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Wednesday 28 February 2024
26 February 2024 - 03 March 2024
April 2024
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
01.02.2024
Religious Holidays
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
01.02.2024

BRAHMS – TCHAIKOVSKY

Conductor
Murat Cem Orhan
Soloist/s
Mehai Rio
Pavel Berman
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Johannes Brahms - Concerto for Violin, Violoncello and Orchestra in a minor, op.102
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No.3
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
02.02.2024

THE CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS

Children's performance to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns - Premiere
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
02.02.2024

DON CARLO

Opera by Giuseppe Verdi
Duration 3:15 Intermission 1
Main Hall
It is performed in Italian, with Bulgarian and English subtitles
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
03.02.2024

THE CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS

Children's performance to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns - Premiere
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
03.02.2024

SLEEPING BEAUTY

Ballet adapted for children after the music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
03.02.2024

MADAMA BUTTERFLY

Opera by Giacomo Puccini
Duration 3:00 Intermission 1
Main Hall
It is performed in Italian, with Bulgarian and English subtitles
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
04.02.2024

THE CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS

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

DON PASQUALE

Duration - 2:30 with one intermission
Main Hall
It is performed in Italian, with Bulgarian and English subtitles
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

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

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

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

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
07.02.2024

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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
08.02.2024

RUDOLF BUCHBINDER & EMMANUEL TJEKNAVORIAN

Conductor
Emmanuel Tjeknavorian
Soloist/s
Rudolf Buchbinder
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Ludwig van Beethoven - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.1 in C Major Op.15
Richard Strauss - Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks - Tone Poem, op.28
Richard Wagner - Concert Overture "Faust"
Richard Wagner - Introduction and Libestod of Isolde from Opera "Tristan und Isolde"
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
09.02.2024

WINNIE THE POOH

Musical by Andrey Drenikov
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
09.02.2024

SWAN LAKE

Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Duration 3:20 Intermission 3
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
10.02.2024

THE HERMIT OF RILA

A musical poem adapted for children
/Music by Father Kiril Popov / Premiere
Chamber hall
It is performed in Bulgarian
Music and Dance Events
10.02.2024

THE THREE FAIRIES AND THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

musical by Dimitar Kostantsaliev
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
10.02.2024

SWAN LAKE

Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Duration 3:20 Intermission 3
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

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

MARIA NALBANTOVA | Paradise Marsh

The exhibition Paradise Marsh draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected, maintaining or changing the state of the wetland environment and its future.
Maria Nalbantova was inspired by the artistic residency program at the Dragoman Marsh, with the WaterLands project, for which she had been selected in 2023. She explored the intertwined existence of the variety of biological species inhabiting this protected area and questions our established perception of the concept of wetlands, introducing us literally and figuratively to an unexpected and unfamiliar matter. A marsh that synthesises, generates and reflects, breathes and multiplies, clogs, entrains and rots.
With a pronounced sensitivity to spaces, shaped by sculptural physicality and a sense of purity, tranquillity, harmony, balance and experiment, Nalbantova confronts social reality and hints at our attitude towards the surrounding environment and the care and responsibility we bear by existing.
The three sculptural objects in the centre of the gallery are composed of reeds, carefully harvested and collected by the artist when the ecosystem of the Dragoman Marsh allows such actions. Subsequently, the plant matter was subjected to a labour-intensive treatment and complex organic processes, until it reaches this transparent and mysterious bio matter resembling the skin of embryos that seem about to develop and become living creatures. As if in opposition to the 4th-century Roman tomb permanently displayed in the chamber, or as its natural extension: for where there is death, there has been and will continue to be life. The light and sound emanating from these spatial objects form another ‘living’ element of the organic matter created by the artist. Their presence challenges our sensitivity to the exhibition environment and raises the question: what is it that we are looking at?
‘Some Aspects of Unsteady Walking’, a work shown in the smaller gallery, accelerates our orientation in the marsh and alludes to natural everyday life, when man is absent. The boots in which the video installation Is projected were used by the artist during her field research, and the video material itself is a sample of the photo traps set by the researchers of the Dragoman Marsh. Although she does not claim to be an eco-activist, Maria Nalbantova constantly explores the topic of ecological balance, so important to our common life, and presents a critical look at the present and the opportunities that open up before us with our every action or inaction.
For we are all floundering together in the marsh.
Curator: Martina Yordanova
The Paradise Marsh exhibition was realized thanks to: Georgi Rayzhekov and Stefan Domuzov: production BALKANI Wildlife Society, WWF Bulgaria, WaterLANDS Artist Residency ProgrammeAntoni Rayzhekov: sound and light design Simeon Yanchev, Robotev: hardware The Collective, Antonia Dimitrova and Business Park Open Atelier ProgramPetar Rayzhekov and Studio Orpheus
Exhibitions
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
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
11.02.2024

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE

Opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – version adapted for children
Runnig time: 01:00
Chamber hall
Performed in Bulgarian.
Music and Dance Events
11.02.2024

SWAN LAKE

Ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Duration 3:20 Intermission 3
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
15.02.2024

LUDMIL ANGELOV PRESENTS GERSHWIN

Conductor
Vladimir Kiradjiev
Soloist/s
Ludmil Angelov
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
George Gershwin - The Piano Concerto in F
George Gershwin - Rhapsody No.2 for Piano & Orchestra
George Gershwin - "Rhapsody in blue"
George Gershwin - "I Got Rhythm" Variations
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
16.02.2024

THE CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS

Children's performance to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns - Premiere
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
17.02.2024

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

Musical fairy-tale by Alexander Vladigerov
Chamber
Music and Dance Events
17.02.2024

HÄNSEL UND GRETEL

Opera for children by Engelbert Humperdinck
Runnig time: 01:00
Chamber hall
Performed in Bulgarian
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
18.02.2024
Music and Dance Events
18.02.2024

THE THREE PIGGIES

Musical by Alexandar Raichev
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
22.02.2024

ADOLPHE ADAM – GRISELDIS (WORLD PREMIERE)

Conductor
Dario Salvi
Soloist/s
Olga Perrier
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
National Philharmonic Choir
Program
Adolphe Adam - Griseldis
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
23.02.2024

SHEGOBISHKO ON THE ISLAND OF MIRACLES

Musical Georgi Kostov
Duration: 60 minutes
Chamber hall
Performed in Bulgarian
Music and Dance Events
23.02.2024

MEDEA

Opera by Luigi Cherubini
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
24.02.2024

THE CARNIVAL OF ANIMALS

Children's performance to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns - Premiere
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
24.02.2024

DAS RHEINGOLD

Opera by Richard Wagner – adapted for children
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events
24.02.2024

MEDEA

Opera by Luigi Cherubini
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
25.02.2024
Music and Dance Events
25.02.2024

MEDEA

Opera by Luigi Cherubini
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events
25.02.2024

MOZART – TCHAIKOVSKY

Conductor
Youngmin Park
Soloist/s
Federico Colli
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Serenade for String Orchestra in C major, Op. 48
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No.21 in C Dur K.467
Music and Dance Events
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
09.01.2024 - 07.04.2024

CHRISTO – ART AND COLORS | Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge

Kvadrat 500, Hall 27
In 2012, Vladimir Tchimov and his wife donated to the then National Gallery for Foreign Art works by Christo Yavacheff – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. These works have been exhibited in hall 27 of Kvadrat 500 since its opening. Nearly 10 years later, Mr. Tchimov makes a new donation, provoked by a personal interpretation of projects that outline Christo’s international creative success.
In a chamber temporary exhibition in hall 27, Mr. Tchimov presents his thesis in relation to the works “On the Market” and “Male Head”.
Exhibitions
02.11.2023 - 31.03.2024

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

Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery. The artists include Iliya Beshkov, Alexander Zhendov, Boris Angelushev, Stoyan Venev, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Asen Grozev, Georgi Anastasov, Tsvetan Tsekov – Karandash, Georgi Chaushov, and Stefan Despodov.
This is an attempt to reconstruct the cartoon genre under the conditions of the totalitarian system of management of the political, social, and cultural life in Bulgaria between 1944 and 1989.
The cartoon’s place was in the newspaper. The majority of the exhibited cartoons had appeared on the pages of the Shturmovak [Storm Trooper] weekly and the Chasovoy [Sentry] front-line paper—a specialised publication for the Bulgarian army fighting the Nazis on the battlefronts of Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Austria. In 1946, the first issue of the weekly humorous newspaper, Starshel [Hornet], came out, its title having since become a byword for, and the main tribune of, Bulgarian cartoon art.
The comic, as an aesthetic and ethical category, has long since become a powerful tool for influence, propaganda, and the imposition of ideas and ideologies. Totalitarian societies are adept at exploiting and turning into a weapon this unique ability of the human being—to laugh. Under the conditions of the Cold War, the main subject of satire was the political and economic doctrine of the Western world.
Themes on the politics of the hegemonic Party were absolutely taboo. The State was subjected to criticism down to the lowest administrative levels—the clerks working in public services. Negative phenomena—bureaucracy, poor customer service, inefficiency and low quality of production, and the formal attitude to work—became the target of cartoonists.
From today’s point of view, it is difficult to understand their meaning or adjust to their frequency without being familiar with the history and essence of the times in which they were created. And conversely—it is the very art of these cartoons that gives us an opportunity to reconstruct the not-so-distant past, to feel the visible and invisible dividing lines between these two worlds and, most importantly, to define for ourselves the psychogram of an epoch.
Exhibitions
26.01.2024 - 24.03.2024

KOLIO KARAMFILOV | Beyond the Man

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
The exhibition comprises Kolio Karamfilov’s previously unshown, or little-known, works, selected by curator Nadezhda Dzhakova and collated with the assistance of his son Rosen Karamfilov and gallerist Radost Kotseva. Most prominent in the selection was the recurring motif of man, which in Kolyo Karamfilov’s case was taken beyond the usual imagery, transforming it into a symbol, a signature of the artist and his oeuvre. ‘Kolio K. changed the world with his every exhibition while he was with us here on earth. As he himself repeatedly said—to tell us a story, for a little while. Until the next story he was to tell us, again for a little while. The stories did not end with his climbing the stairway to heaven. On the contrary. The responsibility for telling them, however, rests with all of us who love him with every fibre of our being, to the very edge of infinity. We continue to share with admirers of high art the stories that have remained forever in his paintings, in his drawings, in every stroke and every millimetre of essence. Yes, it is a fact that we cannot tell them in his way. But we try to do it the way he would want it. And he would want the audience to find it infinitely interesting. The exhibition, ‘Beyond the Man’, is exactly that: one of Kolio K.’s stories that we have never told before. And which we shall tell with bated breath. I thank everyone who is a part of it: all the organisers, all art collectors; all those who did this for a Bulgarian genius. He deserves it.’ (Rosen Karamfilov) Media Partner: BTA / Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
Exhibitions
07.02.2024 - 28.04.2024

Krasimir Karabadjakov | TROUBLED SURFACES

The Palace
The paintings featured in the exhibition outline the territory of the ‘imagerial compulsions’ that have haunted Krasimir Karabadjakov over the years; a reign in which his view of painting is—iconographically, thematically, and creatively—elevated above banality.
With his very choice of surface, the artist avoids flatness and its attendant dialogue, in order deliberately to put an end to such garrulity. A surface as fine as a sheet of aluminium (or other material) does not resonate until Karabadjakov creates a second surface on which he unfolds his unexpected scenes, constructed with details and personages that are never literal. Fantastical, original fragments—individual images, impulses and obsessions, which the artist gathers in one place—form the major series of paintings on which he has worked throughout the years: ‘Hobby’, ‘Punishment’, ‘Closed Topic’, ‘To the North’, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, ‘Landscapes’, ‘Balkan Landscape’, ‘Airport’, ‘HORROR’, and ‘GOLD’.
Karabadjakov’s painting indubitably belongs to the domain of the conceptual. His markedly personal expressive gesture makes it difficult to draw a direct parallel with the oeuvre of any other artist working in a similar area. The dynamism of form, the subtle irony and sensitivity of vision, the shifting of dimension and the skill in transforming the space; all are major characteristics of his art. He adroitly creates the sense of a troubled surface that seems to vibrate and move yet remain constantly insecure. Avoiding familiar, cosy techniques in building the composition and the principles of the golden ratio, Karabadjakov frequently takes an approach inherent in an Asian compositional style—the white area in the upper section of the canvas is deliberately enlarged, while the clean vertical is intersected by the horizontal. This makes the viewer’s gaze hesitant and uncertain, as in an encounter with Eastern art.
The surface of the works is expressive, owing primarily to the energy accumulated as a result of a concentrated and intensive interaction with the pictorial material. The artist invariably feels a certain degree of unquiet in using the flat form of expression intrinsic in painting, familiar as he is with numerous examples from the world history of art, as well as the rapid development of new technologies in today’s virtual and visual worlds. Krasimir Karabadjakov graduated in Painting in 1988 from the National Academy of Arts, in the class of Prof. Petar Mihaylov. From his earliest appearances, he was appraised as a painter who had unreservedly distanced himself from traditional figurative language. He was one of the five founders of the Disco ’95 group, along with artists Rumen Zhekov, Krasimir Dobrev, Dimitar Mitovski and Kolio Karamfilov. Since 2010, he has been teaching painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Sts Cyril and Methodius University, Veliko Tarnovo. Many of his students have become talented contemporary artists.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency, Yana Bratanova, exhibition curator.
Exhibitions
23.11.2023 - 10.03.2024

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

Kvadrat 500
Curator: Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
Design: Svetlana Mircheva
Powerful, uncompromising, provocative and diverse in her oeuvre, Magda Abazova fills her art space with colours, ideas and light, without unnecessary ostentation, lofty slogans or strident messages. The artist did not follow any particular styles, dogmas or prescriptions; she distanced herself from the trends of her time, while simultaneously anticipating them. Innovative, experimenting, searching, she was not afraid to try novel stylistic fashions and motifs, nor to return to already familiar themes and techniques. She effortlessly combined, in a single exposition, a series of interiors, portraits, still lifes and landscapes, developed figural scenes alternating with abstract compositions. Her painterly style is forceful, definitive and distinct, but also poetic, romantic and delicate.
Despite her prolific output, Magda Abazova held only a few solo exhibitions. By the 1980s, there had been only two, which explains why she was little known to the public apart from specialists and colleagues. Ivan Kirkov, Nayden Petkov, Todor Panayotov, Lyuben Zidarov—these artists were Magda Abazova’s friends and adherents. They observed that Magda was different in each successive series of paintings: unobtrusive and non-aggressive, but definitely standing out among the hundreds of other participants in the General Art Exhibitions of the 1970s and 1980s.
In the 1990s, she took part in the Process Space Art Festival.
Dimitar Grozdanov, the founder of the festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.
This exhibition recreates Magda Abazova’s poeticized reality, where the artist is a lyrical character and creator; follows Magda’s play of colour and style in all its manifoldness, but also describes distinct domains of genre and theme. The exhibition, and its bilingual catalogue (translated by Nigrita Davies), comprises over 100 works by the artist, including one of her earliest, ‘Landscape with Figure’(1948); ‘Self-portrait’ (1962), awarded the grand prize for painting by the Union of Bulgarian Artists; paintings from the cycles ‘Interiors in Koprivshtitsa’ (1969–71) and ‘Rhodope Landscapes’ (1968–72); the social compositions ‘Famine in the Volga River Region’ (1979) and ‘10 January 1944’ (1985); the large-format abstractions, including ‘Wave’ (1982) and ‘Wilderness and Nothing in It (after Buddha)’; and assemblages characteristic of her later oeuvre, such as ‘Four Boats’ (2001).
In harmony with her art, poems dedicated to Magda by Tania Kolovska, Hristo Radevski and Palmi Ranchev, contribute to the poeticisation of the space. The viewer is challenged to arrange these scattered stanzas in a complete poetic perception of her painting—lyrically monumental, metaphorical, and allegorical. The exhibition was made possible with the cooperation of: The Union of Bulgarian Artists; Sofia City Art Gallery; Plovdiv City Art Gallery; Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery, Varna; Ruse Art Gallery; Stanislav Dospevski Art Gallery, Pazardzhik; Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery, Gabrovo; Kazanlak Art Gallery; Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery, Kyustendil; Elena Karamihaylova Art Gallery, Shumen; Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery, Sliven; Smolyan Art Gallery; Dobrich Art Gallery; Stara Zagora Art Gallery; Seasons Gallery, Sofia; the Darik Collection; the Process Space Foundation; photographers Deni Krastev and Zafer Galibov; art critic and photographer Zheni Hristova, and private collectors.
Exhibitions
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
15.02.2024 - 13.09.2024

Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova | PRESERVATION

Vera Nedkova House Museum
‘In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with a myriad memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova’s exhibition re-evaluates the significance and meaning of the times and memory of events and facts, refracted through the artist’s distinctive lens. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova conveys the memory and emotion of ‘Obsession’, an exhibition by ‘The 8th March’ group shown back in 1999 at the Sofia Central Mineral Baths, when the building was dilapidated, abandoned to the vagaries of time, with its fate still unclear. Through the installations, ‘Obsession—25 Years Later’ (2024), a 14-minute video, and ‘Testimony’ (1999), Lyahova takes us back to the pathos of the time. Based on the installation from that exhibition and works produced in 2019, she has created a small pencil drawing. Her attempt to rethink and superimpose a system of images and facts reveals a curiosity that the artist shares with the viewer.
The basis of the present exhibition is the opportunity for personal perusal of, and extensive research into, the issue of preserving the museum as an institution and, simultaneously, transferring memory. Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova sets out the idea of the transition and essence of the image, its presence in the domain of feelings, and the inherent associations evoked in the mind. Diana Draganova-Stier, exhibition curator
Exhibitions
13.02.2024 - 10.03.2024

QUANTUM SYMPHONY | Audiovisual installation | SENZOR STUDIO

The Palace
Quantum Symphony is the first-of-its-kind installation in Bulgaria that employs revolutionary holographic technology to create a captivating sensory experience. This is an invitation to a magical journey which promises to leave a lasting impression on those who partake in it by bringing them beyond the boundaries of common perception.
The visitors will witness an exceptional cosmic ambience where audiovisual effects synchronise light and sound and transform the space into a dynamic quantum universe in a fashion that is accessible and comprehensible to the general public, while at the same time provoking contemplation of the link between visible and invisible, between science and art. Each visualisation is devised according to a specifically conceived soundscape, which captures the essence of quantum reality, transforming the Ball Room of The Palace into a miraculous world.
Senzor Studio focuses on the creation of sophisticated art installations that expand the space and stimulate the senses.
Despite the fact that the studio was recently founded, its team has gained over a decade of experience in the field of art installations through different international projects and initiatives, offering innovative solutions that blend technology, art and interactivity.
The event is organised with the support of Noble House.
Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.
Photographs: Quantum Symphony © Senzor Studio
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
29.02.2024

JULIAN RACHLIN & GEORGI DIMITROV

Conductor
Georgi Dimitrov
Soloist/s
Julian Rachlin
Ensemble
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra
Program
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No.3 in G major, K.216
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Lucio Silla Overture, K. 135
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No.36, "Linz"
Music and Dance Events
29.02.2024

LA BOHÈME

Opera by Giacomo Puccini /With the special participation of Sonya Yoncheva
Main Hall
Music and Dance Events