
The exhibition features artworks by iconic Bulgarian artists, namely Ivan Milev, Vladimir Dimitrov the Mater, Sirak Skitnik, Ivan Penkov, Nikolay Raynov, Pencho Georgiev, Ivan Lazarov, Nikola Kozhuharov, Boris Denev, Georgi Mashev, etc. The artworks presented in the exhibition come from the permanent collections of the following museums: Sofia City Art Gallery, National Art Gallery, Sofia, Museum of Reginal History, Sofia, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Archives State Agency, National Academy of Arts, SS Cyril and Methodius National Library, Union of Bulgarian Artists, Plovidv City Art Gallery, art galleries of the cities of Stara Zagora, Kazanlak, Kyustendil, Pazardzhik, Sliven, Shumen, Ruse, Samokov City History Museum, museums of regional history of the cities of Dobrich and Vratsa, as well as from private collections.
The project, which was brought to life with kind support from Aurubis Bulgaria AG and the Culture Program of the Sofia City Municipal Council Program, is dedicated to Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU Council.
The exhibition was curated by Adelina Fileva, Stanislava Nikolova, and Lyuben Domozetski. Other participants in the project include consultant Tatyana Dimitrova and artist Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova.
Masters of Photography
27 March 2018 - 22 April 2018
Mary Ellen Mark achieved worldwide visibility through her numerous books, exhibitions and editorial magazine work. She published photo-essays and portraits in such publications as LIFE, New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. For over five decades, she traveled extensively to make pictures that reflect a high degree of humanism. She is recognized as one of our most respected and influential photographers. Her images of our world's diverse cultures have become landmarks in the field of documentary photography. Her portrayals of Mother Teresa, Indian circuses, and brothels in Bombay were the product of many years of work in India. A photo essay on runaway children in Seattle became the basis of the academy award nominated film STREETWISE, directed and photographed by her husband, Martin Bell.
20 March 2018 - 15 April 2018
In 1998, several like-minded friends decided to support Ivan Rusev’s idea about the creation of a sculpture park in the village of Ilindentsi, and went on to establish the Ilindentsi Art Center Foundation.
The beginning of this cultural venue can be traced as far back as 1992-1994 when Ivan Rusev succeeded in securing space for the venue in the village of Ilindentsi where the park keeps growing to this day. Initial support for the foundation included contributions by art connoisseur Zdravko Stoitsev, who supported the foundation for three years. The administration of the municipality of Strumyani, where the art center is being developed, provides substantial support to the initiative.
An area of 3 ha was gradually developed into a park including 47 artworks matching the natural scenery. Some of them, namely The Forum, a functioning amphitheater with seating capacity for more than 350 people; Lake Epiphany, where the race for the cross tossed in its waters takes place on the Christian holiday of Epiphany; and the stone-paved pathways, are large-scale projects within The Network sculptural project which came to life through the efforts of numerous participants. Naturally, they bring people from the village going through this Marble City or attending an event at the Center closer to contemporary sculpture.
Symposia and plein air painting events organized by the Art Center Ilindentsi Foundation over the past 20 years were attended by 164 artists from Bulgaria, Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Israel, India, Canada, Mexico, Romania, the USA, Slovakia, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan. These events were notably attended by eight stone carvers from Sacuragawa, Japan, whose craft has been passed down through generations.
The exhibition presents sculptures and paintings by artists who participated in former actions, including Angel Stanev, Ani Pokrovnishka, Valentin Starchev, Dinko Stoev, Dolores Dilova, Emil Popov, Ivaylo Avramov, Ivaylo Mirchev, Ivan Rusev, Kalina Taseva, Cyril Meskin, Lyuben Genov, Milko Bozhkov, Monica Popova, Nina Ruseva, Svetlin Rusev, Svilen Blazhev, Stefan Lyutakov, Stoyan Tsanev.
The exhibition also features photographs of highlights of the sculpture park and of events organized by the Center. The photos are presented by: Darina Zlatareva, Stoyan Petkov, Mariana Ruseva, Marieta Konova, Tatyana Toteva, Cyril Valchev, Emil MIhaylov, etc.
The following films will be shown: Plain Shapes, director, writer: Stefan Dzhambazov, director of photography: Tsvetan Nedkov, 2004; The Marble City, director, director of photography: Gospodin Nedelchev, writer: Svetla Kamenova, 2007; Ilindentsi, Elevation 377, a film by Borimir Ilkov-Bono. A BNT reportage cycle of 4 films made between 2001 and 2008 will also be shown, director: Lyubka Borisova, writer Atanas Pironev, directors of photography: Alexander Karadzhov, Feodor Surgov.
The project was completed with kind support from the Culture Program of Capital City Municipal Administration.
In the Mirror, Dimly
20 February 2018 - 11 March 2018
Drawings on thermal rescue blankets, video art and the first mixed reality installation in Bulgaria are merged into one in Theodore Ushev’s most recent visual design project, In the mirror, dimly.
The project challenges the viewers to search for the hidden message, the meaning beyond the visible, the alternative point of view. It addresses the concept of individual and social fear and hypocrisy, of salvation and annihilation as individual and social acts.
The project features the first immersive installation to be put up in Bulgaria, which will introduce viewers to one of the most innovative and attractive trends in visual art with the help of a special helmet and goggles. They let the viewers into an alternative environment through optical illusion creating the impression that viewers are part of the action they see through the goggles.
Ushev has used mixed reality experimental technology in one of his modules. Mixed reality technology uses digital 3D pictures and images in a way that mixes them with the viewer’s surroundings. This results in an interactive experience of mixing the real and the virtual world where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
Besides the mixed reality video, Theodore Ushev will also create a film within the framework of the project In the mirror, dimly, which may be seen at the gallery, as well as an exhibition of the objects with the images they were created from.
Exploring the themes of vanity, deception, and salvation as a personal and social act, the artist ‘labels’ his drawings using hidden messages made visible exclusively through ultraviolet light. Using periphrases of and references to the books of Ecclesiastes and Corinthians, In the mirror, dimly contemplates the meaning and meaninglessness of life beyond the visible.
The artist has applied innovative technology specially developed for the installation by the Danish studio NVRMIND. The installation features sound bites by Angela Merkel, Boyko Borisov, Vladimir Putin, Volen Siderov, Donald Trump, Cornelia Ninova.
In the mirror, dimly is the first big solo project developed by Ushev in our country outside cinematography. Commissioned by governmental and private organizations, the artist has realized similar initiatives, exhibitions and installations in various venues around the world, including the Barbican in London /England/, the Museum of Civilization in Quebec /Canada/, Centraal Museum, Utrecht /the Netherlands/, Ljubljana /Slovenia/, Tokyo /Japan/, San Francisco /USA/, Annecy /France/, etc.
The project In the mirror, dimly was granted funding under the Culture Program of the Capital City Municipal Council, which worked in partnership with the Sofia City Art Gallery and the National Film Board of Canada. The exhibition was organized by the Moments Foundation and Kids House.
Producer and organizer: Desislava Bineva
Curator: Adelina Fileva
Luchezar Boyadjiev. Sic Transit Media Mundi (The Present is Too Short and Rather Tight)
14 February 2018 - 11 March 2018
Luchezar Boyadjiev is among the most prominent contemporary Bulgarian artists. A founding member of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Sofia and an author with an extensive international practice, Boyadjiev is a public figure with a particularly significant critical stance in the Bulgarian art scene. As an artist, curator, lecturer, he contributes to the establishing of new definitions and art practices in the country.
This exhibition is his first retrospective in Bulgaria, which shows his experience of over 20 years of creative practice. It features works from the early 1990s until the present day, among them author's replicas and reconstructions of essential and rarely exhibited works. On display will be some of the artist's earliest works created in the chaotic times of euphoria and hopes for change immediately following the 1989 events. They have been exhibited primarily outside the country, and have been included in international historical exhibitions such as "Beyond Belief: Contemporary Art from East Central Europe", 1995, “After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe”, 1999, “Blood & Honey / Future’s in the Balkans”, 2003, and many more.
Over the years, the artist has participated in biennials, group exhibitions and conferences spanning from Sao Paulo to Santa Fe and Gwangju as well as almost everywhere in Europe. His works are part of many museum collections worldwide, the largest part of them in Bulgaria being owned by the Sofia City Art Gallery in its collection of contemporary art.
Luchezar Boyadjiev’s entire creative work represents an accurate, richly humourous, knowledgeable and critical visual study of the present. It reveals his extensive knowledge of the Bulgarian and international history of art as well as of the current problems of modernity. His works are related to the reorganization of social, ideological and religious power hierarchies, with the shift in values and a study of the relationships between personal and public space, global and local territories, with the search for the points of intersection of capitalism and democracy, consumerism and the new lifestyle patterns. The artist is interested in the issues of the memory and the past that defines the profile of various locations and circumstances, but also in possible projections into the future. His works bring the two vectors together to shape the identity of the present.
The curators of the exhibition are Iara Boubnova, Maria Vassileva, Vladiya Mihaylova and Daniela Radeva. It is organized with the support of “Culture” Program of the Sofia Municipality, ICA-Sofia, Edmond Demirdjian Foundation, Open Arts Foundation, FAC Design, MUSIZ Foundation, Dana and Georgi Voinov, Gaudenz B. Ruf, Kontakt Collection-Vienna, Collection Hohenthal und Bergen-Berlin, and Collection Rene Block-Berlin.
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