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Saturday 21 January 2023
16 January 2023 - 22 January 2023
September 2023
18.10.2022 - 12.02.2023

LILYANA ROUSSEVA (1932 – 2009) | Retrospective Exhibition

Opening on Tuesday, 18 October, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Lilyana Rousseva’s name is well known to those who were participants in or followed the development of the visual arts in Bulgaria in the second half of the 20th century. The artist’s work inarguably represents a significant share of the leading directions and trends in the art of that time, both in its appearance and character. The current exhibition on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the artist’s birth is an opportunity not only to touch her world in paintings, watercolours, and drawings once again, but also to understand and experience them in a new light, more fully and overall in terms of her undisputed contribution to our artistic culture.
In the world the artist built, we will not encounter conflicts or contradictions, existential dramas or the self-centred self-disclosure of the artist’s Ego so common in the world of the contemporary artist. Nor will we find signs of forced and domineering expression emphasizing the subjective beginning. Quite the contrary – Lilyana Rousseva’s ethical attitude implies a reduction of the self and a quiet, unobtrusive reverence for the enigma of the other and “the courage of the artist to protect the liberated intimacy of the female personality” (Kiril Krastev).
Through landscapes, portraits, self-portraits, still lifes, figural compositions, and nudes, an attempt has been made to encompass the entire genre and thematic variety of Lilyana Rousseva’s paintings. Included are paintings and drawings from the inventory of the National Gallery, the Sofia City Art Gallery, the art galleries in Pleven, Gabrovo, Kyustendil, Plovdiv, Ruse, Varna, Lovech, Sliven, and Smolyan, from her heirs and from private collectors. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with texts by Prof. Chavdar Popov and Ivo Milev. It has been realized through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture.
The curator is Ivo Milev, with his assistant, Dr. Tanya Staneva.
01.12.2022 - 31.03.2023

Leda Starcheva | Connected Corpora

Vera Nedkova In the Home of Vera Nedkova’, the programme launched in 2019, continues to present different visions and viewpoints of contemporary artists in an atmosphere filled with memories and marked by the artist’s intellectual and creative presence and the spirit of the times in which she lived.
Inspired by the place, Leda Starcheva is arranging an exhibition titled ‘Connected Corpora’. Immersed in the idyll of the small streets on the way from her home to her atelier, she observed: ‘I pass by impenetrable concrete—monuments to the industry that is the mainstay of the world… I see the debris and protruding reinforcements.’
In this exhibition, Starcheva has included clean and expressive industrial shapes and constructions. She analyses and explores the boundaries and integrity of objects, her work being characterised by the structuring of small-scale models in which the individual elements transform into multiple, distinct fragments. The artist searches for the interrelationship between the volumes, parts and individual segments, which she connects and places at different angles and perspectives. The precision with which she selects and uses materials complements the feeling of lightness, exquisiteness and ephemerality.
08.12.2022 - 26.03.2023


Museum of Art from the Socialist Period
The exhibition features 90 paintings, graphics and sculptures by Bulgarian artists from the stock of the National Gallery. The artists include Alexander Zhendov, Iliya Beshkov, Dechko Uzunov, Stoyan Venev, Iliya Petrov, Ioan Leviev, Marko Behar, Todor Panayotov, Lyuba Palikarova, and Yanko Pavlov.
The simple human truths of a mother’s love, the birth of new life, and hope for the days to come, determine the emotional charge of a generalised image of the child that can, without much difficulty, be ‘taken out’ of its temporal and ideological context so as to acquire the meaning of a metaphor for the world and the spirit of every epoch. The theme of the child in art did not fall outside the ideological instrumentarium and propaganda functions of totalitarian systems, whatever the sign mounted on their facades. The ideologeme was strong enough not to be used.
Roles were assigned to the child, which it had to perform.
The typology of the image was clearly revealed: ‘the child-hero’ and ‘the child-victim’ of wars and social injustice; the child both as an object and a subject of the new social reality. For a period of almost fifty years, a significant corpus of thematic works was created in painting, sculpture, graphics, and all other spheres of Bulgarian artistic culture.
It was Alexander Zhendov who developed this theme most consistently. He was the first artist in Bulgaria—as early as the 1920s—to turn the children of the big city into his main characters. In the 1960s and 1970s, Georgi Pavlov – Pavleto, Lilyana Rousseva, Keazim Isinov, and Suli Seferov (to name but a few), placed the image of the child at the centre of their oeuvres.
15.12.2022 - 29.01.2023

Kiril Cholakov FRA/BETWEEN

Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
Kiril Cholakov entitles his exhibition at the museum, FRA/BETWEEN. Not only because the artist lives and works, travelling between two places—Rimini in Italy and the village of Izvor in Bulgaria, between different languages and cultures; but also because he places the viewer in a position FRA/BETWEEN the artist’s personal history, private recollections, the whims of consciousness and the reality we are involved in, our collective memory and common biography; between the anecdotes that sneak into his journal of drawings, to universal truths.
Kiril Cholakov’s solo exhibition includes two personages: first, that of the artist and, second, a character from a book-phantom. Led by their curator, the pair embark on a strange game even before having met. Nadezhda Dzhakova invites the writer Irina Batkova to compose text that responds in an unusual way to the artist’s oeuvre, to appear in the exhibition as excerpts from book-phantoms. In addition to Kiril Cholakov’s drawings, site-specific works, and paintings, and the extracts from book-phantoms by Irina Batkova, a video portrait of the artist by director Milena Kaneva can also be viewed.
In literary passages, Kiril Cholakov discovers visual images for his drawings. Thus, the hero of the book suddenly sneaks into the large-format entanglement of drawings that the artist makes on the museum walls. The image of the man-stork, having woven a nest of his thoughts and ideas, walking in the fog and snow, turning into a lonely bare tree, follows his creator, the artist, from one gallery to the next. The author-artists in the exhibition become more than one, while the tale transforms into multiple narratives that often have no beginning or end.
The hero in the book-phantom speaks of those places of new possibilities in which the chain of connected events, where one thing turns into something else, is perceptible. The seemingly chaotic directions resemble a labyrinth, which after a long, winding trail leads you back to the beginning…
Such is the large-format drawing on the wall: a place for observation that, with prolonged staring, loses its clear outlines—the silhouettes of objects, animals, plants, and people become emptied of narrative, disintegrating to form ‘a new web’, an all-consuming or, rather, an all-embracing vision. FRA/BETWEEN is the special space for shifting the layers, for breaking down and rebuilding the images. A transitional space generated by the encounters or brushing together of different worlds, a border point of disintegration, a farewell to watching the images of the material world and building new ones.
This drawing on the walls of the museum will gradually fade and, when the exhibition ends, it will disappear, just as our memories are obliterated with time.
The exhibition is the sixth in the Autobiography Project of the Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art programme.
16.12.2022 - 19.03.2023


Curator: Dr Maria Vassileva
The Palace
The National Gallery presents artist Georges Papazoff, whose creative path led him from Yambol to Paris. This extensive exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of his death and is his first significant retrospective in Bulgaria since the 1988 exhibition, ‘George Papazoff. Artworks from the Fund of the Petit Palais Museum, Geneva’, also held in Sofia.
Curator Dr Maria Vassileva has included in the exposition more than 100 paintings and drawings from the National Gallery in Sofia, the Georges Papazoff Art Gallery in Yambol, the Association des amis du Petit Palais Museum in Geneva, Switzerland, the National Museum of Modern Art in Zagreb, Croatia, as well as from the corporate collection of Universal Investment Advisory SA, Geneva. Most of the works are being shown in Bulgaria for the first time. Maria Vassileva noted: ‘Georges Papazoff was a typical example of the universal movements of the first decades of the 20th century, when boundaries were provisional and art was a powerful unifying instrument. His oeuvre, even today, connects several countries and continues the multilingual dialogue on true values.’
Across seven galleries on the second floor of the Palace, the exhibition design by architects Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut follows a chronological and thematic perusal of the artist’s oeuvre in the context of European Surrealism. Viewers have the opportunity to admire some of his earliest drawings, whether created in Prague or prompted by his encounters with the German Expressionists in Munich and Berlin, as well as frottages and sand compositions that Papazoff produced in the 1920s. Works inspired by Bulgarian folklore tradition are included: ‘The Apron’ (1927), ‘Fire’ (1925–26), ‘Composition’ (ca. 1925), and ‘The Bulgarian Strength’ (1928).
А central place is assigned to the portrait of the artist’s mother, and to paintings dedicated to his friend André Derain. A portrait of Georges Papazoff by Derain is also on display. One of the exhibition’s highlights is Papazoff’s 1957 version of Henri Rousseau’s ‘Sleeping Gypsy’ of 1897, which is accompanied by the series, ‘Circus Dogs’ and ‘Gladiators’, also developed at that time. The artist found great inspiration in the sea and created a number of works on marine themes, as well as landscapes of the Dordogne region of France. A significant portion of his oeuvre was also occupied by the series titled ‘Bathers’, on which he worked from the 1920s into the 1960s.
Prominence is given to paintings from the ‘Éclaireurs’ (‘Illuminators’) series, relating to his wartime memories and the soldiers on reconnaissance who illuminated the battlefield with lanterns to assess the situation at the front.
In stylistic terms, these paintings constitute his original artistic contribution, where traces of Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism are to be found. Their deep symbolic nature predetermined our adoption of the series heading as the title of the present exhibition.
In parallel with the exhibition at the Palace, guest works by Papazoff from the art galleries in Sliven and Yambol can be viewed in Hall 7 of Kvadrat 500—where his artworks are traditionally on display in the National Gallery’s permanent exposition.
This exhibition was made possible with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria, and courtesy of Mr Gueorgui Vassilev and Universal Investment Advisory SA, Geneva.

My father the painter

Music - Peter Stupel, Konstantin Dragnev
1:00 without intermission
Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events


Chamber hall
Music and Dance Events