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.
Exhibition of the BAZA Award for contemporary art nominees:
21 June 2016 - 17 July 2016
The exhibition of the nominees, as every year, is the final stage of the completion for awarding the most sustainable and popular award for young visual artists in Bulgaria. Its aim is to present the work of those, who are chosen to compete for residency at Residency Unlimited, New York.
According to the already well-known competition rules, the first stage is application with portfolios, and the nominees are presented in a joint exhibition. A winner is chosen on the day of its opening. The residency in New York, which is financed by Trust for Mutual Understanding, has duration of two months.
In the ninth release of the BAZA Award among the five authors nominated Stanimir Genov, Boryana Petkova, and Dimitar Shopov are nominated for the first time. Kalina Terzieva participates for the second time, and for Albena Baeva this is the third nomination.
At the exhibition will be presented their new works – painting, drawings, installations, objects, and performance.
On the day of the opening the audience will have the opportunity to see a performance, which is part of a project by Dimitar Shopov. It will be carried out on June 21 at 2 pm within the exhibition. The opening and the announcing of the winner is at 6 pm.
BAZA award winners so far are: Rada Bukova (2008), Samuil Stoyanov (2009), Anton Terziev (2010), Vikenti Komitski (2011), Leda Ekimova (2012), Kiril Kuzmanov (2013), Zoran Georgiev (2014), and Aleksandra Chaushova (2015).
The BAZA award winner for 2016 is Dimitar Shopov
BETWEEN THE MODERN AND THE CANON
07 June 2016 - 14 August 2016
The exhibition is dedicated to the 120th. anniversary of the birth of the great artist Tsanko Lavrenov (1896–1978). The initiator of the celebration was the Tsanko Lavrenov Foundation, while the project was realised by Sofia City Art Gallery, the Tsanko Lavrenov Foundation and the City Art Gallery – Plovdiv, under the patronage of Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia. This retrospective exposition includes artworks from the collections of state and municipal museums and galleries in the country, the largest being that of the Plovdiv City Art Gallery, with 65 paintings. The other collection of significant size is that of the Tsanko Lavrenov Foundation. Private collectors have also contributed. After the latest major exhibition at the National Gallery in 2002, this is the first comprehensive exhibition, which will, in a novel way, acquaint the audience with the oeuvre of one of the most interesting figures in Bulgarian art.
The exhibition includes over 300 artworks, whether paintings, drawings, graphic art, or applied art projects. It is a conceptually ambitious project aimed at presenting Tsanko Lavrenov’s art in its completeness and entirety—from his very early works to his final composition. Its realisation is achieved through a thorough examination of the personal archive of the artist, which is now available for publication for the first time. The rich documentary section is integrated with the pictorial material. The exhibition, based on a detailed study of Lavrenov’s biography, will reveal to the audience hitherto unknown aspects of the artist’s oeuvre. These include his first attempts at art dating back to his school years, and newly discovered works from his ‘modernist’ years with a focus on his formative period during his studies in Vienna (1920–1922). For the first time, Tsanko Lavrenov will also be presented in the context of the 1920s and 1930s, through his contacts with his close friends, the Plovdiv artists, such as Danail Dechev, Vitko Babakov, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Vasil Barakov, David Peretz, and Vladimir Rilski, whose works are also on display in the exhibition. Lavrenov’s artworks in the sphere of illustration and applied graphic art, unknown until now, are a veritable discovery. Visitors will also have the opportunity to once again remind themselves of familiar symbolic paintings, such as ‘The Old Plovdiv’ of 1930, which has not been displayed to the public for years. Other iconic exemplars include ‘Poet and Nature’, ‘Kurshum Inn in Plovdiv’, ‘Hilandar Monastery’, and ‘A Little Night Music in the Old Plovdiv’, among others.
‘Between the Modern and the Canon’ is an attempt to break the stereotypes in the concepts concerning the artist. Beyond the conservative image primarily associated with his paintings from the cycle, ‘The Old Plovdiv’, and the native theme, Tsanko Lavrenov is multifaceted in the various forms of his pursuit of the modern. Beyond the canon, which he created for himself in search of an original personal style, beyond the boundaries of the conception that modelled him, in search of an ‘art national in spirit’, he was always sensitive to the novel. His oeuvre, especially in the 1930s, represents a major contribution to the modern appearance of Bulgarian painting of the first half of the twentieth century.
The exhibition was organised by the National Art Gallery, the National History Museum, Sofia History Museum, the National Museum of Literature, Ancient Plovdiv Municipal Institute, Boris Georgiev Art Gallery – Varna, Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery – Gabrovo, Art Gallery – Kazanlak, Kiril Petrov Art Gallery – Montana, Iliya Petrov Art Gallery – Razgrad, Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery – Sliven, Art Gallery – Silistra, City Atanas Sharenkov Art Gallery – Haskovo, Faculty of Theology at Sofia University ‘St. Kliment Ohridski’, Art Gallery ‘Svetlin Rusev Donation Collection’ – Pleven, Allianz Bulgaria Collection, Dimitar Indjov Collection, and private collections.
After its showing in Sofia, the exhibition will be displayed at the Art Gallery – Plovdiv.
WHITE. WHITE. WHITE
12 May 2016 - 12 June 2016
The exhibition is among the events featured in the program of Sofia Paper Art Fest 2016. For the sixth consecutive year, the AMATERAS Foundation is presenting paper artworks at various galleries in Sofia. The motto of this year’s festival is “TRANSFORMATION IN PAPER”, which will be the common thread running through the various actions included in the event.
The SCAG exhibition presents paper artworks by Bulgarian and foreign artists whose efforts focused on the idea of the color white as a means of conveying visual effects, aesthetical suggestions and spiritual messages.
Paper is the favorite material of many artists who see its great potential for diversity of expression. Various techniques and treatment approaches reveal its potential for plasticity, change of volume and movement. Paper is tender, vulnerable and gentle, yet also rough, tough, hard. Multi-ply or transparent, of various texture, relief or shape, paper offers an endless variety of structures, spaces and states.
The color white which is a symbol of purity, spirituality and perfection is particularly expressive considering the specificity of paper. In contrast to the complicated and tense relations in today’s world, the exhibition introduces viewers to a world of gentle silence, an exquisite game, contemplation and spiritual realization.
Exhibition participants include Angiola Churchill, Margareta Mannervik, Jimmy Pulli, Ayako Abe-Miller, Daniela Todorova, Yoshio Hasegawa, Valentin Balev, Yuko Nishimura, Ina Damyanova, Ragnhildur Stefansdottir, Renata Girlero and Atanas Mihalchev.
The exhibition program also features a lecture by Galina Gerasimova on 19 May, a video lecture about the magic of the BUDO theater, and a performance on 25 May.
IN THE LABELLING GAP
05 April 2016 - 08 May 2016
The exhibition introduces group of Bulgarian artists, who tend to be grouped in an imprecisely defined professional category, according to their year of birth. The generation aged between 35 and 45 years no longer meets the definition of ‘young authors’, but it is too early for these artists to be labelled as ‘advanced’. Therefore, this age group is often deprived of application opportunities for residence, competitions, funding programmes, etc., even their participation in exhibitions is under question.
25 March 2016 - 06 April 2016
The exhibition presents Ivan Mudov’s latest works, which again and again face us with the (eternal) questions of what art is and what powers of impact it employs, does art establish connections or does it provoke reactions, where is art positioned in society… The entire artistic work is sprinkled with a considerable amount of irony, which doesn’t spare you the judgement of the ‘artist’s persona’, and of the work of art’s authorship and uniqueness.
The artist continues to surprise the viewer with his mixture of art-cocktails, which contain astonishing ingredients; again, he does not meet the audience’s traditional expectations and subjects its habits to suspicion. He uses a range of expressions and demonstrates his liberal outlook with both the traditional styles of artistic work and with the new technologies and techniques, which are particularly popular nowadays.
Ivan Mudov is one of the most active Bulgarian artists within his generation. He has an impressive biography of exhibition shows and individual displays with the most renowned art institutions around the world. Irrespective of the fact that most of his large-scale projects were accomplished abroad (unfortunately), those familiar to the Bulgarian audience range amongst the brightest manifestations of contemporary art. Among these we can list ‘Fragments’ (2002), an impressive collection of the world’s contemporary art ‘pieces’, created from amassed stolen parts of the works of famous artists, as well as the staging-up of the ‘official opening’ of a Museum of Modern Art in the building of the Poduene Railway Station, MUSIZ (2005), the provocative simulation of the construction of a business building resembling the demolished Mausoleum of Georgi Dimitrov and located on the same site (2012). These do not merely represent some of the most interesting achievements of modern Bulgarian art, but they also contribute to shaping the audience’s frame of mind and its perceptive attitudes.
Curator: Yara Bubnova
Ivan Mudov was born in 1975, he graduated from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. The list of some of his individual exhibitions includes: Certificate of Authenticity, Tranzitdisplay, Prague,
Turbo Conceptualism, Kunstverein Milano, Milan
Certificate of Authenticity, Tobacna 001 Cultural Centre, Ljubljana, Air Drawing Contest, MUMOK, Vienna
“Stones”, Casa Cavazzini Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Udine, Performing Time”, prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan
The Glory Hole, Alberta Pane Gallery, Paris, France, 2012; %, W139, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2011; Wine to discover, Zürich, Switzerland, 2010; Ivan Mudov, Binz 39, Zürich, Switzerland, 2010; Trick or Treat, Kunstverein Braunschweig, Braunschweig, Germany, 2008; The 1st at Moderna: Ivan Moudov, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2008. Mudov participated in the 52nd Venice Biennale, Italy, 2007, in the 1st Moscow Biennale, 2005, as well as in the Manifesta 4, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 2002. Selected participations in group exhibitions: OFF- Biennale, Budapest; Grammar Of Freedom / Five Lessons: Works From Arteast 2000+ Collection, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Cote Interieur, Tiroler kunstlerschaft – Kunstpavillion, Innsbruck; Unexpected Encounters, Camera Austria, Graz; The Intransigent Ticket - The Artist as a Filter", Fine Arts Gallery, California State University; Doppio Gioco – Double Game The Ambiguity of the Photographic Image, Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice, Italy, 2012; Rearview Mirror: New Art from Central & Eastern Europe, Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2012; Site Inspection – The Museum on the Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, 2011; Beziehungsarbeit - Kunst und Institution, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna, 2011, etc. Mudov was awarded with scholarships by the resident programmes AIR by BINZ 39, Zürich, Switzerland, 2009; KulturKontakt, Vienna, 2008; Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany, 2008; Recollets, Paris, 2006, etc.
In 2006 he won the Young European Artist Award Trieste Contemporanea, and in 2010, he received the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award for contemporary Bulgarian art in the Advanced Artists Category.
FORMS OF RESISTANCE 1944 - 1985
02 March 2016 - 26 May 2016
SILENT IMAGE AND BLIND TEXT
25 February 2016 - 23 March 2016
Research of the relation between text and its presence in world art has remained quite fragmentary. The first attempt at such a study, which also seems to be the only one, is the “Important Message” project, presented at the SCAG in 2006 by Maria Vasileva and Daniela Radeva, who focused on the use of text in Bulgarian art between the late 1980’s and 2006. Yet it is a fact that text has had a place in paintings by Bulgarian artists since as early as the 19th century. Therefore the “Silent Image and Blind Text” exhibition focusing on text and its place in Bulgarian visual arts over the period after 1856 is not just a follow-up to the “Important Message” project, but also an attempt at a comprehensive study of the relation between text and image in Bulgarian art –from the first secular 19th century paintings through to the most recent artistic output of the 21st century. What is more, the exhibition offers an approach to systematizing the physical presence of text in visual art, focusing on four major thematic units, namely “Descriptive text”, “Text and being”, “Intentionality of text”, and “Triumph of text”.
This project is an attempt at an overview of the physical presence of text (even its markers) in Bulgarian visual arts, where “text“ shall denote not only a group of written words and sentences, but also isolated words, syllables, letter and number graphemes. The exhibition features more than 120 works by artists including Nikolay Pavlovich, Stanislav Dospevski, Anton Mitov, Ivan Markvichka, Nikola Petrov, Ivan MIlev, Nikolay Raynov, Boris Georgiev, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Galin Mlakchev, Georgi Bozhilov – Slona, Tekla Alexieva, Rumen Gasharov, Andrey Daniel, Nedko Solakov, Lachezar Boyadzhev, Ventsislav Zankov, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Krasimir Krastev – Rassim, Boryana Dragoeva – Rossa, Sasho Stoitsov, etc. Thus the exhibition allows viewers and researchers to follow the relation between text and image, and the shape it took over various historical periods, as well as to look at the whole variety of opportunities afforded to Bulgarian artists by the love and discord between text and image. Sometimes the relation appears surprisingly close, while other times it is unexpectedly distant.
The exhibition features works from the collections of the National Art Gallery, the National Academy of Fine Arts, the “Ivan Vazov” National Theater, the National Museum of Church History and Archaeology, the Union of Bulgarian Artists, the Sofia History Museum, the Plovdiv City Art Gallery, the “Vladimir Dimitrov – the Master” Kyustendil City Art Gallery, the Blagoevgrad Museum of Regional History, the “Dimitar Dobrovich” Sliven City Art Gallery, the “Nikolay Pavlovich” Svistov City Art Gallery, the “George Papazov” Yambol City Art Gallery, the “Svetlin Rusev” Atelier-Collection, and private collectors.
Curatorial project of Plamen V. Petrov and Ramona Dimova
08 December 2015 - 14 February 2016
Creative artistic longevity is not a very rare occurrence. But you don’t bump often into a situation where a well-known book illustrator who has shaped the visual and typographic equivalent of hundreds of oeuvres of world literature and has built his own pictorial and spiritual bridge to the writers of those books would embark on a backwards journey to the illustrations he had created half a century earlier.
The images of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper and Treasure Island are just a three of the multitude of well-remembered and easily distinguishable book illustrations that Lyuben Zidarov had done during the 60ies and the 70ies for a great number of clas-sical young readers’ novels like H.C. Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Arabian Nights, The Count of Monte Cristo, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Tales of E. T. A. Hoffmann or Nikolay Raynov, the adventure stories of Karl May, Mayne Reid or Jules Verne.
2014 and 2015 saw a new interest of Lyuben Zidarov in his old illustrations for Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper and Treasure Island by in accepting the self-challenge of drawing updated versions of these popular images by way of upholding the original visualized moments and their outlines. The difference lies in what is the most essential content of an illustration: the attitude of the illustrator towards the story and its protagonists. This is achieved by Zidarov through the use of an enhanced palette on one side and most profoundly through his artistic innovations made possible by the decades of acquired professional mastery coupled with the wisdom of old age. At the end of this road one finds a unique amalgam between the art of book illustration and the art of painting.
The exhibition Treasure Island Half a Century Later is putting on display all the original new illustrations for the three abovementioned novels alongside reproductions of a num-ber of their earlier versions some of those 50 years of age now. The fourth book on show bear an intrinsic cohesion with R. S. Stevenson’s classic buccaneer epic Treasure Island, namely its sequel Silver, written nowadays by an acclaimed contemporary author – the for Poet Laureate of Great Britain Andrew Motion.
As it has become apparent that Stevenson’s Treasure Island retains a special place as the in Lyuben Zidarov’s artistic biography and a focal point of the whole show, the exhibi-tion has been supplemented by a small documental part exploring the history of illustrat-ing the famous novel. There are also a number of reproductions from its first British and American editions from the 1880ies.
The new Bulgarian editions of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper and Treasure Island were published by Zaharij Stoyanov Publishing House while Silver was printed by another publisher - Prozoretz as a limited to 150 numbered copies edition, each one containing an original signed lithograph by Lyuben Zidarov. All four titles will be available to buy at the City Art Gallery’s bookstore.
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