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Tuesday 03 October 2023
02 October 2023 - 08 October 2023
May 2024
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
27.07.2023 - 01.10.2023

EMILIA NIKOLOVA-BAYER - THE ART OF SYNTHESIS

Emilia Nikolova-Bayer’s oeuvre presented in the current exhibition brings to our attention the under-researched synthesis of the monumental arts and architecture in Bulgaria in the period between 1956 and 1989. The decorative reliefs the artist sculpted for two iconic theatres − Sofia Theatre in the Bulgarian capital (1973 – 75) and the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin (1982 – 84) − are featured. The exhibition seeks to cast a critical eye over the general perception of the female creator in Bulgaria during the second half of the twentieth century − as avant-garde, strong, and brave; it gives us the opportunity to delve for the first time into the colourful world of the artist, to become acquainted with her new visual language for that time, and to appreciate a novel experience of the public architectural space.
The stone reliefs of the Sofia Theatre and the concrete reliefs of the Friedrichstadt-Palast form elements playing a lively rhythm in the architectural ensemble. With her use of bas-relief in harmony with the proportions of the façade, Emilia Nikolova-Bayer has left her original mark on contemporary architecture.
Photographs from Emilia and Rainer Bayer’s personal archive are on display, ranging from decorative reliefs, ceramic panels, stone inscriptions and drawings to sculptures of various sizes in a range of materials. Current photographs of some of the sites, by the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning Berlin and the artist Kalin Serapionov, are included.
Awards and honours
1958 Distinction for best work of art at the International Art Exhibition in Vienna.
1984 Award at the International Biennale of Contemporary Ceramics in Faenza, Italy.
1984 Sts Cyril and Methodius Bronze Medal.
Artworks by Emilia Nikolova-Bayer are to be found in the collections of the National Gallery, the Yambol Art Gallery, and the Museum of Humour and Satire in Gabrovo.
Her works are also owned by private collections in New York, Boston, Seattle, Paris, Hanover, Berlin, Leipzig, Wiesbaden, Munich, Moscow, Warsaw, Sofia; and museums and collections in Berlin, Poland, and Faenza (Italy).
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
01.10.2023

SVETLIN ROUSSEV & DELYANA LAZAROVA

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
Delyana Lazarova
Soloist/s
Svetlin Roussev
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 36
Niccolò Paganini - Violin Concerto No.4 in D minor
Music and Dance Events
01.10.2023

THE LOST PRINCESS

A concert with songs from the musicals "Anastasia" and "The Sound of Music"
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
01.10.2023

DIE WALKÜRE

Opera by Richard Wagner / Der Ring des Nibelungen
Duration 5:00 Intermission 2
Sofia Opera and Ballet
Performed in German
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
02.10.2023

SYMPHONIC CONCERT

Neuschwanstein Festival Theater - Füssen, Germany
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
03.10.2023 - 06.10.2023

MACHTECH & INNOTECH EXPO

International exhibition for industrial machinery and technologies
Business Events
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
03.10.2023

DIE WALKÜRE

Opera by Richard Wagner / Der Ring des Nibelungen
Duration 5:00 Intermission 2
Sofia Opera and Ballet
Performed in German
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
03.10.2023 - 06.10.2023

MACHTECH & INNOTECH EXPO

International exhibition for industrial machinery and technologies
Business Events
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
04.10.2023

OFFICIAL CHANGE OF THE GUARD IN FRONT OF THE PRESIDENCY BUILDING

In front of the Presidency

The ceremonial change of the guard in front of the Presidency marks the national and public holidays in Bulgaria. The official change of the guard takes place on the first Wednesday of every month at 12:00 o’clock.

Festivals
04.10.2023

CONCERT OF THE NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC CHOIR

Bulgaria Concert Hall Soloist/s
Ensemble
National Philharmonic Choir
Program
César Franck - Panis Angelicus
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
03.10.2023 - 06.10.2023

MACHTECH & INNOTECH EXPO

International exhibition for industrial machinery and technologies
Business Events
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
05.10.2023

GAUTIER CAPUÇON & NAYDEN TODOROV

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
Nayden Todorov
Soloist/s
Gautier Capuçon
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Aram Khachaturian - Suite from "Gayane" Ballet
Danny Elfman - Concerto for Violoncello & Orchestra
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
03.10.2023 - 06.10.2023

MACHTECH & INNOTECH EXPO

International exhibition for industrial machinery and technologies
Business Events
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
07.10.2023

WINNIE THE POOH

Musical by Andrey Drenikov
Chamber hall
It is performed in Bulgarian
Music and Dance Events
07.10.2023

CINDERELLA

Ballet-fairy-tale by Sergei Prokofieff
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
08.10.2023

DAS RHEINGOLD

Opera by Richard Wagner – adapted for children
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
08.10.2023

CINDERELLA

Ballet-fairy-tale by Sergei Prokofieff
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
08.10.2023

GALA CONCERT

XXIII International master class of RAINA KABAIVANSKA
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
08.10.2023

OPERA GALA

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
Pavel Baleff
Soloist/s
Diana Damrau
Nicolas Testé
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
12.10.2023

AMADIS GALSKI

A magical opera by Georg Friedrich Handel
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
12.10.2023

JAMES JUDD

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
James Judd
Soloist/s
Bernhard Vogl
Elissaveta Staneva- Vogl
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - "Die Hochzeit des Camacho" Overture
Georg Philipp Telemann - Don Quixote Suite
Richard Strauss - "Don Quixote" Tone Poem, Op.35, for Cello, Viola and Orchestra
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
13.10.2023

WINNIE THE POOH

Musical by Andrey Drenikov
Chamber hall
It is performed in Bulgarian
Music and Dance Events
13.10.2023

AMADIS GALSKI

A magical opera by Georg Friedrich Handel
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
14.10.2023
Music and Dance Events
14.10.2023

HÄNSEL UND GRETEL

Opera for children by Engelbert Humperdinck
Runnig time: 01:00
Chamber hall
Performed in Bulgarian
Music and Dance Events
14.10.2023

MUSICAL STAFFS & INSPIRATIONS

Chamber Hall
Soloist/s
Alexandra Ivanova
Dimitar Kostadinov
Gergana Dimitrova
Hristina Beleva
Ivan Tsonkov
Neo Kurtev
Vassilia Petrova
Ensemble
Classic Art
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
15.10.2023

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE

Opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – version adapted for children
Runnig time: 01:00
Chamber hall
Performed in Bulgarian.
Music and Dance Events
15.10.2023

NORMA

Opera by Vincenzo Bellini
Duration - 3:00 with one intermission
Main Hall
It is performed in Italian, with Bulgarian and English subtitles
Music and Dance Events
15.10.2023

DANNY ELFMAN’S MUSIC

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
Grigor Palikarov
Soloist/s
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Music and Dance Events
15.10.2023

MAGIC OF SANREMO

National Palace of Culture
Conductor
Dan Rapoport
Soloist/s
Gianni Scribano
Lara Pasquali
Martina Striano
Stefano Bersola
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
17.10.2023

CONCERT OF THE NATIONAL PHILHARMONIC CHOIR

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Program
Charles Gounod - Miserere
Emil Tabakov - Vocalise for Viola and Mixed Choir
Charles Gounod - Gallia
Charles Gounod - Messe brève pour les morts
Emil Tabakov - "Adagio" for Mixed Choir and Vibraphone
Music and Dance Events
17.10.2023

PHILHARMONICA STRING QUARTET

Chamber Hall
Soloist/s
Ensemble
Philharmonica String Quartet
Program
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op. 18, No. 1
Robert Schumann - String Quartet No.1 in A minor, Op.41
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - String Quartet in B-flat Major, K. 589
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023

SOFIA SOLOISTS – SECOND CONCERT

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
Konstantin Dobroikov
Soloist/s
Kay Gergov
Leo Gergov
Ray Gergov
Ensemble
Sofia Soloists Chamber Orchestra
Program
Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni) - four Violin Concerti
Johann Sebastian Bach - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.5 in F minor, BWV 1056
Luigi Boccherini - Cello Concerto No.9 in B-flat major
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
19.10.2023
Religious Holidays
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
19.10.2023

THE LEGEND AUGUSTIN DUMAY

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
Augustin Dumay
Soloist/s
Augustin Dumay
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Camille Saint-Saëns - Dance Macabre
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Intermezzo from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Nocturne from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Overture "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Scherzo from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy - Wedding March from "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Op.61
Maurice Ravel - "Tzigane" - Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No.3 in G major, K.216
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
20.10.2023

THE THREE PIGGIES

Musical by Alexandar Raichev
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
20.10.2023

ZORBA THE GREEK

Ballet by Mikis Theodorakis
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
20.10.2023

ELEKTRA

Opera by Richard Strauss
Duration - 1:50
Daegu Opera House, Republic of Korea
Preformed in German
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
21.10.2023

THE LOST PRINCESS

A concert with songs from the musicals "Anastasia" and "The Sound of Music"
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
21.10.2023

ELEKTRA

Opera by Richard Strauss
Duration - 1:50
Daegu Opera House, Republic of Korea
Preformed in German
Music and Dance Events
21.10.2023

THE THREE FAIRIES AND THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

musical by Dimitar Kostantsaliev
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
21.10.2023

ANNIVERSARY CONCERT OF ANGEL STANKOV

Chamber Hall
Soloist/s
Angel Stankov
Nona Krincheva
Program
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Sonata for Violin and Piano KV 296 in C major
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Sonata for Violin and Piano KV 376 in F major
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Sonata for Violin and Piano KV301 in G major
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Sonata for Violin and Piano No.32 in B flat Major, KV454
Music and Dance Events
21.10.2023

ZORBA THE GREEK

Ballet by Mikis Theodorakis
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 22.10.2023

Contemporary Art in the Collection of the European Parliament | NOMINATED ARTWORKS

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
NOMINATED ARTWORKS
Bora Petkova, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Elizabeth Thallauer, Leda Starcheva, Leda Vaneva, Maria Nalbantova, Marta Djourina, Nevena Ekimova and Rada Boukova
Opening on 20 September, Wednesday, 18.30
The European Parliament’s art collection was started in 1980 on the initiative of Simone Veil, the first President of the directly elected European Parliament.
The European Parliament is proud of the cultural diversity of the European Union and supports all actions for enhancing it. The collection aims to develop at European level the traditional practice of national parliaments to purchase and promote contemporary works of art that present the national artistic achievements.
For over forty years, the European Parliament has acquired more than 500 works of art, representative of EU member states, putting the spotlight on young promising artists at the beginning of their career. The EP collection has been enriched with over 120 donations from national parliaments and different organisations.
Thanks to the new EU member states the collection has grown significantly. In 2011 the European Parliament acquired artworks from Bulgaria and Romania. The new acquisitions from Bulgarian artists were presented in Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Art in the same year.
The European Parliament and its Liaison Office in Bulgaria are now running a selection process of new acquisitions for the art collection by approaching independent experts as well as experts from leading cultural institutions.
Nia Tabakova (The State Institute for Culture under the Minister of Foreign Affairs), Dolores Dilova (The Union of Bulgarian Artists), Martin Kostashki (The National Gallery) and Venelin Shurelov (The National Academy of Arts) have nominated authors, adhering to the criteria and requirements for the selection of artworks for the acquisition procedure, namely: to be female artists from Bulgaria who work with contemporary artistic techniques and explore present-day themes and concerns that resonate with European values. The proposed artists are established both in Bulgaria and abroad. They are talented and have a poignant sensitivity to global problems.
After the exhibition in Sofia the Artistic Committee in Brussels will determine which of the pre-selected works will be purchased for the art collection of the European Parliament and they will subsequently be exhibited on its premises in Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg.
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
22.10.2023

SHEGOBISHKO ON THE ISLAND OF MIRACLES

Musical Georgi Kostov
Duration: 60 minutes
Chamber hall
Performed in Bulgarian
Music and Dance Events
22.10.2023

ZORBA THE GREEK

Ballet by Mikis Theodorakis
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
22.10.2023

EARTHLY AND UNEARTHLY

Chamber Hall
Soloist/s
Ensemble
Impressia Vocal Ensemble
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
24.10.2023

ANNIVERSARY CONCERT

Chamber Hall
Soloist/s
Feodor Katranov
Stefan Vrachev
About the Event
Songs, arias and duets by D. Hristov, Al. Pakhmutova, E. Ramirez, E.Kálmán , G. Ferrilli, M. Ravel, S. Cardillo, R. Leoncavallo, G. Verdi.
Music and Dance Events
24.10.2023
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
25.10.2023

CONCERT ON THE OCCASION OF THE NATIONAL HOLIDAY OF THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN – REPUBLIC DAY

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Soloist/s
Ensemble
“Gaziza Zhubanova” State String Quartet
Program
Dmitri Shostakovich - String quartet No.6
Gaziza Zhubanova - String Quartet No.1
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No.7 in F major "Razumovsky", Op. 59, No.1
Music and Dance Events
25.10.2023

OPERA EUROPE WORLD OPERA DAY

CONCERT DEDICATED TO CREATIVITY OF JOHANN STRAUSS AND GEORGES BIZET
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
26.10.2023

CHRISTOPH ESCHENBACH & CLAUDIO BOHÓRQUEZ

Bulgaria Concert Hall
Conductor
Christoph Eschenbach
Soloist/s
Claudio Bohórquez
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Music and Dance Events
26.10.2023

TOSCA

Opera by Giacomo Puccini
Duration - 2:30 with intermission
Main Hall
It is performed in Italian, with Bulgarian and English subtitles
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
27.10.2023

DAS RHEINGOLD

Opera by Richard Wagner – adapted for children
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
08.06.2023 - 28.10.2023

Yana Lozeva | ANACRUSIS

The Vera Nedkova House Museum ‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists along with Nedkova’s paintings. Displayed in the cosy atmosphere marked by Vera Nedkova’s intellectual and creative presence, the six photographs by Yana Lozeva show images of women with a strong and memorable individuality. Despite the apparent incompatibility of the two artists in their creative pursuits and concepts, the photographs correspond in an elegant way with the paintings in the museum’s interior. ‘We were looking for expressiveness, not so much external as internal,’ Vera Nedkova stated in her memoirs about her own art. In her early works, she was moved by the portrait and its depiction in a non-standard style in a space devoid of details.
Taken over the past two years, the photographs have captured brief and elusive moments and states of the subjects portrayed. The female images seem to sink into space in the manner of a watercolour, with their blurred contours and transitions between black and white. With her keenness of observation, Yana Lozeva is intrigued by the mysteriousness of the ordinary, by the moment of lost control and that specificity of the ‘out-of-hand’ framing, which sneaks inexplicably and imperceptibly in to lie at the base of the ‘Anacrusis’ exhibition.
Exhibitions
28.10.2023
Music and Dance Events
28.10.2023

THE THREE PIGGIES

Musical by Alexandar Raichev
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
28.10.2023

LA CENERENTOLA

Opera by Gioachino Rossini
Duration 2:45 Intermission 1
Main Hall
Performed in italian, with bulgarian and english subtitles
Music and Dance Events
28.10.2023

QUARTO QUARTET & CAMERATA CONCERTGEBOUW

Bulgaria Concert Hall Soloist/s
Ensemble
Camerata RCO
Quarto Quartet
Program
Luigi Boccherini - Musica notturna delle strade di Madrid
John Adams - "Shaker Loops"
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - String Sextet "Souvenir de Florence"
Music and Dance Events
28.10.2023

GISELLE

Duration 2:00 Intermission 1
Sofia Opera and Ballet
Teatro Verdi - Salerno, Italy
Music and Dance Events
30.08.2023 - 29.10.2023

BORN FREE

Photography exhibition by Konstantin Vulkov
Kvadrat 500
Try, fall down, get up, try again. Make friends with pain.
Smile. You’ve made friends with your body. Now you know more about yourself. This makes you confident to continue, take risks and reach a new level you had only dreamt of. You now look at yourself and the world around you with new eyes. You never laugh at the amateurish efforts of others and light-heartedly share your knowledge. This is what nobility means. In skateboarding the little ones can also be great. Every person to take off from the ground in flight for even seconds has overcome their fears and knows what it means to rely on nobody but yourself.
The photo series of skate parks by Konstantin Vulkov is a major lesson in social photography. Not sports, nor portrait, but documentary – a visual story of street culture with locations in Cape Town and Barcelona, Manchester and Burgas, Sofia and Tsarevo. The images are extraordinary encounters with people from different generations who all practise this sport. They were taken in social environments that fought to be recognized by society – transitioning from a “delinquent bunch” into “Olympic hopefuls”. From thug appearances with skateboards in public spaces to training in purpose-built skate parks.
Accelerate-soar-land. Konstantin Vulkov does not neglect any of the three stages. He does not use effects. He documents this environment with its culture. He has gained the trust of everyone at the ramp; nobody is posing. This exhibition is an account of skateboarding – a sport used to solve social problems in different societies. A sport where there are no social boundaries and which, in its democratic essence, resolves psychological issues. A sport where freedom is personal, yet also shared with anyone with the courage to stand up for it.
Marieta Tsenova - Exhibition curator
Exhibitions
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
05.09.2023 - 29.10.2023

Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny

“Sandro – Prince Alexander von Battenberg. A European Destiny” is an exhibition with unknown facts and photos from the life of the first Bulgarian ruler after the Liberation from Turkish occupation in 1878. It is the result of three years of research through the archives and family collections of the Heiligenberg Jügenheim Foundation (the name of the prince’s family castle).
In Bulgaria, the Values Foundation of Antonina Stoyanova, wife of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002) presents the exhibition. With the sponsorship of the Sofia Municipality 28 panels with photos and texts in Bulgarian will be displayed in the Ballroom on the second floor of the Palace . (The English and German versions of each can be read via QR codes.)
The exhibition will be opened on September 5 at 6 p.m. and will remain at the National Gallery until October 29.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
29.10.2023

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE

Opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – version adapted for children
Runnig time: 01:00
Chamber hall
Performed in Bulgarian.
Music and Dance Events
29.10.2023

MUSIC SECRETS FOR CHILDREN

Chamber Hall
Soloist/s
Ensemble
Classic Art
Music and Dance Events
29.10.2023

GISELLE

Duration 2:00 Intermission 1
Sofia Opera and Ballet
Teatro Verdi - Salerno, Italy
Music and Dance Events
29.10.2023

TURANDOT

Opera by Giacomo Puccini
Duration 2:40 Intermission 2
Main Hall
It is performed in Italian, with Bulgarian and English subtitles
Music and Dance Events
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions
30.10.2023

CONCERT OF SOFIA QUARTET

Chamber Hall Soloist/s
Ensemble
Sofia Quartet
Program
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - String Quartet No.14 in G major, KV 387
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No.10 "Harp", Op. 74
Music and Dance Events
06.10.2023 - 03.12.2023

INTERNATIONAL BIENNALE OF GLASS – 2023

Kvadrat 500
The International Biennale of Glass, established as one of the largest art events in our country, under the slogan “TOGETHER”, in its fourth edition in 2023, will present artists from 48 countries. The selected works will be located in Kvadrat 500, Sredets Gallery of the Ministry of Culture and UniArt Gallery of New Bulgarian University.
Kvadrat 500 will host the main exhibition, as in the previous edition of the biennale in 2021. The gallery will display works by some of the most important masters of glass, such as the Czech duo Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (1924-2020) – teachers and friends of the art director of the biennale Konstantin Valchev; as well as their compatriot Václav Cigler. A compelling highlight will be the participation of a selection of distinguished Dutch artists, facilitated by the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sofia, and curated by Mr. Han de Kluijver, a member of the international jury.
Furthermore, the biennale proudly welcomes once again representatives from the renowned Italian (Murano) glass art hotspot, thanks to the invaluable support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia. The globally acclaimed master Lucio Bubacco, known for his extravagant rococo-inspired sculptures, and the skilled jeweler Caterina Zucchi will grace the biennale with their artistry, following a memorable joint participation of theirs in the previous edition.
Adding to the richness of the exposition, the Czech glass manufacturer Bomma will showcase the winning authors of their annual Glass Cutting World Cup (GCWC), held in Světlá nad Sázavou, Czech Republic. As part of the exhibition in Kvadrat 500, there will traditionally also be a lecture program with international guest participants and close associates of the biennale on 6 and 7 October.
Sredets Gallery will host from 17 October to 3 November a touring exhibition of Hungarian glass masters called Glassification.hu and organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Economic Relations of Hungary. The exhibition at the UniArt Gallery, entitled “The Beginning”, from 31 October to 30 November will present works by students and teachers from the Department of Glass at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Anadolu University and the Glass Atelier at New Bulgarian University, creating a basis for future collaboration between the two institutions.
Glass art lovers who do not have the opportunity to visit the live exhibitions and lectures will be able to follow the highlights in the virtual space, thanks to the IBG Connect virtual platform, provided by Lounjee – a digital window into the biennale ensuring global access to the event.
Exhibitions
18.10.2023 - 21.01.2024

JAPANESE UKIYO-E WOODBLOCK PRINTS IN BULGARIAN COLLECTIONS

Kvadrat 500
In this exhibition, the main themes of Japanese engravings in all the collections in Bulgaria are on display together for the first time: those of the National Gallery, the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the art galleries in Sliven and Silistra, and Plovdiv City Art Gallery. The subjects include beautiful women and actors, images of birds and flowers, and popular compositions dedicated to famous places and routes.
Japanese ukiyo-e prints captured the urban culture of the Edo period (1603–1868), documenting Japan’s opening to the world during the Meiji era (1868–1912) and paving their way to European markets. They influenced the development of art and culture in Europe, especially among the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. These engravings also aroused interest in Bulgaria where, in several museum collections, which began to take shape around the mid-20th century, some of the most popular themes were represented. Ukiyo-e is a traditional genre of Japanese art, literally translated as ‘pictures of the floating (transient/earthly) world’: their new content depicted a society devoted to pleasure, and they could be viewed as images illustrating everyday life.
In addition to the exhibition (included in the 2023 programme of the 34th edition of the Days of Japanese Culture) lectures, specialised tours and workshops will be held, aimed mainly at children and young people. From 22 November to 17 December 2023, prints from the collection of the National Gallery will be exhibited at the Boris Denev Art Gallery in Veliko Tarnovo.
The event was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture, the assistance of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (NAIM-BAS), and the galleries in Plovdiv, Silistra and Sliven.
Curator: Zlatka Dimitrova
Assistant curator: Maria Marinova
Consultants: Prof. Junichi Okubo, National Museum of Japanese History; and Chief Assistant Professor Stella Zhivkova, PhD, St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University.
Exhibitions
14.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

MESSAGES | 120th Anniversary of the Birth of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev

Under the Auspices of Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria and with the Financial Support of the Ministry of Culture
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist.
This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even, in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature. Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls. The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.
Exhibitions
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
24.10.2023 - 22.01.2024

PINK CLOUD

Kvadrat 500
The National Gallery once again stands for the cause of the Emprove Foundation. Rada Yakova presents 12 rounded objects of steel mesh in delicate shades of pink, which combine a sense of solidity with a soft airiness, corresponding to the feminine essence. The Foundation’s concept recognises the power—visible and invisible—that generates wind in the sails, unites and safeguards. The installation also embodies support in society and the ability to back each other up in the turbulent storms of life.
The installation takes a new path after a summer full of events and opens up an opportunity for dialogue on socially significant issues. It successfully fulfilled its function as a rallying point for hundreds of Sofia Summer Fest visitors to connect with the Emprove cause, watching over the sheltered pink space for support and meetings with the Foundation team.
The artist remarks: ‘A Pink Cloud is always watching over us, concealing its unsuspected capability. It is that hidden power that unites women, bringing a sense of support and protection.’
The opening at Kvadrat 500 will be complemented by an immersive experience in a dedicated room. There, guests will be able to feel the diversity of delicate female power through scores of portraits created by Rada Yakova during three months spent beneath the ‘shadow’ of the cloud. The Sensory Theatre will ensure complete immersion in them with its audio-journey, which took the women in the portraits into a meditative state during their sessions with the artist.
RADA YAKOVA is an artist whose creative life is shared between Sofia and The Hague. In 2001, she moved to Vienna, where she studied at one of the best art universities in Europe, Die Angewandte. Her diploma won her a creativity award from Scholz & Friends, Zürich, in 2009. Since then, she has taken up artistic performance as her professional path. Her works have been shown in galleries in Prague, Amsterdam, The Hague, New York, Vienna, and London and, in 2019, her RedRoom installation was included in an exhibition at the Venice Biennale. Drawing has always been her passion and, over the last three years, she has discovered novel forms of artistic expression, the latest example being the Pink Cloud installation in support of the Emprove Foundation. She describes herself as an artist who, through art, seeks for, reflects on, and protects women. Her style is bright and memorable, exactly like Rada Yakova herself.
The EMPROVE FOUNDATION mission is to raise awareness of the earliest signs of violence in relationships, to change public attitudes, and to support women and girls who have experienced violence. Its activities include public campaigns for early prevention and awareness, free psychological and legal support for female survivors of violence, coaching, events, trainings, group therapy sessions, art initiatives, as well as building the Women Survivors community, which supports other women on their way to change and a new life.
This exhibition was made possible through the kind hospitality of Kvadrat 500 and the support of the Bulgarian Fund for Women, Sofia Municipality, JC Decaux.
Exhibitions
20.02.2023 - 31.12.2023

THE APOSTLE’S CONFESSION

Multimedia exposition dedicated to 150 years since the death of the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski.
Using holographic technology on a large-scale video wall, a re-enactment of the trial of the Apostle of Freedom is displayed, and significant moments of his life are brought back to life. Veselin Plachkov portrays Vasil Levski. Actors Ivan Trenev, Lyubov Pavlova, Rumen Ivanov, Alexander Georgiev, Biser Marinov and Nikola Dodov are also participants. Nelly Dimitrova is the screenwriter; Dimitar Gochev, the director; Simeon Parashkevov and Dimitar Gochev, cinematographers; Atanas Gendov, composer; Pirina Veselinova, Evgeni Gospodinov and the Svetoglas Quartet, musical performers; sensor studio, animation and mapping; Hristo Karagyozov, audio mixing and post-production; Ivo Milev, creative producer; and Tsvetoslav Borisov, executive producer.
The National Gallery and the Vasil Levski All-Bulgarian Committee created the exposition, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture and donations by the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation, Kaufland Bulgaria EOOD, Aurubis Bulgaria JSC, Vazovski Machinery Works JSC – Sopot, and patriotic Bulgarians.
Kvadrat 500, entrance at 95, Vasil Levski Blvd., Sofia
Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m.
The screenings are 30 minutes away, starting at 10 am
Bookings for groups of up to 20 people: +359 879 834 025
FREE ADMISSION
Exhibitions
20.09.2023 - 28.04.2024

The Art of Drawing a Book

Kvadrat 500 It is magical to experience the written word, but even more fascinating to complement it with drawings. In the art of illustration, text and image go hand in hand, enclosed between the covers of a book. Ivan Kyosev (1933–1994) was one of the emblematic artists who devoted their creative energy and talent to illustration, book design and typography. Born in Burgas, he graduated in Illustration from the Academy of Arts in Sofia in 1957, under Prof. Iliya Beshkov. Ivan Kyosev created numerous memorable images that remain engraved in the minds of readers of all ages. His illustrations demonstrate a remarkable precision of execution, an affinity for detail, attention to the text and a rich imagination.
In his drawings, the artist frequently fits the entire literary text into the small compositional area. In a delicate and skilful way, he interweaves iconographic examples, details that draw us into the epoch described in the content, or teasing attributes characteristic of the time in which the illustrations were created. All this diversity is presented to inquisitive readers in colour or in black and white in such a way that they can share the pleasure the illustrator felt in creating his works.
Viewed with the benefit of hindsight, Ivan Kyosev’s illustrations are relevant even today; they evoke fond memories of a bygone time and our enjoyment of the contact with literary works.
Exhibitions