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Sunday 04 February 2024
29 January 2024 - 04 February 2024
April 2024
30.06.2023 - 31.05.2024

Mihaela Mihailova – MISHA MAR PORTRAIT OF THE MOON IN BLACK

Kvadrat 500
The fourth edition of ‘The Wall’, the National Gallery’s project launched in 2020, welcomes artist Mihaela Mihaylova – Misha Mar to the Kvadrat 500 Atrium. At one of the areas designated for contemporary art and located at the heart of Kvadrat 500—home of the National Gallery’s permanent exhibition—there rises a monumental structure titled ‘The Wall’. The idea of creating this facility was largely prompted by the need to present mural and graffiti artists in the gallery. After showing the works of Nikolay Petrov GLOW (2020), Alexi Ivanov (2021) and BILOS (2022), the project now introduces Mihaela Mihaylova – Misha Mar. She presents ‘Portrait of the Moon in Black’, a composition representing the eight phases of the Moon in black and white, painted over more than a month. As a true selenophile, Mihaela examines the theme in detail and conceives a particular affection for the subject of her studies—marks visible on the surface of the exquisite portrait she creates.
‘My Moon,
‘My faithful friend in the night, this is a love letter to You, painted with the calligraphy of my soul on Your surface. All the words I never told You, fixed upon the layers of our unspoken secrets that glow with the reflected light of the burning desire of the day.
‘This is for You…’
Misha Mar
The eight faces of the Moon—the full moon cycle—‘rises’ on ‘The Wall’ in the Sculpture Garden of Kvadrat 500, to the accompaniment of MUSICAL STATUES. Guests will be able to enjoy special summer cocktails with MALFY GIN.
The project is made possible through the support of the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation.
About the artist In 2008, Mihaela Mihaylova graduated in Iconography from the Tsanko Lavrenov National Secondary School in Plovdiv. Later, she was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Painting and, in 2014, she graduated from the Photography Master’s Programme at the National Academy of Arts. The artist has held several solo exhibitions and been included in many group exhibitions. In 2023, she presented to the public her first photo book, ‘MAR’, with black-and-white photographs depicting the parallel worlds ‘between the mountain and the sea, between birds and firebugs.’
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

FROM THE NEWSPAPER TO THE MUSEUM | Bulgarian Cartoons, 1944–1989

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

MAGDA ABAZOVA (1923–2011) | Centenary of the Artist’s Birth

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
14.12.2023 - 11.02.2024

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
04.02.2024

THE CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS

Children's performance to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns - Premiere
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
04.02.2024

DON PASQUALE

Duration - 2:30 with one intermission
Main Hall
It is performed in Italian, with Bulgarian and English subtitles
Music and Dance Events