16 November 2017 - 10 December 2017
Curator: Daniela Radeva
In its final edition for 2017, the Meeting Point Programme of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery presents the newest works of artist Stanimir Genov. The exhibition presents a comprehensive project under the general title Bouquet. It brings together paintings created over the last year which will be shown for the first time.
10 October 2017 - 29 October 2017
The first solo exhibition of Radostin Sedevchev is presented within the Meeting Point platform for young artists and contemporary art
Curator: Vladiya Mihaylova
The exhibition of the works by Radostin Sedevchev enters an insufficiently explored territory of art in Bulgaria. It is the artistic work with documents and the comprehending of documents’ connection to the past and to the possible new viewpoints in the present. The exhibited works have been created in the course of the past one year and provide a new perspective on the attitudes toward memory and present-day relevance.
Anything may be perceived as a document by the artist: any casual object, any note may become a basis from which a certain narrative or story can be developed. Thus the exhibited works are based on objects, images, texts and other “things” found at the flea market or thrown away, which people regard as useless: old photographs and postcards, a birth certificate, an on tick notebook, etc. The artist re-paints, enhances, colours, composes, frames these needed-by-nobody remnants, thereby making them not simply works of art but anonymous micro stories of different people’s lives.
These would be unknown people, engaged in various trivial everyday activities, which Radostin Sedevchev reveals to the audience as seen through his own eyes. The major story and the important, common-scale re-reading of the past is absent from the exhibition. Instead, the artist engages in the the continuous scrutiny of the minor and insignificant, which everyone can understand and interpret on their own.
As he asserts a certain direction and style of work in his first solo exhibition, the artist also sends out a message of an ethical aspect. It is not a statement, it does not have an ideological or edifying connotation, but is related to the simple gesture of looking back to the past in a human dimension.
Radostin Sedevchev (b. 1988) works and lives in Sofia. He graduated from the National Academy of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he earned his Bachelor degree in Mural Painting in 2012, and Master degree in 2014. He specialized at the Glyndŵr Universityof Wales in the UK in 2011, and at the University of Fine Art (HfBK) in Dresden, Germany, in 2017. The artist uses various media, and the general approach in his work is to use discovered images, archival documents, books and objects. His artistic quest is mostly focused on memory and not simply by documenting a series of memories or situations but by examining the mentality of the phenomenon, the compression and decompression of memories, mistakes and inconsistencies in them. “Unforeseeable Past” is his first solo exhibition.
07 September 2017 - 30 September 2017
Architects, sculptors and visual artists add reality by intervention in Zaimov Park
Projects by Blagica Zdravkovska, Stanislava Ivanova, Liliya Kalcheva, Ivaylo Hristov
Curator Pravdoliub Ivanov
With the special participation of Destructive Creation
On September 7th at 18:00 hrs, in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery in Sofia the results of this year's Endeavours educational programme will be presented, as well as an exhibition of artist Pravdolyub Ivanov, leader of the workshop on the agenda. This year, the participants in the programme - Blagica Zdravkovska, Stanislava Ivanova, Liliya Kaltcheva, Ivaylo Hristov, worked on the topic of "Addition of Reality", their object of interpretation being the realities of Zaimov Park in their entirety.
On the walls of the gallery, Pravdoliub Ivanov will present an interesting approach to the workshop format, in which the process, rather than the result, is of the highest importance. There will be displayed objects and written evidence documenting the process in the workshop – the communication between artists, models of the works, objects from their meetings and photographs. As part of the exhibition there will be also included a sociological observation of Zaimov Park, made by Bozhidar Ivanov and Nevena Germanova.
In the last week of the exhibition, from September 22nd to September 30th, the visitors to Zaimov Park will be able to see the result of the “addition of reality”. The results of the students’ works interpret several objects of the public space reality in Zaimov Park – a specific tree in an appearance which cannot be seen in reality; the gallery as a trap and the trap as a gallery; a sculpture that has undergone deformation through the years. Visiting artists to the exhibition are Destructive Creations whose presentation will hold a surprise even for the organizers.
The workshop is part of the research initiative “Art in public space: what, where, how, who, why” aimed at bringing attention to the subject of art in public space and its social and cultural mission. At a special event in October the initiative will present aspects of how art can be part of the life in an urban environment, what possibilities exist to create and display art in the open spaces of Sofia and how that would influence the aesthetic environment of the city and its inhabitants.
The research will try to highlight the role of projects of this kind and work to clarify, enhance the visibility and ease the manner in which they are initiated, communicated and administered. Definitions, analyses of possible spaces and audiences, as well as clear mechanisms for administering, promoting and raising public understanding of art in public space will be proposed.
The Art in Public Space – What, Where, How, Who, Why project is implemented with the financial support of Sofia Municipality, The Europe 2017 Program, by Studio ProJectirane in partnership with Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, a branch of Sofia City Art Gallery.
Ivan Penkov – People and Portraits
06 July 2017 - 31 August 2017
Prof. Milena Georgieva is the curator of the exhibition
The Sofia City Art Gallery marks 120 years since Ivan Penkov’s birth by a camera exhibition of the artist’s portrait sketches and drawings. Arranged by topic and chronology, the exhibition shows more than 140 works that are shown publicly for the first time. They are part of Ivan Penkov’s artistic archive and have been carefully preserved by his children Boyan and Johny Penkovi in their private collection.
The drawing is usually considered a supporting genre that captures the artistic idea. In this sense, it carries the intimacy and novelty of the first experience of nature, people and objects. When an artist like Ivan Penkov is gifted with the ability to capture instantly a person’s nature, and the hand in turn immediately puts it on paper, the result is a discerning portrait. Sometimes this image has been carried for years, has taken shape through lasting friendships or fleeting sympathies, and has gone through psychological and moral judgments in order to be materialised by a carefully selected graphic technique – pencil, India ink, drawing charcoal, and distemper.
The drawing in Ivan Penkov’s works carries an individual philosophy. For him it is both soul and prayer, while the portrait drawing is an experiment in contemplating about the person posing but also an attempt to capture the actual realities and details through the image. The exhibition introduces us to his portrait works from various years, and to his fellow artists, close friends, and interesting personalities that Penkov particularly valued. The two Bohemian albums “produced” in Munich and Sofia for his friends and many self-portrait sketches are shown for the first time – a life balance at the end of his road but also an opportunity for formal experiments.
The Sofia City Art Gallery would like to thank Georgi (Johny) Penkov for his commitment to the exhibition, as well as to the artist’s grandson Ivan Penkov for his support with the preparation of the exhibition.
06 June 2017 - 25 June 2017
The first solo exhibition of Anton Tsanev is shown within the framework of the Contemporary Sculpture programme of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery. Curator: Vladiya Mihaylova
Refraction is a term in physics, which refers to the change in the direction of waves. In optics, this means the deflection of light beams as they pass from one optic medium to another. Anton Tsanev borrows the term and relates it to a large range of questions on how ideas are formed and how they incorporate into objects.
The exhibition features three works: Prometheus (2012 – 2017), Cow (2014–2017) and Letters (2016–2017), presented as installations of various components in space. Each of them includes the physical position of the spectator as an immediate observer who is present at the spot. The artist explores and rationalizes basic concepts of the history of art, such as perspective, creation of form, composition. He refers to Plato’s philosophy of the eidoses – those trans-celestial ideas that possess form and are reflected in the earthly things; he draws inspiration from Indian beliefs and symbolic images, from Chinese medicine as well as modern science. His work involves a process of study and numerous experiments in which he uses diverse materials: paper, fabrics, tow, plaster, gravel, and art mediums: drawings, sculptures, video.
The artist’s work represents a reflection on the foundations and beginnings, the fundamentals of art that are part of not only the academic education but also of the adopted concepts and "laws" of art in the Western world. Going back to the philosophy of the eidoses, Anton Tsanev deals with a specific series of refraction points: how ideas acquire a form, how forms become works of art, how works of art form a space, etc.
Anton Tsanev (born 1983) earned a degree in Ecology and Environmental Protection from the University of Forestry, Sofia, following which he completed the Master’s Programme in Sculpture – Shape and Movement in the class of Prof. Emil Popov at the National Academy of Art. He engaged in urban ecology involving urban environment observation. As an artist, he mainly works with sculpture, which he explores and considers in terms of the object-subject-environment interrelations. Anton Tsanev participated in the Transform exhibition in 2012 in Thessaloniki, as well as in exhibitions organized by Prof. Emil Popov. Together with Miroslav Hristov, Marina Zheleva, Rada Mateva and Lidiya Kamenova (the Plus Association) he implemented the multimedia project City Portrait for the Otets Paisiy Street Festival of the Open Arts Foundation, Plovdiv, and participated in the Night/Plovdiv event in 2012 and 2014. Anton Tsanev created and exhibited projects of his own in two successive years (2015 and 2016) in the workshops and exhibitions held within the framework of the Endeavours educational program for contemporary culture and architecture of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery and Studio ProJectirane at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy. Refraction is his first solo exhibition.
The Image is no Longer Available
02 May 2017 - 28 May 2017
31 March 2017 - 23 April 2017
Inspired by the autumn stubble-fields, Elena Yanevska’s work Fields represents a sculptural installation which takes most of the space in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery.
The artist experiments with the surroundings and with the traditional approach to the sculptural form. She does not exhibit individual objects but rather unfolds her work into the space thereby imparting the sense of infinity. Where the fields of charcoal and wooden pegs begin or end is indefinable, they combine materials with diverse properties, and the work is both fragmentary and austere.
The young artist continues the Bulgarian artistic tradition of working with natural materials and thinking of nature in terms of a harmonious relationship with the human world. The natural is that cosmic dimension which sets the rhythm, cycle and authenticity of living.
Elena Yanevska (b. 1985) lives and works in Sofia. In 2010 she earned a master’s degree in Sculpture at the National Academy of Art, in the class of Associate Professor Tsvetoslav Hristov – Tsupi. Since then, she has been taking part in group exhibitions in Sofia, Plovdiv and other cities across the country, and likewise in Istanbul, Belgium, New Zealand, France, etc. Her solo shows have taken place within the National Autumn Exhibitions Removed Systems in 2014 in Plovdiv, with curator Galina Lardeva, the exhibition Sculpture and Photography at the GEDOK Art Gallery, Munich, Germany, as well as the exhibitions Concept Seasons (2012) and Foliage (2010) at the Mission Gallery, the State Cultural Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her works are owned by the National Art Gallery, Sofia, the City Art Gallery of Plovdiv; Societe Generale Expressbank, the Union of Bulgarian Artists, the Georgi Voynov Collection.
01 March 2017 - 26 March 2017
Odd connections between distant themes, gigantic steps and leaps in space, assumptions, scientific facts and artistic manipulations are awaiting the spectators of Dimitar Solakov’s exhibition 4 Projects, work on which has been ongoing for two years now. The exhibition offers a diversity of images incompatible at first sight. Such is the image of transformation from plankton to oil. Also, a fully realizable possibility for becoming wealthy overnight, a new audio work, and a self-portrait with a look toward the Andromeda Galaxy. The distance between the themes of the four projects is as enormous as the one between the space objects involved.
Furthermore, dedicated additional references give the works the appearance of branching subjects for discussion. The artist has implied diverging meanings to the images and their names. Home Address, for example, is about sending information into space, and the work with the healthy-sounding title Getting Back in Shape is in fact relevant to ecology issues. Or to strictly artistic problems with form – this is yet another discernible argumentation, should we take a closer look at the 4 Projects, should we perceive them as a composition of raining or hailing forms, landscapes and orientation instructions to the landscapes. Even the image of the idea of a far-away journey itself is here.
In the exhibition, the spectator keeps stumbling into tactics designed to complicate the notion of differences in scale and inter-object dimensions, not simply literally at that – travelling the world seems to be not quite so interesting to contemporary artists any more. Apparently, Dimitar Solakov simulates the feeling of being comfortable and no stranger not merely in the world, but in the Universe. Why not pretend one goes diamond hunting? Or, why not be able to take a selfie by looking at oneself not from the side, but directly from space.
Dimitar Solakov (b. 1987) graduated from the New Bulgarian University in Sofia from the Department of Photography. The artist is mainly using the media of photography and video, although recently he has begun to include drawings in his installations. In his work he is investigating various types of connections – between nature, urbanization and the human placed in the middle; between the past and its interpretations in the present. The works could be either very personal or completely detached from the position of the distanced observer. His works have been shown in numerous international shows some of which are: “What is Left”, (Veinna, Austria), “The Pleasures of Love” (Belgrade, Serbia), “The Power of Doubt” Times Museum (Guangzhou, China), Bienal de Cuenca XI (Cuenca, Ecuador), PHotoEspaña (Madrid, Spain), GRID Photographie Biennal (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, “Ritual Of The Habitual” (Plovdiv, Bulgaria), Sofia Contemporary (Sofia, Bulgaria), “All I Can Do Is Art” (Prague, Czech Republic), 56th October Salon (Belgrade, Serbia), “What Is Left?” (Vienna, Austria). He has had one-person shows in: Vivacom ArtHall (Sofia, Bulgaria), Incubate (Tilburg, The Netherlands), Sariev Contemporary (Plovdiv, Bulgaria), 0gms (Sofia). His first solo exhibition Youth was arranged at Vaska Emanouilova Gallery too, in 2010. - http://www.dimitarsolakov.com/Dimitar_Solakov.html
TERRITORIES OF SIGHT
15 December 2016 - 22 February 2017
An exhibition presenting works by Magda Abazova, Dimiter Bouyukliyski, Stela Vasileva, Peter Dochev, Ivan Kirkov, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Georgi Mashev, Orlin Nedelchev, Stanislav Pamukchiev, Sirma Sarafova, Kalin Serapionov, Dinko Stoev, Sasho Stoizov, Maria Stolarova, Krassimir Terziev. Curators are Borislava Vartova, Dobromira Terpesheva, Eva Maria Ivanova, Elica Stoyanova, Melisa Arif, Rosena Ivanova.
The city is among the most popular topics in Bulgarian art: from the early landscapes of growing Sofia in the beginning of the 20th century, through the industrial and social development of the city, the everyday life during socialism, to the neo-capitalist city of luring images and displacements in the works of Luchezar Boyadjiev.
Curated by a team of undergraduate students in Art Studies and Art Management at New Bulgarian University, under the supervision of the philosopher Boyan Manchev, this exhibition presents a different perspective to the city space. Economy, anthropology and memory are left in the background, and the city-scheme or map is highlighted; not its geographical image, but the abstraction which transforms it into an infinite drawing, a rhythm of colours, lines, lights, shadows and/or gaps, white fields, featureless spaces.
Working mainly with the collection of works of Sofia City Art Gallery, and having attracted artists like Kalin Serapionov, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Krassimir Terziev, Stela Vasileva, the young curators explore the directions of sight, as well as the relationships between subjects and objects. They are interested in the imaginary image of space, its completeness and utopian nature that make it a place beyond time, as if seen from outer space. Thereby the city becomes a global, ever-lasting modernity, in which different times and historical periods coexist. The from the top perspective in the exhibition is opposed also to the sight through perspective, where visible become the white fields, the dark gaps, and the glittering artificiality of fragmented space which is driven by the internal forces of entropy and ongoing disintegration.
The exhibition includes early works, among which: “Yana’s nine brothers” by Georgi Mashev, contemporary artists like Peter Dochev, Dinko Stoev, Ivan Kirkov, the dense-coloured object-abstract paintings of Dimiter Bouyukliyski, works by Stanislav Pamukchiev, Magda Abazova, Sirma Sarafova, Maria Stolarova. They are displayed alongside works of contemporary artists like Sasho Stoitzov, Orlin Nedelchev, et al.
The exhibition project is initiated by Boyan Manchev, Prof. Ph.D. and Vladiya Mihaylova, curator, and is implemented under their supervision by the student curators’ team.
10 November 2016 - 11 December 2016
A solo exhibition within the framework of the Meeting Point Platform for contemporary art and young artists.
Everyone has their own comfort zone which would sometimes be associated with positive feelings and in other instances with the loneliness, anger, discontent, the sense of guilt or anxiety, etc. In the exhibition of Alexander Gerginov, the comfort zones are those implicit personal altars where hope and faith intertwine with obsession and fear of allowing freedom in life and letting go of the things which are leaving us.
The exhibition features photographs, objects and installations, each of which is a form of confiding in one’s own self and in others. The works are accompanied by a short text, which relates a personal story but also addresses the audience. The places and images that inspire the artist spread from the fields of his hometown Elin Pelin all the way to the largest church dedicated to Virgin Mary in Rome, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. Part of them are real, others are imaginary or metaphorical, as the Cambodian temple shown in the Wong Kar-Wai’s film In the Mood for Love, where people can go and tell their deepest secrets in hollows in the wall and then seal them forever. Created of light materials, lying on the borderline of kitsch, and charged with a dose of irony for the sentimentality, the works test the spectators’ “taste” and ideas of “beautiful” and “ugly”. Through the use of shining fabrics, cement, and photos taken with a phone, the artist seeks to find authenticity and resemblance to life rather than aesthetic perfection. The hair used as a material in the exhibition, as well as the markedly personal attitude of the artist, are related to the common idea of a human world, of a "spiritual" DNA which all people share and which is not a matter of mysticism but of attention to the personal space (the comfort zone, the individual altar) of each one of us.
Alexander Gerginov (born 1980) lives and works in Sofia. He graduated in Fashion from the National Academy of Art, where in 2015 he defended a PhD thesis on the history of fashion illustration in Bulgaria. He teaches fashion and develops his own brand HAM&EGGS. Along with that, he has also other artistic participations; he creates mostly drawings and paintings, and has had four solo exhibitions shown in the Pistolet Gallery in the period from 2008 to 2011. The artist has participated in various group exhibitions in Sofia, Austria, Prague, such as the Third International Biennial for Young Art in Moscow (2012) and the exhibition They Will Remember Us in the Future within the Sofia Queer Forum – Sweet Union 2015, Academy Gallery, National Academy of Art (2015).
EXPLOITING THE ERASED IMAGE
06 October 2016 - 06 November 2016
Martin Penev is an artist whose approach is not confined to a particular media or art. He employs new technologies the same way as he works with sculpture, found or appropriated objects, drawings, or goes beyond visual arts, seeking to experiment with the language of dance, theatre and performance. Beyond the wide diversity of means of expression lays the interest in the concept of a media itself, and its relationship with the images. By intuition, the artist's ideas draw nearer to the understanding of the image in Hans Belting’s visual anthropology, where the image is comprehended as a self-contained phenomenon and experiences dynamic, constantly changing attitudes toward the media (the mediator) and the body (the mind that perceives it, and its performative bodily retransmission).
The exhibition Exploiting the Erased Image outlines a field of experience which is simultaneously visual, emotional, and conceptual, and where the artist deals with the memories and the personal experience by creating various links between text, image and mediator (media). Each of the works he presents is based on something that actually happened and that was of personal meaning to him. These works, however, are abstracted from the daily flow of short-lived chats and meetings, and are transformed into little events holding the status of "documents" in which real people and situations are absent. The text in the works makes reference to the original event, while the images lead to the phantasmal timelessness of archetypal characters whose fictitiousness is enhanced by the choice of a mediator; in most cases they are placed in a virtual environment. Thus the works are in fact related much less with the event itself, which seems to have been erased, and far more with the image that it has brought into the mind of the perceiver. These are documentary fantasies, which collectively involve the spectator in a world of bizarre, strange, heterogeneous characters who "speak" in a common, daily, "human" language: objects, 3D collages, short animations, images of human bodies with horse heads, gulls, pigeons, deer, cats; talking rhinos and hippos; a gorilla tied to a post, etc. The exhibition is presented as an installation in space: an armchair, a light fixture, a small table and a bedside table with an aspirin blister are part of it. The artist uses them to “direct” certain situations and introduce us to the overall atmosphere of perception. In this context, Martin Penev’s exhibition contains, without being limited to, many elements of cinema and theatre, and it remains a comprehensive "visual production" made up of individual installations and works of art.
The artist works on the images in a way that allows him to exploit their possibilities to create shared, common meanings, beyond the absence and erasure of the real characters in the events, and despite their fantasticality and timelessness. Fantasies bring sense which has value and social merit, it is related to the public here and now – including the outcast groups, the relationships between the generations, the stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, the concepts of "good" and faith.
ENDEAVOURS 2016 The Sculptural Object as a Spectator
14 September 2016 - 02 October 2016
The idea of sculpture changes over time in the same way as does the understanding of its public and artistic functions. Over the centuries, and through the history of art, sculpture has been a ceremonial object and the means of expression of the ideals of beauty and harmony, it has served to denote the presence of gods and emperors, to decorate the palaces of aristocracy, to express the abstract ideas of the artists through its plastic form, and much more. Contemporary attitude towards sculpture is associated with perceiving all those previous meanings, but also with the conviction that sculpture exists in a network of different relationships: between object and space, spectator and work, other bodies and objects within the city. Could a sculpture be a spectator, though? Could it reflect and personify the environment in which it is located, affect or change this environment? The curator Peter Tzanev raises these issues in the exhibition at Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, as an analysis and an experiment carried out jointly with a group of students in sculpture and architecture. The young artists present their views using objects, installations, photographs, sculptures, sketches and projects for the public space. Their works explore the phenomena of war and boundaries, of abstract objects in the live, dynamic surroundings of the parks, of the anthropomorphic forms in relation to the natural materials and symbols, of the reflections of urban space. Part of the works and projects are displayed in the exhibition hall, others are arranged in the Zaimov Park. All of them represent artistic studies of the topic brought up by the curator, which experiment with our abilities to see and understand sculpture from a new perspective: not as an object of contemplation, but as an active participant, a spectator who carries the features, information noise and psychological characteristics of the dynamic modern city. On 30.09., at 7 p.m. in the space of Studio ProJectirane, a public discussion on the exhibition topics will be held with architects and artists, as well as with the participants in the exhibition. ENDEAVOURS is an annual educational programme of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery that examines sculpture in an extended scope. It deals with the issues originated by the contemporary dynamic urban environment, studies the relations of sculpture with architecture and urbanism, and explains the influence of the economic, social and cultural processes on the shapes and images in the city. Lecturer / curator of the programme in 2016 is Prof. Peter Tzanev. The programme is implemented in cooperation with Studio ProJectirane architectural workshop (UACEG) and the National Academy of Art.
The Breath of Matter
05 July 2016 - 11 September 2016
The exhibition is an attempt to present the relation between material-work of art in sculpture. At first sight, this relation probably remains overlooked, underestimated or unnoticed but it has huge significance in the realization of a work of art. The different material presents the sculptor with different opportunities for expression and sets specific limits. Through juxtaposition of well- or less-known works of art from the Sofia City Art Gallery reserve we seek contrast between the plastic and artistic dimensions, created by the different materials. The exhibited works of art focus mainly on the problems in recreating human face and figure. The chosen sculptures are made by some of the most famous names in Bulgarian art, such as Ivan Lazarov, Assen Peykov, Andrey Nikolov, Vaska Emanuilova, Lyubomir Dalchev, Krum Damyanov, Ziatin Nuriev, Thomas Kochev, Vezhdi Rashidov, Pavel Koychev, Angel Stanev, Dimitar Sotirov, Spartak Dermendzhiev, etc. 30 works of art are chosen. The exhibition could have included even more works of art, especially by adding the forms of modern art. Due to this reason, the chosen works of art sort of represent conventional, classic, canonized material – stone, bronze, wood, terracotta, etc. Avoiding the alternative to turn the exposition into a “guide in material knowledge”, the works of art included in the exhibition are chosen to represent mainly the artistic and plastic abilities of the material. The main focus of the exhibition is the semantics of the material or in other words – its significance and symbolic load defined by the connotations to periods and works of art, that are key to the history of art.
90s. The Beginning of the Myth
01 June 2016 - 26 June 2016
It seems as if the 90s were yesterday, yet now they are our past. The exhibition The 90s. The Beginning of the Myth sees them today through the eyes of the museum, the Vaska Emanouilova Gallery, not forgetting that the ‘heroes’ of that time left the then official institutions to discover horizons in the West, to look for new faces and models, to re-shape society, to fight for freedom, to fulfil the mission of educators in media, art, technology, design, fashion, music, lifestyle, and to loudly dream of change. The country opened up to the world amidst severe social re-organizations, political changes, privatization, economic crises and inflation, poverty, and daily aggression.
As it addresses that time of contrast, of creation and dissolution, The 90s.The Beginning of the Myth looks for its “romantic” heroes in the field of popular culture; those cosmopolitan events and phenomena which have expanded the concepts and habits outside the institutions. Places like the now legendary Kravai in Sofia, which in the late 1980s was the meeting venue for punks, metalheads and rebels, and the music and the “forbidden” things in terms of conduct, information and dress code united them by being their symbols of freedom and independence. Same as Coca Cola and Levi’s jeans before 1989, some of the products of popular culture during the 90s were in fact instruments of globalization. Today they stand at the dawn of lifestyle, embodying part of the strive for integration and representing a way to differentiate from the faded wanting world of (post)socialist products; but also marking the beginning of creative culture together with the foundations of modern urban living.
The exhibition represents a specific “staging” of that period, where you can remember and have a new look at the magazine of the “new generation” Egoist – the most widespread culture publication in the 90s, as well as the Spartacus mix-club, the Kalnoto punk bar, the magazines Ah, Maria, Vitamin B, and the rare publication KAMIKAZE GAZETTE. They are presented In the gallery through video-interviews with some of their creators and participants; photographs, illustrations, texts and music; visual archives, an audio recording of the reading of Egoist by the writer Stefan Ivanov, through the voice of the actress Elena Dimitrova, etc.
The 90s. The Beginning of the Myth is an exhibition that stages the archives of that time without institutionalizing them or taming them locked inside museum display cases. It is a look at the museum itself through the eyes of the 90s. As such, it includes the special visual interpretation of Vaska Emanouilova’s sculptures by the photographer Alexander Nishkov.
4 June, 5 pm to 7 pm: Discussion about the Vitamin B Magazine
11 June, 5 pm to 7 pm: Discussion about the Ah, Maria Magazine
15 June – 16 June, 10 pm to 7 am: DADA Night at Vaska Emanouilova Gallery
(Presentation of the Dadaist issue of the Literary Newspaper)
18 June, 5 pm to 7 pm: Discussion about the KAMIKADZE GAZETTE
25 June, 5 pm to 7 pm: Discussion about the Egoist Magazine
The first part of the project The 90s. The Beginning of the Myth. in 2015 was accomplished in cooperation with Dessislava Dimova and the Art - Affairs and Documents Foundation, and with the support of the Cultural Innovations Fund, Sofia Development Association. All video materials in the project have been created by Bureau Artrecord. We are opening with ABSOLUT VODKA!
15 April 2016 - 21 May 2016
„What is a contemporary sculpture” is a question with many possible answers, to which the Sculpture Programme of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery attempts to give an answer. Over the years, within the frame of the Programme exhibitions are arranged, which give meaning to the links between object and space, architectural and public environments, process and time, material and shape.
The exhibition "Unpredictable circumstances" of the young artist Stefan Ivanov offers a possible answer to today’s questions about sculpture. The artist draws inspirations from the experience of pop art, hyperrealism, ready-made and other art practices to show how autonomous and human -independent are objects in the world of today. Silver doughnuts in front of an old pink TV-set; a carp, pressed in a clamp; a distorted empty picture frame and other similar paradoxical compositions represent in fact the works included in the exhibition.
Without telling stories or building complex analytical concepts, Stefan Ivanov employs various approaches to combine the individual elements. He thinks simultaneously through the tools of painting - colours, brushstrokes, spots and of sculpture - volumes, materials, masses and forms in space. In the works, "art" and "design" merge into a shared sense of an aesthetic world in which people exist on an equal level with objects. While skilled in the expressive language of both sculpture and scenography, the artist chooses the former and leaves the viewers without a storyline or a stage.
"Unpredictable circumstances" is one of the first solo exhibitions of the artist that conveys his sense of relevance of the world, which is full today of images, shapes, colours and events. Each of the sculptures in the exhibition is associated with some action – cutting, biting, spilling, tightening, pushing, sinking – which is left unfinished. Thus, it becomes a static, "sculptural" incident.
Stefan Ivanov (b. 1989) graduated in Sculpture from the National Academy of Art. He works with different media and focuses mainly on sculpture and scenography. He has specialized under the Erasmus Programme in Poland and has participated in exhibitions, symposia and workshops in Bulgaria, Greece, Sweden and Turkey. Among his most recent appearances is at the workshop „Komluca- Olympos“ in Antalya, Turkey, the joint exhibition with Yasen Zgurovski „Cross Point: Pink” at the fridge, Sofia in 2015, and his participation in NE Fest International festival for independent experimental art in 2014. https://www.behance.net/Stefan_Ivanov
10 March 2016 - 10 April 2016
Presented under the title “Eclectics”, Lubri’s photographs originate from a storyline having become classic over time. It can be briefly described as what the photographer saw while crossing the New World from New York to San Francisco and LA, travelling along the legendary Route 66 and relaxing on the beaches of Miami. The works alone show us the fascinating face of America, however, unlike the classic storyline they do not depict, nor seek, the American dream.
The artist is interested in the differences: the drag queens in LA, the gay culture in San Francisco, the diversity in New York, the sentimentality of the countryside, the social poverty and gaudiness. The exhibition predominantly displays portraits of people, while locations are rendered secondary. The particular photographs depict many individuals’ faces, life lots, and fates. They are part of a world which is neither that new nor that distant any longer. This is why the images from Serbia, Great Britain, Ibiza and Bulgaria, which are also included in the exhibition, do not differ from or contradict the rest of the works.
The photographs are free from ridicule or social criticism, for account of the pleasure of shooting, and of actually living. The eclectic photographs represent a combination of moderate kitsch, changing social roles and sexualities, gentle sentiment, and oddity. The artist reveals not just the harmonious coexistence of contradictions but also the lack of tension between the idea of life and the actual living. This is not the dream having come true, however, but its impossibility, materialized in people’s bodies. That is why they are simultaneously beautiful, deformed, monstrous, artificial, and genuinely human.
Lubri (born 1977) lives and works in Sofia. He has graduated in Computer Science from the New Bulgarian University, Sofia, and has been practicing photography for the past nine years. His works have been on display in numerous group exhibitions and festivals, among which: Sofia Queer Forum 2014, curator Stefka Tsaneva; The “City and Public Spaces” Festival, Plovdiv 2012. He had solo exhibitions in Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv (2011, 2013) and in Pistolet Gallery, Sofia (2007). http://lubrikante.blogspot.bg/
The Meeting Point Platform for young artists and contemporary art and the Sculpture programme of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery are supported by Societe Generale Expressbank WE SUCCEED TOGETHER.
„LIFE – THESE ARE TWO WOMEN”
11 December 2015 - 29 February 2016
The exhibition Life-These are Two Women is part of the museum programme of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery. It is dedicated to the image of the mother, one of the most repetative and conservative images in the tradition of Bulgarian visual arts. Even though much of the works of the sculptress Vaska Emanouilova represent the female figure, the mother as a character and theme is almost completely absent in her work. The exhibition, seeking to explain this absence by placing it within the visual environment of Bulgarian fine arts, shows various art works in which the mother appears as a symbol of memory and home, suffering or consolation. Part of them are associated with the theme of motherhood. Most of the works were created in the 1970s /1980s and reveal a continuation and /or repetitions of motifs, themes and means of expressions used by artists in the beginning of the century.
Life-These are Two Women is an exhibition which shows how sustainable the image of the mother is, and the way it is perceived as a universal image connected with the human being and human nature. It is included in the parallel program of Sofia Queer Forum 2015 – Sweet Union, dedicated to the topic of the family and the possible relationships between people, between “me” and “you”.
In the framework of the exhibition a series of events are planned to take place, which will enhance the discussion of this topic within the Bulgarian visual arts domain, both in terms of the canon and of the exceptions, marginal stories, other’s viewpoints.
The first event during the exhibition is a lecture by Syrago Tsiara, Director of the Thessaloniki Centre for Contemporary Art: “Creating and undermining stereotypes. The image of the mother in Greek art and the subversive voices of new Greek cinema”. The lecture will take place on Dec.12th (Saturday) at 3 p.m., in Sofia City Art Gallery. The event will be held in English, with provided translation in Bulgarian.
05 November 2015 - 07 December 2015
Do we actually realize that the Internet - the idea and the dream of the Web - has stopped to be what it used to? While browsing, posting, liking, sharing and chatting every day, we hardly recollect the state-of-the-art beginning, the technological and aesthetical development of the Internet; the emptiness of digital space, the revolutionary ideas of democracy, access and participation, the hackers’ dreams of freedom and changing the world, or the cyborg bodies associated with the dawn of the Internet.
The exhibition of Voin de Voin raises these issues, which are today part of the ideas of postinternet art. It includes paintings, photographs, visual and sound installations, implemented from numerous different materials. The artist shows in a new and different light the ways in which all people use the Web. His works bring to visibility the emptiness of virtual space and show how flimsy, artificial, flexible and shifting it is. Painting is an image that the viewers can scan with their phones; photographs show contemporary Adam and Eve as appliqué figures compiled using simple Photoshop commands; part of the installations and images are generated through data and codes. From the cup-of-coffee icon back to the idea of the Digital God, the works are presented as "icons" in an everyday temple in which each title, image and sound have multiple meanings. They tell simultaneously about human and divine creation, the ability of God, as well as of man, to create worlds.
The exhibition itself is a large installation made up of different components in which, at first glance, everything seems interconnected. Yet, the highlight is elsewhere. In the very title the author calls the attention to our possibilities to disconnect from the Web and return to ourselves and to our own bodies.
Voin de Voin (born 1978) lives and works in Sofia and in Brussels. He works in various fields of visual art, ranging from performance to painting, and combines in his works a variety of materials, approaches and media. Together with Snejanka Mihaylova he founded the Institute for performance and theory in 2014.
The Meeting Point Platform for young artists and contemporary art and the Sculpture programme of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery are supported by Societe Generale EXPRESSBANK WE SUCCEED TOGETHER.
02 October 2015 - 02 November 2015
Meeting Point Platform for young artists and contemporary art presents Leda Vaneva’s solo exhibition.
What do the octopus, the fly and passport control kiosks at airports, for example, share in common? Probably this line of associations can be extended so that the answer can become inevitably clear, although it is too general – the ultraviolet rays. Leda Vaneva’s exhibition comprises similar, at first sight, strange and distant associations, which cross the borders of the physical and social world to remind us that the Earth is much bigger and more unfamiliar than we imagine in our everyday life.
The works explore the possibilities – “What if” – human perceptions were different. For instance, what if we could see the UV rays like flies or through our skin like octopuses, or see the world in black and white like dogs, or move faster like insects, or if ... and why not – turn the rays of the northern lights into an object whose permanent shape we can explore with a touch. The imagination about this “what if” is embodied in each of the works that express the limits of the human sight through artistic and technical means, which at the same time is a centre shift. Thus the artist is engaged in and in her own way de-centres perhaps the most sustainable notion in the western culture since the Renaissance: that namely the human abilities, mind and perceptions form the basis of the world, that they are the ones which describe, define and determine it.
Leda Vaneva (born in 1985) lives and works in Helsinki, where she is currently studying New Media. Prior to that, she was a student at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, where she was interested in work with porcelain and glass, as well as photography. In her works, she uses different media and pays attention to the meaning that each one of them adds to the concept. In 2014, Leda Vaneva was nominated for the BAZA Award, and a year earlier (in 2013) won the ESSL Art Award Bulgaria. She has participated in various exhibitions, among which the Aalto Festival (Finland, 2015), Media Intervention in the City (Finland, 2015), the European month of photography (Bulgaria, 2014), The more… the more (Bulgaria, 2014), Тranscending cultures (Austria, 2013), Anonymous Drawings (Germany, 2013), Camera Obscura (Spain, 2012), etc.
Special thanks to Aalto Fablab, ADD Lab and Art Express
The Meeting Point Platform for young artists and contemporary art and the Sculpture program of The Vaska Emanouilova Gallery are supported by Societe Generale EXPRESSBANK WE SUCCEED TOGETHER.
16 September 2015 - 27 September 2015
ENDEAVOURS is an annual educational program of the Vaska Emanouilova Gallery that examines sculpture in an extended field. It deals with the issues originated by the contemporary dynamic urban environment, studies the relations of sculpture with architecture and urbanism, and rationalises the influence of the economic, social and cultural processes on the shapes and images in the city. Tutor / curator of the program in 2015 is Luchezar Boyadjiev. The program is implemented in cooperation with Studio ProJectirane Architectural Workshop (UACEG) and the National Academy of Art.
“However, if the past in Bulgaria is not somehow “settled” in textbooks and books but rises as a vampire in “fortresses” and disputable memorials, how is it at all possible to think about erecting monuments in the country’s public space?” asks Luchezar Boyadjiev, inventor of the theme for this year’s edition of the educational program. It is dedicated to the monuments and their actual presence in the urban environment.
The students are asked to rationalise the links between memory and history, the meaning of the formal and aesthetic characteristics, as well as how the monuments fit in the urban environment. Each of the participants in the program came up with their own answer to the posed question, which found its expression in different approaches to the theme and materialised in an individual project.
Stefan Kotsev “revised” the newly erected monument to Samuil in Sofia by creating different collages with his image and suggested his own plastic interpretation of the figure as his own project for the already constructed monument. Anton Tsanev channelled his efforts into the direction of studying the correlations between space, time and object in the urban environment, and concentrated on the production of urban portraits of three locations / monuments. Maria Malinova dealt with the question of the temporary monuments, their unobtrusive presence, the spiritual aspects of the problem, as well as the sedimentation and layering of memory in the city.
One of the goals of the educational program of The Vaska Emanouilova Gallery is not only to assist the work, but also to intensify the public activity of the young artists. It aims at providing them with a platform for sharing ideas by putting them in a situation of learning, creativity and dialogue at the same time. Within the exhibition, the showcased works of the young artists will be discussed with architects, urbanists, their teachers and other experts on these matters.
On September 30 at 6:30 pm, immediately after the closing of the exhibition, a public discussion will be held in the space of Studio ProJectirane with architects and artists, as well as with the participants in the exhibition, on the question raised by Luchezar Boyadjiev. The discussion will consider the debate surrounding the monuments and the public space in terms of their connection to culture, ways of life, self-esteem and education.
The ENDEAVOURS educational program, as well as the Meeting Point Platform for young artists and contemporary art and the Sculpture program of The Vaska Emanouilova Gallery are supported by Societe Generale EXPRESSBANK WE SUCCEED TOGETHER.
The Liberal Choice
02 July 2015 - 05 September 2015
The current exhibition is part of the now traditional research projects carried out by our gallery. It focuses on a poorly researched and still unanswered question relating to the past developments of Bulgarian art, namely the place and the role of women artists in this country’s exhibition practices in the time period following its Liberation until the Balkan Wars. So far, the dominant thinking has been that back then women painters were a rare phenomenon and their participation in collective exhibitions was an exception. Furthermore, it is widely believed that at the time women in the art world were suppressed and held back. Even worse, they were denied access to arts education. The exposition presented in the art halls of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery is an attempt to refute such ideologemes, based not on facts but on assumptions.
This exhibition is dedicated to Maria Yoncheva (1926–2014), the woman without whose unflagging support we would hardly hav
23 April 2015 - 23 May 2015
Платформата за съвременно изкуство и млади автори на галерия „Васка Емануилова” – „Място за срещи” представя самостоятелната изложба на Калина Терзиева, в която са включени някои от работите от постоянната, историческа изложба на известната българска скулпторка, чието име галерията носи.
За разлика от модерното изкуство, което поставя акцент върху уникалността на произведението, авторството и новаторството в изкуството, съвременното изкуство не непременно се занимава с това. Една от посоките на постмодерността е да отвори поле за експерименти и да разруши представата за еднолинейно, прогресивно, самостойно и историческо развитие на изкуството. Така съвременното изкуство се оказва територия, на която минало, настояще и бъдеще; различни автори, поколения и творби могат да се срещат без йерархия, изискване за продължаване на традицията на изкуството или формална художествена близост.
Изложбата „Очакване” на Калина Терзиева се занимава именно с тази възможност. Художничката премества в пространството на галерия „Васка Емануилова” някои от работите на едноименната скулпторка, изважда ги от контекста на историческата, музейна, постоянна експозиция на галерията и ги показва в пространството редом до свои произведения и рисунки. „Очакване” е названието на една от работите на Васка Емануилова – малка, теракотена, женска фигура, като именно това заглавие художничката избира и за изложбата си. Самата тя, обратно на очакваното, не си поставя задача да коментира връзките между традиция и съвременност или история и настояще; изложбата се занимава с вглеждането между различни произведения (и измерения), които не се съпоставят, а просто присъстват заедно в пространството. Очакването се разполага в празното пространство помежду им; то е действие на приближаванe, на близост, която се поражда в самия процес.
Калина Терзиева (р. 1984), завършва специалност „Сценичен и екранен дизайн” в НАТФИЗ „Кръстьо Сарафов” през 2009 г. През 2013 г. учи „Изящни изкуства” в Gerrit Rietveld Academie в Амстердам. Работи в сферата на киното, театъра и телевизията. В последните години участва в самостоятелни и групови изложби, и инициира проекта „О-о!” – алтернативни пространства за съвременна култура. В рамките на проекта осъществява съвместана изложба “Natural Lifestyles” с художника Станимир Генов през 2012 г. През 2011 г. осъществява „Когнитивен дисонанс”, съвместен проект с Райна Власковска в галерия „Индустриална”. Калина Терзиева е номинирана за наградата за съвременно изкуство БАЗА през 2014; както и за наградата за млад автор на фондация „Йордан Парушев”, 2014 г.
Платформата за млади автори и съвременно изкуство „Място за срещи” и програма „Скулптура“ на галерия „Васка Емануилова” са подкрепени от Societe Generale Експресбанк УСПЯВАМЕ ЗАЕДНО.
26 March 2015 - 18 April 2015
РЕСТАВРАЦИЯ НА ПАМЕТТА ІІ: Яким Банчев – между човека и войната
12 December 2014 - 28 February 2015
Проектът „Реставрация на паметта“ стартира през лятото на 2014 г. в галерия „Васка Емануилова“, филиал на СГХГ, с изложбата „Не/познатите художници от една картина“. В същността си това е една инициатива, която може да бъде определена като подтик да се вгледаме в историята и по-конкретно в историята на българското изкуство. Казано с други думи – това е една археологическа акция, при която се изваждат нови слоеве културно наследство и в същото време се ревизират разкритите преди. Подобно назоваване на нещата, макар и твърде спекулативно, всъщност се оказва смущаващо адекватно. Доказва го и втората част на проекта, която се фокусира върху живота и делото на едно отдавна забравено име в историята на българската живопис – Яким Банчев.
06 November 2014 - 01 March 2015
Vaska Emanouilova Gallery presents, within The Meeting Point Platform for young artists and contemporary art, a solo exhibition of Albena Baeva on memory, technology, and art.
Albena Baeva is an artist who explores the possibilities to build interactive installations using technology and various tools developed on the basis of open-source software. The artist has displayed her works at numerous festivals, solo and group exhibitions in different cities around the country, as well as in Hungary, Austria, Finland, Italy, Cyprus, and elsewhere.
In her exhibition Archaeologies she presents two installations that are connected with different images in cinema and video archives: In the first one, she uses a collection of semi-burnt film reels found in the abandoned cinema in the village of Devetaki; the other is based on the filmed performance "Brocken Fall (Organic)" 1971 created by the mysterious artist Bas Jan Ader, known as a representative of the so called romantic conceptualism. As part of the installations are included several instruments which help create a connection between the spectators and the images. The frames of the films can be rearranged in varying order since they are linked to the keys of a children’s piano, and by their own movements the spectators can connect to the action in the performance of Bas Jan Ader. The artist explores the issue of memory by associating it with the personal experience. Her works turn the abstract and remote archive of art and the cinema industry into a close and immediate memory.
The installations come as a continuation of the activities of Albena Baeva who worked in 2013 on the ARTeFACT dance performance, nominated for the IKAR award, as well as on Mariy Rosen’s production The Eyes of the Others (2013) performed at the National Theatre. In 2011 the artist won the Essl Prize, and this year she was among the nominees for the BAZA Award. Albena is co-founder of Runabout project, which is a platform for a series of interactive performances. Together with Petya Boyukova and musicians they create new instruments from different hardware and software components at hand, which they use to explore the interaction between sounds and images in the real environment of the performance.
The Meeting Point Platform for young artists and contemporary art and the Sculpture Program of Vaska Emanouilova Gallery are supported by Societe Generale Expressbank WE SUCCEED TOGETHER.
RESTORATION OF MEMORY. THE NOT/KNOWN ARTISTS FROM ONE PICTURE
10 July 2014 - 29 September 2014
The work of Asen Vasilev Discussing a picture is at the base of the exhibition presented in Vaska Emanuilova gallery. Created in the middle of the last century, the work has been repeatedly included in exhibitions, but for a long time the personalities depicted in it remained unknown to the general public and to professionals alike. The scientific curiosity of Ilinka Chergarova and Plamen Petrov, after almost two years’ work, helped those "gone dumb" and steeped in oblivion images to come to life again.
Asen Vasiliev (1900–1981)
Some participants in the General Art Exhibition in Kyustendil 1930 – Bogomir Lazov, Stoyan Venev, Dragan Lozenski, St.. Shishkov (friend of the artists), Lyuben Gaydarov, Bogomir Lehchanski (left to right)
The Interior, portrayed in the picture of Asen Vasiliev – one of the classrooms in Otets Paysiy school, Kyustendil. A look at the 1st National Art Exhibition in the town since 1930.
10 December 2013 - 28 February 2014
Mihail Krustev with students
Curators: Ramona Dimova, Lyuben Domozetski and Teodor Iliev
Artist of the small size format, excellent portraitist and good landscape painter, Mihail Krustev, although living and working in the period between the two world wars, turned out to be related to art in Bulgaria in the first decade of the XX century. In the times of active and diverse artistic life Krustev stands somewhat detached from both the impact of secession, and the influence of expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit. His works are not a turning point in art, but they are lyrical, unpretentious, spontaneous and light - exciting today, too. Maybe their charm lies exactly in their simplicity.
The exhibition includes works from the collections of the Sofia City Art Gallery, the Bulgarian National Museum of Fine Arts, Plovdiv City Art Gallery, Gallery - Kazanlak, National Literary Museum – Sofia, and Hristina Koleva private collection.
The curators of the exhibition thank Prof. Krasimira Koeva, Ivan Kyuranov, the team of Archives State Agency, and the organizers of the project Student Practices, funded by the Operative Programme Human Resources Development, co-financed by the European Social Fund.
Messemvria, the Bishopric
Portrait of Pencho Slaveykov
Memories of Andrey Nikolov (1878 -1959)
03 July 2013 - 08 September 2013
curator of the exhibition Plamen Petrov
In 1922, when after a long absence from Bulgaria the sculptor Andrey Nikolov came back home, he arranged his first solo exhibition. In one of the responses regarding the exhibition reads: Is it not strange that in this country appeared Andrey Nikolov? What mysterious and inexplicable event gave birth to see among us this fascinatingly gentle, subtle and profound artist, like a Hellene harboring the ancient cult to form, with the delicate, restless and nervous apprehension of the modern soul, going astray into the mysteries of life? Among us! Among a people primitive and crude, cut off for so many centuries from any culture, in a petty way pragmatic, in a rude way materialistic, almost brutal in its greed.
The exhibition in Vaska Emanouilova gallery, affiliate of Sofia City Art Gallery, is arranged in partnership with Svetlin Rusev Studio Collection, Nikola Byanov Collection, as well as courtesy of Archives State Agency, and St. Cyril and Methodius National Library.
OF MONUMENTS AND MEN
19 December 2012 - 03 March 2013
Of monuments and men can not be named an exhibition, or at least not in the sense that we are traditionally used to invest in this word. In the space of Vaska Emanuilova gallery an opportunity is presented to explore the history of four of the most talked about sculptural monuments in this country in the new millennium. A story that continues to be augmented through hundreds of comments (often anonymous) in virtual space, a multitude of reports in electronic media and dozens of publications in print. On the other hand, fragments of conversations have also been found - monologue laments about those monuments, that echoed / faded in public domain during the last decade. It was exactly for this reason that Of Monuments and Men could be described as a story about the conflict between the modern-day individual and the sculptured carvings of artists.
Curator: Plamen Petrov
Of Monuments and Men cannot be called an exhibition, or at least not in the sense that is traditionally used to invest in this word. In the space of Vaska Emanuilova gallery the visitor is given the opportunity to explore the history of four of the most talked about sculptural monuments in this country in the new millennium. A story that continues to be augmented through hundreds of comments (often anonymous) in the virtual space, numerous electronic media reports, and dozens of publications in the press. On the other hand, fragments of conversations were found - monologue laments on these monuments, that have echoed / faded in the public domain during the last decade. It was for this reason that Of Monuments and Men could be described as a story about the conflict between the modern-day individual and the sculpture carvings of artists.
Already in the middle of the 20th
Monuments beautify not only the city, but the past itself and history, by bringing to life an idea about the magnificence of a certain age, the strength or genius of a person, or a unique event in its kind. In the romantic notions of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries those urban "relics" are often defined as a historical document, as a means of moral and exemplary teaching, a universal vector of subjective emotions. The monuments included in this exhibition, however, reveal a new feature of their own - namely, living monuments that continue to participate actively in the new day, but not just as creative events giving rise to pilgrimage tourism and photographic obsession, but as pulsating parts bearing the marks of current social order. On the other hand, the presented four monuments reveal different, specific conflicts between those milestones of memory and man in the contemporary cultural situation of the global village. For the last decade, the monument of the Soviet army has differentiated itself as one of the busiest topoi in the city. A meeting place of its own kind, for many young people - the area around the monument, and the monument itself became the "gazebo" for conversations and drinking beer, riding rollers, skateboard competitions and more. The monument, as an ideological appeal of totalitarian thought, seems to remain alien to the modern individual, having taken in his first breath after 1989. Probably just for that reason appeared also the striving to transform (consciously or unconsciously) that remote "otherness" into something new – a kind of native feeling that is close to the global man. And this process of transformation has been clearly stated by "painting" the monument, and revamping "the socialist man" into a hero from a contemporary American film – an action that has brought rampant, but quickly muffled social unrest. Already before that act, aiming at metamorphosis, parts of the monument were often redefined in semantic terms - such as the emergence in 2010 of the caption The last supper on the plane south of the monument. The monumental composition 1300 years Bulgaria testifies to a second type of a problem that can be defined as a phenomenon of invisibility. Loaded with "the normative ideological thought" of Bulgarian communist party leaders, this monument to memory, although designed as a reminder of the ancient history of Bulgarian people, enjoyed public attention only on the day of its official opening on October 20th
The concocted vaudeville has quickly faded away and the short terms for the monumental composition (eight months) proved disastrous. The composition began to fall apart before the eyes of the "responsible" socialist man. Upon entering a period of transition in the last decade of the twentieth century, the monument became a ruin, but nobody took any action for its conservation and restoration. The problem was immersed in dozens of "debates" that went under the heading "what to do?" And the monument, though invisible, was drowning in public bickering - weather washing away its silhouette for good.
The third major problem that the monumental sculpture of Saint Sophia presents in the centre of Sofia, the capital, is the one linked with the new iconoclastic crisis in the modern world, and Bulgaria in particular. The battle with images which shook the society of Byzantium, and especially Constantinople in the eighth – ninth century, seems to reflects most adequately the conflict between the sculptings of Georgi Chapkanov and clergy. Whether it is Saint (Hagia) Sophia – the name meaning Wisdom, whose memory is celebrated on September 17th along with that of her daughters - Faith, Hope and Love, or that is the wisdom of God, or an allegorical image of the city? Whether it is a pagan monument, or a Christian symbol – those are all issues that pinpointed as a problem the looming female figure with a "flowing" dress. On the other hand, it should be noted that this monument was built as if to erase a memory. We are talking about the 24-foot sculpture of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, rising on the same place, which in 1991 was removed in an iconoclastic manner. This specific kind of layering of meanings and changelings actually seems to exacerbate the problem of the search for an answer to the question: What does this sculpture present?
Of Monuments and Men reveals.