THE NUDE MALE BODY 1856 - 1944
21 February 2017 - 26 March 2017
The topic of the nude male body in the great world of art is not new. In Bulgaria, however, attempts to present it in the museum/gallery space, as well as in the theoretical sphere are absent. Studied, researched, problematized, shared as a visual narrative, that history in our country remains marginalized.
“Every nude body, as abstract as it is, should arouse in the viewer a drop of erotic feeling, even if it is a pale shadow – and if it doesn’t, it is bad art and false morals” – noted in his capital research on the nude body in art Kenneth Clark. Even if we disagree with this ideology in its entirety, it seems we cannot find reasonable arguments to refute the claim that “naked”, at least on the territory of art, is associated with concepts such as sexual and erotic. Concepts, which in every period, seem to be a subject of redefinition by adding more branching arrangements and details. Concepts, which are reflected in the traditional culture of Bulgarians and have peculiar uses in a number of ceremonies, folk songs, mythological and poetic notions. However, in the exhibition “Nude Male Body 1856 – 1944”, which fits in itself not an exhaustive, but still representative sample of images, projections of this “use” can hardly be seen in pure form. What causes this? What distances the Bulgarian artist from the man's body? Why by conveying a nude man on the canvas by the artist, he turns simply to a non-erotic object, devoid of emotion? Where does this refusal of the artist to engage with the nude male body come from? How are these “uses” (with/)of the nude male body in the art of our country being perceived by the authors? And by the observer?
These are just a fraction of the issues that the team of this exhibition is trying to place in the space of Bulgarian fine art. The answers to these questions can hardly be unambiguous. But these are answers without which the nude male body will continue to make us look away in a feigningly uncomfortable manner.
The exhibition offers the first-ever visual narrative of this particular national closeness through the figure of the man that is left without clothes. The nude man who, for one reason or the other, after leaving the private space somehow turns into an object disturbing the society. The exhibition presents the development of educational male study throughout the period and the “use” of the nude male body in the work of artists in the country. Visitors can see 96 works – paintings, drawings and sculpture by 54 artists, some of which are iconic names in the history of Bulgarian art and other are forgotten and completely unknown to the general audience.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue and is implemented in a partnership with the National Gallery, Sofia, National Academy of Art, Earth and Man National Museum – Sofia, Union of Bulgarian Artists, the art galleries in Plovdiv, Kyustendil, Shumen, Pleven, Pazardzhik, Kazanlak, Stara Zagora, Lom, Studio-collection “Svetlin Rusev”, Foundation “Tzanko Lavrenov”, private collections of Aleksander Kerezov, Boyan Radev, Ventsislav Kadiev, Vladimir Georgiev, Ivo Raykov, Nikolay Mladzhov, Dr. Ognian Delibozov, Toma Nikolov and Hristo Balarev.
Curators: Adelina Fileva, Ramona Dimova, Plamen V. Petrov
LINE: THE SHORT NAME FOR SPACE
07 February 2017 - 05 March 2017
Line (together with form, chiaroscuro, colouring, volume etc.) is a major element of the image, often the fundamental one preceding all the rest. Marking the initial impulse of the idea, effecting a spontaneous connection between realization and representation, the line often remains the essential and sometimes even the only carrier of the work’s emotional intensity.
The exhibition allows viewers to get to know both landmark but also completely unknown paintings, graphics and sculptures from the collection of the Sofia City Art Gallery.
Curator: Svetla Georgieva
14 December 2016 - 29 January 2017
07 December 2016 - 12 February 2017
.The exhibition constitutes the concluding phase of the ‘Visual Chronicles’ project aimed at the creation of an archive of art in Bulgaria during the mid- through the late 20th century in the shape of video interviews and through the memories of artists who lived in the abovementioned age.
Curators: Maria Vasileva, Daniela Radeva
ANCESTRAL MEMORY AND HERITAGE. FOUR GENERATIONS OF ARTISTS
02 November 2016 - 27 November 2016
This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the artist Vassil Yonchev. The “ANCESTRAL MEMORY AND HERITAGE” Exhibition is an attempt to survey the creative work of one of the biggest Bulgarian artistic families – the Yonchevs. A family which still lives on, and its members continue to demonstrate their worth in the fields of painting, graphic art, sculpture, illustration, graphic design, animation, book design, typeface, scenography, costume design, and cinematography. This is a visual story – a document – of the talent’s power.
In 1892, the family’s founder – Dimitar Vassilev Yonchev – was born in Plovdiv. His name is associated with laying the foundations of scenography and costume design in Plovdiv. Due to his dozens of designs elaborated for Plovdiv’s theatrical stage, some of which have been preserved even to this day, Dimitar Yonchev has won recognition as one of the most important names in the town’s theatrical life in the 1920s and the 1930s. Charismatic, talented and Bohemian in terms of spirit, he was the father of five children, to whom he passed on his passion for art. The doyen of the Bulgarian typeface school – Vassil Yonchev – was also amongst these inheritors. The “ANCESTRAL MEMORY AND HERITAGE” Exhibition reveals the history of this family – of its members, whose paths were to cross those of members of the Enev, the Dzhidrov, the Gogov, the Wendt and the Müller families.
The Exhibition shows paintings, graphic art, scenography sketches, costume and book designs, animation, and photography. This is a project that unites the creative work of four generations of artists – 25 professionals altogether. The audience has the opportunity to scrutinize designs of Dimitar Yonchev, Vassil Yonchev’s original illustrations for children’s books, paintings by Zdravko, Dimitar and Iliya Yonchev painted especially for this Exhibition, creative works of the grand master of the cinematographic scenography and an apprentice of Kiril Tsonev and Ivan Penkov – Konstantin Dzhidrov–Dzhidrata. And more: graphic works by the Müller family; Georg Wendt’s photographs, who has photographed the German designer and also a photograph – Karl Lagerfeld.
This Exhibition is the first of its kind, presenting four generations of artists who have left their mark on the history of the Bulgarian
SOFIA CITY ART GALLERY PLAMEN DEJANOFF BORIS KOSTADINOV EMANUEL LAYR GALLERY AUSTRIAN EMBASSY SOFIA
11 October 2016 - 11 November 2016
The exhibition has the unusual title: SOFIA CITY ART GALLERY, PLAMEN DEJANOFF, BORIS KOSTADINOV, EMANUEL LAYR GALLERY, AUSTRIAN EMBASSY SOFIA.
In this project the organizers of the exhibition are displayed in alphabetical order and this title reminds an "advertising campaign" with a specific textual "teaser".
The text is imprinted on a large banner - on the facade of the Sofia City Art Gallery. Furthermore, the artist puts numerous posters with the same content at different key locations in the city - galleries, bookstores, theaters, restaurants, cafes...
What are the aims of this campaign? It should disclose the idea of creating a Center for Contemporary Art in a wonderful old house in Arbanassi village.
The house was built in 1480 and is the first house in Bulgaria, which has its own bathroom. Its wood carvings are remarkable. They were at the heart of the exhibition “Foundation Requirements” at the 21er Haus museum in Vienna last year.
The exhibition SOFIA CITY ART GALLERY, PLAMEN DEJANOFF, BORIS KOSTADINOV, EMANUEL LAYR GALLERY, AUSTRIAN EMBASSY SOFIA asks questions to the general public about its understanding of the importance of contemporary art in the contemporary Bulgarian context and the private initiatives for its encouragement.
Curator Boris Kostadinov
27 September 2016 - 23 October 2016
This is Ziyatin Nuriev’s first retrospective exhibition. Over 35 years of creative work are presented, including both sculptures from his years as a student and some of his latest works.
Ziyatin Nuriev’s depth and innovativeness place him among the most talented Bulgarian sculptors. Already with his first participations in national exhibitions, his works were noticed and bought, almost with no exceptions, by the National Art Gallery, the Sofia City Gallery as well as leading galleries around the country. Initially he worked in basalt, one of the hardest materials, with a predilection for figure and portrait. After 1988, he synthesised the human figure achieving an almost abstract form in various materials – marble, bronze, wood, ceramics.
Ziyatin Nuriev’s oeuvre combines antiquity and modernity. Lessons from the Egyptian plastic thinking are enlivened by the author’s personal language. Conciseness, deep thought and lurking might are his fundamental features.
Ziyatin works and lives in Istanbul but his connection with Bulgaria has never been severed, the latest proof of which are his exhibitions in Varna (2014) and Plovdiv (2015).
Ziyatin Nuriev was born in the village of Most, district of Kurdjali. He graduated in sculpture from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1982. Up until 1990, he worked in Bulgaria and then moved to Istanbul where he has been teaching sculpture at the Fine Arts Faculty of the Marmara University.
Major participations and exhibitions:
International Sculpture Symposium in Orońsko, Poland (1986); Granite Sculpture Symposium – island of Avșa, Turkey (1993); First Stone Sculpture Symposium – Yalova, Turkey (1995); International Sculpture Biennial – Toyamura, Japan (1997); Project Conversation with the Soul, Raku Gallery, Kyoto (2003); International Sculpture Symposium – Fuerteventura, the Canary Islands (2004, 2005); solo exhibition at the Simoncini Gallery – Luxemburg (2005); International Marble Sculpture Symposium – Saraylar, the island of Marmara, Turkey (2005); solo exhibition at the Akmerkez Gallery, Istanbul (2006), solo exhibition at the Ișik Gallery, Turkey (2014), solo exhibition at the Resonance Gallery, Plovdiv (2015).
THE AFTERNOON OF AN IDEOLOGY
16 September 2016 - 27 November 2016
The exhibition 'The Afternoon of an Ideology' presents a slice of Sofia City Art Gallery's collection as put together through the 'non-art' eyes of Georgi Gospodinov and Georgi Lozanov. Acting as art historians of sorts, they mined the gallery's store room seeking evidence of the communist period and also investigating how artists experienced that period. The concept the two curators put forward is two-fold: first, that artists used their own language to write microhistories of the period and, second, that artists participate in a 'double game': while they are representing reality, also reality is representing itself to them, becoming a work of art by both yielding to and resisting their will.
In pursuing their goal, Mr Gospodinov and Mr Lozanov discovered that aesthetic qualities were not the leading criteria for a work to qualify for the selection. By no means should this imply of course that such are absent – after all, the selection features pieces by some of Bulgaria's most prominent artists: Lyubomir Dalchev, Ivan Kirkov, Vaska Emanuilova, Pavel Koychev, Galin Malakchiev, Atanas Yaranov, Dimitar Kazakov, Milko Bozhkov, Lyuben Zidarov, Andrey Daniel, Nedko Solakov, Vihroni Popnedelev, Stanislav Pamukchiev, Tekla Alexieva, Vanko Urumov. All these are artists who had their own positions with respect to the communist period and to how art was made then... Viewers will follow how they thought through their work and will succumb to their creative attitudes.
The search for 'art clues' about the private person of the communist period produced four thematic fields, roughly represented as dyads: transport-city, window-contemplation, household-holiday and childhood-guilt.
The exhibition is part of The Other Eye, the long-term series the gallery has undertaken to present and socialise the abundance and variety of its art assembly as seen through the eyes of non-artist intellectuals.
The accompanying catalogue, in Bulgarian and English, features essays by the curators and plates of the selected artworks.
The project is made possible with support from the Ministry of Culture, Sofia Municipality's Kultura programme and Aurubis Bulgaria AD.
'The Afternoon of an Ideology' opens at 6 pm on 16 September and will be on view through 27 November 2016.
26 July 2016 - 14 August 2016
Back in 1997, an exhibition presenting Armenian Artists in Bulgaria was shown in the halls of the Sofia City Art Gallery (SCAG). It was the result of the research efforts of curators Adelina Filleva and Olympia Nikolova.
The retrospective exhibition of Bedig Bedrossian, currently on display at the gallery, is a natural continuation of the same initiative, as well as of the SCAG’s strategy to present visual stories about not-so-famous, marginalized and disremembered persons, whose oeuvre however is part and parcel of the overall artistic landscape of this country.
Guided by their researchers' creed that any art deprived of its creator’s personality is mute, the exhibition's curators Plamen Petrov and Ramona Dimova offer to the audience a visual story not just about the artist, by way of his secular and religious paintings, drawings, cartoons, and caricatures, but also about the man Bedig Bedrossian. This life story ranges from his literary attempts, written in both Romanian and Armenian, to the documentary narrative about his life course.
Last but not least, the Wharfs exhibition, even though revealing the individual creative world of an artist, whose creative period lasted from 1944 to 1989, provides actually an opportunity to give a new meaning to certain concepts that have left a profound mark on the historical narrative about our recent past. That is precisely why the exposition is not just the fulfilled mission of his heirs, nor is it the fruition of some sort of resurrection of a wandering artist from Armenia. It allows the audience to encounter works of art, in which their author materialized his own quests for justice and not for the objectivity surrounding him.
BEDIG BEDROSSIAN was born in 1912 in the village of Sredishte (Silistra Province) into a family of Armenian refugees. When he was just seven years old, his family settled in the city of Silistra, where he received his entire education. In 1930, he graduated from the city’s Romanian Secondary School for Boys. His friendship with the painter Todor Dobrudzhanski played an important role in the formation of the artist Bedig Bedrossian.
In 1941, Bedig Bedrossian painted the icons and the murals inside the dome of the ‘Surp Asdvadzadzin’ (Holy Mother of God) Armenian fane in Silistra, whose foundations date back to 1611, thus rendering it one of the oldest Armenian spiritual centers in this country.
Following the political changes, which swept across the country after September 1944, the artist worked actively in the field of film posters. At the same time, he did not remain indifferent to the typical visual agitation and propaganda posters of that era. Bedig Bedrossian’s first solo exhibition premiered at the city gallery of Silistra in the early 1950s. In 1967 he was awarded the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Third class.
At the end of 1969, he travelled to Armenia, where he created a cycle of landscape paintings titled ‘Armenia’. The landscapes were shown in various collective and solo exhibitions. Many of his works, created while he was living in his family’s native land, were left behind there as a donation. Some of them are kept today at the National Gallery of Armenia in Yerevan. In 1980, at the initiative of the ‘Yerevan’ Cultural and Educational Organization in Bulgaria, the artist mounted a sizeable solo exhibition at the Central Military Club in Sofia.
Bedig Bedrossian passed away on June 20, 1989 in Silistra. His complete oeuvre includes over 600 artworks, consisting of oil paintings, drawings, caricatures, and sketches. The vast majority of those are well-preserved. Other works have been tracked down, restored and shown in various exhibitions.
Paintings and drawings by Bedig Bedrossian are in the possession of the city art galleries of Silistra, Tutrakan, Dobrich, Varna, Plovdiv, and Pazardzhik, the Sofia City Art Gallery, and the ‘13 Centuries of Bulgaria’ National Endowment Fund, while others are held in various public and private collections both in this country and abroad, including Germany, France, Russia, Romania, and Armenia.
The exhibition includes works of art from the art collections of the National Art Gallery of Sofia, the Art Gallery of Silistra, the ‘Boris Georgiev’ City Art Gallery of Varna, the City Art Gallery of Plovdiv, the ‘Stanislav Dospevski’ Art Gallery of Pazardzhik, the Art Gallery of Dobrich, the Art Gallery of Tutrakan, the Armenian church board of trustees at the ‘Surp Asdvadzadzin’ (Holy Mother of God) Armenian church in Silistra, the Armenian Cultural and Information Centre in Plovdiv, as well as from private art collections.
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