Лого на Софийска Градска Художествена Галерия
Анимация по време на зареждане

Jaap de Ruig - THE POWER OF IMPERFECTION With the kindness support of the Royal Netherlands Embassy Sofia and Mondriaan Foundation

20 September 2006 - 08 October 2006


Halfway his study at the Minerva Academy of Art in the north of Holland, Jaap de Ruig thought: ‘To hell with art.’ One morning he simply got up and left home, heading south. He ended up on a farm in France and stayed there for several years.

Later on he started to travel as a documentary photographer, together with his wife the Dutch writer Mariet Meester (www.marietmeester.nl). For nearly ten years they did not have a fixed adresss. Especially their journeys to Rumania, where they lived with the most impoverished gypsies, left deep marks on them.

In 1992 Jaap de Ruig decided to return to visual art, to be able to reflect on what he had seen while travelling. As he, during his time in France, had become very acqainted with the life of domestic animals, it was obvious that he would use the life and behaviour of animals as a metaphor for human behaviour.

Since 1998 video has become his main medium. During the year 2000 Jaap de Ruig gave himself the opportunity of making one small videofilm every week. He experimented in total freedom, not only challenging his ideas about life and art, but also the medium video itself. After one year 52 WEEKS had become a sequences of nearly two hours. In 2002 he finished a series of twenty-one new videos with the title We are Poetry.

Work of Jaap de Ruig has been shown on ARTE-tv (broadcasted in 34 countries), at the Film- and Videofestival of Kassel (Germany), and at the Museum Reina Sofia in Madrid (Spain), during Cine y casi cine. In November 2002 he was awarded the Premio New Art 2002 in Barcelona during the art festival New Art. He received the award for a series of ten videofilms with the title 10 Fingers. The work has become part of thecollection of the museum for contemporary art in Barcelona, the MACBA.

Screening Europe Tour - From October 2003 until October 2004 Jaap de Ruig and Mariët Meester made a big European tour. In about twenty-five art spaces in Eastern- and Western Europe Jaap de Ruig showed a selection of his videos.
The Power of Imperfection is a solo-exhibition with nine video-installations. Having started in Berlin (Dec.‘05 / Jan.‘06), the exhibition will slowly travel around Europe during the years 2006 and 2007. After Berlijn will follow Groningen, Riga, Tallinn, Skopje, Sofia, Barcelone, Milan and Lisbon.

The protagonists in the work of Jaap de Ruig are mainly animals or symbolized animals. We, as human beings, have a natural tendency to identify ourselves with an animal we are looking at. By using animal life De Ruig creates detours or metaphors to ask questions or make statements about human existence. Humour and aesthetics play a role in making unacceptable sides of life acceptable. Video-installations will dominate the exhibition in the Sofia Art Gallery.

The struggle, 1998
In a circle of light man and animal roll around and over each other, throwing each other to the left and to the right. The representative of humankind and the representative of nature fight endlessly. There will be no winner. The installation is about the struggle between man and nature, the struggle between man and man, and the struggle between man and his own inner nature.

Man, 1999
A spluttering little guy on the palm of a hand. Five maggots stuck together with crazy-glue and a small head made of cardboard. The end of one of the maggots functions as a protruding penis. It is a kind of Rorschachtest. What do you see on this video? Five bugs with a piece of cardboard? Or a vulnerable humanoid with the elasticity and motor skills of a baby? Are you an over-sentimental-not realistic-animal-rights-campaigner, or are you so numb that you find it just ‘amusing’? In fact you see living creatures trying to free themselves. And do you realize that the hand of their creator can close around them at any moment and crush them?

Caressing a dead animal, 1998/2006 - text
In his early twenties the artist lived on a farm. A crucial period in his life which helped him to overcome a severe depression. Thinking of that time he wrote down a list of chores he remembered well. Hundred and sixty sentences that start off beautiful small movies in his head. But in someone else’s head the play-back of these movies might be distorted. Words can only be a medium for transmitting images, when the reader has had similar experiences. ‘Caressing a dead animal? Horrible! You don’t do that.’ ‘Cutting away the chestnuts of a horse? What kind of nutty things are they?’

Nosotros y nosotros (we and we), 2003
In ‘nosotros and nosotros’ we see the left hand of the artist sliding carelessly through the water as if it is a fish. A whole shoal of fish appears. Suddenly right hand enters the water and catch some of the fish. Again the artist uses the life and behavior of animals as a metaphor for human existence. Man is like a snake biting its own tail. Fate depends heavily on random luck.

The power of imperfection, 2004
Hundreds of birds fly over a mountainous landscape. When some of the birds pass by at a closer distance, we realize they are made up by a hand. We realize too that those birds are doing something impossible; they are flying while having only one wing. ‘The power of imperfection’ deals with the incredible capacity of human beings to overcome handicaps, lack of material welfare and social disorder.

I want to be brave, 2004
A snail, made up by the two hands of the artist, climbs a tree. When the animal is out of sight it suddenly falls to the ground. But it courageously climbs up again.
‘I want to be brave’ implicates the desire to be courageous until death, as well as the impossibility and uselessness of the same.

The burden, 2005
‘The burden’ is an installation with two video-beamers. One beamer shows high on a wall a white open window. We see the artist standing behind it. He lifts a stone from the window-sill and drops it. Then a second beamer, which is pointed to the floor, takes over. In a circle of light the stone hits the floor. Uttering a loud grin, the stone wiggles and then comes to a standstill. The stone seems to contain the head of the artist.
‘The burden’ or should we say ‘Getting rid of the burden’ deals with the endless process in a human life of getting rid of mental imprints from his youth.

Merry-go-round, 2005
In ‘Merry-go-round’ dead geese are hanging on a swing. The geese are made up by a hand of the artist.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT Curators: Maria Vassileva and Daniela Radeva

16 September 2006 - 07 October 2006


Important Announcement is an exhibition showing works of contemporary Bulgarian art based on the use of text. The text first appeared in art in the late 60ies of the 20th century and is still actively implemented as a contextual and visual element even today. It is an essential part or an important emphasis in a number of works which highlight the historical development of Bulgarian art during the past fifteen years.

The exhibition presents 33 authors from several generations: Adelina Popnedeleva, Alla Georgieva, Boryana Dragoeva (Boryana Rossa), Valentin Stefanoff, Ventsislav Zankov, Veronika Tsekova, Georgi Rouzhev, Georgi Toushev, Dimitar Traichev, Elena Panayotova, Ivan Kiuranov, Ilian lalev, Ioan Kirilov, Kalin Plugchiev, Kalin Serapionov, Kiril Prashkov, Krasimir Dobrev, Krasimir Terziev, Kosta Tonev, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Maria Zafirkova, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Nedko Solakov, Nikolai Chakarov, Nina Kovacheva, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Samuil Stoyanov, Sasho Stoitsov, Silvia Lazarova, Stefan Nikolaev, Houben Cherkelov, Yuri Staikov. The common thing about their works is that they all incorporate the text into the image, the difference being in the ways it is used and the means of expression: painting, drawing, textile, object, photography, video, installation etc. The exhibits have been created during the last fifteen years and reveal the stages the use of the text has gone through as well as the various ways it has been applied in visual arts. 

For some of the works this is the first time they have been publicly displayed in Bulgaria. Some lost or destroyed works have been specially restored for the exhibition while others have been created for this particular occasion. The same space hosts considerable works of art like Nedko Solakov’s Announcement, which took part in the Venice Biennial in 1999, Georgi Rouzhev’s Self-portrait over the German Anarchist’s Manifest Concerning the East-European Issues, Istanbul, 1992, Kiril Prashkov’s Speaking Cobblestones, which was shown at the In the Gorges of the Balkans exhibition in Kassel, 2003 and others. New works exploiting the text have been created by young artists Kosta Tonev, Samouil Stoyanov and Yuri Staikov.

A special catalogue including 150 works by 35 artists created between 1987 and 2006 has been printed for the occasion. The edition contains exhaustive information about all published works and represents an important document on the history of Bulgarian contemporary art.

The exhibition and the catalogue have been made possible through the kind support and co-operation of the Debut Projects in the Field of Contemporary Art Fund, Interspace Media Art Centre, Petko Churchuliev Art Gallery, Dimitrovgrad, Xella Bulgaria Ltd., Obitech, Sign Café. 

Roumen Gasharov Painting

14 September 2006 - 12 October 2006


Roumen Gasharov is related to some of the most interesting processes that have taken place in Bulgarian arts in the last several decades. The present exhibition is dedicated to his 70th anniversary and encompasses paintings from all periods of his creative career. 

With his canvases, whose major topic is man and his daily routine, Gasharov is constantly challenging the audience and the critics. The ordinary artifacts of everyday life acquire the nature of a tool the author employs to create the modern folklore of an urban type. This ‘tangible’ arsenal Gasharov fits into his oil paintings and collages due to his inherent feeling for the grotesque and the ironic. Pieces of embroidery and lace, fluttering angels and showy shooting galleries, leaflets and newspaper pieces all combine to give rise to the Bulgarian type of pop-art. The markedly naive manner the artist employs has developed into a subtle artistic style. The lyricism his personages invoke, contrary to the expectations, stem from the banal, the kitsch and all that is very close to the manner of the daily routine. The freshness in Gasharov’s canvases comes from the artist’s subtle understanding of man, his feeling for the human soul and his ability to recreate in a concise manner the specific moments of the mass culture that have revealed most vividly throughout the years man and man’s daily life. The artist’s credo: „I love simple beauty and ordinary things”, goes hand in hand with the graceful culture of artistic expression. 

Of special interest is the cycle of paintings on topics from Sofia – landscapes, compositions with figures, etc. The author recreates the spirit of the time, imprinting the urban atmosphere in a not too remote past. 

The pictures are the ownership of the Sofia Art Gallery, The National Art Gallery, House of Humour and Satire in Gabrovo, the National Palace of Culture, the Art Galleries in Sliven, Veliko Tarnovo and Smolyan, and the author himself. 

CENTRAL New Art from New Europe

30 June 2006 - 22 July 2006


Twenty four artists from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro, Hungary and the Czech Republic are presented in an unusual traveling exhibition. Paintings, videos, objects, installations and prints are gathered into a collection to show the new face of Europe. 

At a time when Europe is witnessing the birth of its new history, the recourse to the creative sources of different countries is an opportunity for extending the dialogue. The sponsors of the exhibition – Siemens and HVB Bank Biochim together with Gallery Hilger, Viena – are interested in talented people in all European countries regardless of whether these countries are members of the European Union or not. The creative energy transgresses any political, economic and geographic boundaries. It is in the unification of this creativity that the partners of Siemens and HVB Bank Biochim see the opportunity for an active dialogue between neighbouring countries and the reconsidering of values, which is one of the challenges we all have to face. The common language of art is going to help people grasp the meaning behind the idea of “united Europe”.

The project CENTRAL. New Art from New Europe gives the chance to young authors from several European countries to present their works to a diverse audience. The exhibition is constantly evolving, renewing and adapting itself to the particular surroundings. So far it has been shown in different cities of Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia.

The end of the exhibition is going to be celebrated with a concert of scholarship students from the “International Summer Academy Prague – Vienna – Budapest”, which is an educational institution for young musicians at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts. 

RUMEN SKORCHEV painting and drawing

07 June 2006 - 09 July 2006


Rumen Skorchev is among the artists whose name is of great significance for the contemporary Bulgarian graphics and illustration. Having graduated in Landscape Architecture from the University of Forestry in 1957 and then Illustration from the Sofia Art Academy in 1964, Rumen Skorchev made an immediate breakthrough into the artistic life of Bulgaria. Several generations have grown up with his book illustrations, which makes him well-known and loved by the Bulgarian public. The artist is equally popular outside the country. Since 1969 he has taken part in numerous international biennials and representative expositions of illustrations, graphics, drawings and paintings.

The current exhibition at Sofia Art Gallery comprises of paintings and drawings created during the last years. The exposition allows for the representation of Skorchev’s concept through the expressive means of painting.

The drawings are characterized by the spontaneity of the creative process. Executed in ecstatic plastic lines, they convey dynamics showing supreme mastery of form.

In his paintings Rumen Skorchev poses the question of tradition and succession. He dwells on some eternal issues of humanity as well as mythological and historic subjects interpreted in a symbolic way through association and metaphor. His paintings combine bright colours, contrast and a semantically loaded composition. Furthermore, they exemplify the transition of the author from graphics to painting and the continuity of his creative explorations. On the whole the exposition shows the transformations in Rumen Skorchev’s plastic concept along the way from graphics to painting through the colourful vivacity and the multi-varied line of the drawing.

Curator of the exhibition: Daniela Chulova

Pavlin Kotsev painting

01 June 2006 - 22 June 2006


“ …… Pavlin Kotsev paints from life. 
His colours are rich and the form is solidly shaped… 
His interests are directed towards the spiritual atmosphere inherent in each of his works.” 
Prof. Dr. Valentin Angelov

The current exposition includes paintings created over the past few years. The exhibition is dedicated to the author’s 70th birthday anniversary.

Pavlin Kotsev is one of the most eminent representatives of contemporary Bulgarian realism. Drawing from his poetic inspiration, he has been praising the beauty of his native village of Tipchenitsa for years on end. It has virtually become a never exhausting source of subject matter for the painter.

Being in love with people, the earth, the sea and the sky, Pavlin Kotsev tries to embody them in his paintings as a symbol of the throbbing life. The painter lets the viewers into his rich artistic world. His paintings evoke hidden feelings making people gasp at the beauty and glory of nature and remember their spiritual identity.

Pavlin Kotsev was born on 13th July 1936 in the village of Tipchenitsa near Montana. He graduated in graphic art from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia under Professor Vesselin Staikov and Professor Evtim Tomov. In 1974 he specialized in Paris. He visited Venice and Florence. In 1982 he continued his education in Saint Petersburg and Moscow. The painter has had 14 one-man exhibitions so far. Works of his are among the possessions of the National Art Gallery, Sofia Art Gallery, almost every art gallery around the country, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, Alois Englander’s collection, Vienna, private collections in France, Belgium, Germany, Cyprus etc. He lives and works in Sofia.

MEETING POINT Borjana Ventzislavova. It Was Always Dark Outside

31 May 2006 - 02 July 2006


"It Was Always Dark Outside" - a project which presents a social problem through the means of art - a project about women who have become victims of human traffic from East Europe - a global industry based on human bodies -a theme neglected for a long time by the official authorities in our country -without a real or at least an adequate reaction from the society - on the contrary - rather a conflict with the stereotypes of (post-)patriarchic way of thinking - woman as a scapegoat of her own... light-mindedness?

Why is such a project to be presented in Bulgaria - just because a lot of the victims come from here but it is quite less known about them in their native country - whereas the region has become popular with that kind of commodity in west Europe where the project itself has been created.

The idea originating as a diploma work by Borjana Ventzislavova at the university of applied arts, Vienna - the author initiates a research which results as a multimedia installation - the conversations, meetings and affiliation with the women distressed provoke a number of interviews, photographies and video representing the real life - the one which goes on behind fresh make up, velvet curtains, red lanterns...

Jana Kostova
Curator of the project

Tristan Jeanne-Vals. Phnix

25 May 2006 - 02 July 2006


In October 2000 the myth of the Phoenix, loaded with the cultural diversity of different epochs and being a solar symbol, an emblem of resurrection and a synonym of transformation, became the subject of a three day discussion conference at the University of Caen, Lower Normandy. The building itself, having been destroyed during the bomb raids over the town in 1944, was reconstructed and officially opened in 1957 with a bronze sculpture representing the legendary bird. Willing to elaborate on the topic, the Regional Council of Lower Normandy asked Tristan Jeanne Vales to give it visual interpretation. The author presented his idea of transformation and the eternal rebirth and revival of spirit and matter in 32 large-scale black-and-white photographs, which are the subject of the current exhibition.
Grouped in four cycles, the works touch upon the idea of the Phoenix as a conversation with time, a communication with the subtle yet powerful movements of nature and an intricate game between the transient and the eternal.

The Traces and Time series, shot mainly in Iceland and Normandy, represent a poetic “listening to” the natural forms. Fascinated by the water and stone playing and the moving forms of clouds and ice, the photographer conveys the feeling of flooding foaming nature which is constantly revitalizing. Counterpoint to the above, the Oxymoron and Take Off series lead to an anthropomorphic interpretation of the universe. In the first one, which was co-authored by Izabelle Le Guern, Tristan Jeanne-Vales interweaves some personal symbols to achieve an exciting male-female diffusion, a unity of incompatibilities and a harmony of oppositions. In the Take Off series the author pays tribute to the flaming bird through the gracious body of the dancer Blanca Lee looking for ritual in movement which brings him to the idea of flying.

The exhibition of Tristan Jeanne-Vales is part of the events held concurrently with the Bulgaria – a Land of Europe festival in France. From May 2nd to June 9th, more than thirty towns in Normandy and Paris itself will be the venue of dozens of exhibitions, concerts, literary readings and theatrical workshops aiming at presenting Bulgarian contemporary culture to the French audience. 

The events to take place in Sofia are organized by the Balkan Transit association, the French Association for Artistic Activities and the Regional Council of Lower Normandy with the substantial support of the French Cultural Institute in Sofia.

Tristan Jeanne-Vales was born in 1954. He has been working as a photographer since 1978. Photographer of the National Centre for Dramatic Arts in Normandy since 1980. His photographs on modern dancing can be seen in most books on that topic and are often published in the French and international press. He is an active contributor to a lot of printed press editions, mostly La Liberasion and Le Monde. For some years now the subject of his photographs has been the traditional folk music of different European countries and since 2003 – the music on the Balkans.

Nicolas Manev Painting

11 May 2006 - 03 June 2006


Nikola Manev is one of the Bulgarian artists whose work is associated with one of the greatest European cultural meccas. Born in the town of Chirpan (August 28th, 1940) and a graduate from the Art School in Sofia, he began his artistic training at Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1962, where he graduated in painting under Professor Maurice Brianchon. An early recognition of his talent came as he won first prize at the Chenavard Art Competition. His life became an inseparable element of the rhythm of the European cultural stage. In 1981 he became a member of the Managerial Board of Autumn Salon, Paris. He was living and working at his studio in Ile Saint- Louis which became his refuge after all his adventurous journeys around the world (Arizona, Colorado, Tunisia, Geneva, London, Düsseldorf, Taiti, Frankfurt etc.). He has to his record more than 2500 works, most of which are in private or state-owned collections and in the museums of more than 25 countries.

His painting can hardly be defined in a simple way or described in strict terms. It is a fantasy, a fairy tale come from ancient times, deeply associative and multilayered like the time we are living in. Manev’s canvasses are charged with the hypnotic magnetism of the weird earth formations of Bulgarian nature ( the Thracian Plain, the town of Melnik, the Rocks of Belogradchik) and the exquisite colour of “impressionistic” Paris. In the course of years he has created a plastic language of his own which shows an author’s interpretation of the abstract and the figurative in painting. He has created compositions which destroy form only to compose it again by means of light reflections affecting with the power of the subconscious. 

Nikola Manev embodies the personality of the cosmopolitan artist whose belonging to both the Bulgarian and the French culture manages to convince us that we are all members of the big family of the European cultural history. 

The current exhibition at Sofia Art Gallery comprises more than 50 works from different periods, some of them shown for the first time.

Georgi Popov - John. Painting, drawings, illustrations Exhibition dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the artist

28 April 2006 - 28 May 2006


Georgi Popov – John /1906 – 1960/ is one of those Bulgarian artists whose creative development is associated with the artistic processes around Europe. He lived and worked during the first half of the 20th century. Unfortunately his name is not among the most popular ones in Bulgarian fine art and his diverse work has not been adequately promoted and thoroughly examined.

Who was Georgi Popov – John? He was an interesting person, a well-known Bulgarian bohemian and a man with plenty of artistic interests. He used to work in the field of the portrait painting, the landscape, the nude, the still life and the figural composition. He was also productive in monumental decoration, applied graphics and scenography. Moreover he was a brilliant master of the written word and wrote a series of articles dedicated to different cultural events and artistic issues.

Throughout his creative life John Popov went through several stages. His stay in the French capital in the years between 1930 – 1935 and 1937 – 1939 proved to be of extreme benefit to him. At that particular time he became part and parcel of the French artistic life. He got closely acquainted with French art and the representatives of surrealism, futurism and cubism as well as with the pictorial language of the Prague school of art. Despite all the influences, though, John Popov preserved his unique artistic expression.
Between 1947 – 1948 the artist lived and worked in Sweden where he created mainly illustrations. That period is also noted for his water-colours which stand out for their extraordinary intensity.

From the late 40ies until 1960 John Popov worked entirely in pastel. He explored the topic of “Fishermen” in a cycle of preparatory sketches and pictures. At that time he was attracted by the still-life genre. 

The exhibition at Sofia Art Gallery includes about 55 works – paintings and drawings and six books of illustrations. The pieces are owned by Sofia Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, Yambol Art Gallery, Bourgas Art Gallery, the National Art Academy, Atelier-Collection Svetlin Roussev, Cyril and Methodius National Library and private collectors.
The goal of the exposition is to present John Popov as a person and a man of art by showing all that has been preserved so far thus reminding us of the artist’s place in our cultural history. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a colourful catalogue.

Curator is Roumyana Konstantinova.

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