artnewscafé bulletin

In "This month" section, artnewscafe bulletin offers a wide selection of exhibitions, events, and open calls in the field of contemporary art in Bulgaria – Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo and in Europe.  

The monthly bulletin strives to offer an accessible, thoughtful, and quality information about what’s happening on the Bulgarian and European visual arts stage. artnewscafe bulletin started in 2008 as a project of Open Arts Foundation. In July 2022 the bulletin joined Open Art Files as a permanent collaboration offering the monthly bulletin also in English.

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Denislav Stoychev

Untitled, 2010.



  • Description: cover: Denislav Stoychev, work from the solo exhibition “Together for a little while. Millennials in Bulgaria. 2010 – 2016”, Synthesis Gallery, 55 “Vasil Levski” Blvd, Sofia, February 1 – April 2
  • Copyright: Denislav Stoychev


¬ Cristina de Middel / On the edge of reality / solo show / FotoFabrika Festival, National Gallery, The Palace, 1, Knyaz Alexander I Sq., / January 25 – March 17. The exhibition of the globally renowned photographer and current president of the Magnum collective presents images from five of her most popular photographic series, including The Afronauts and This Is What Hatred Did, which have brought her immense popularity and global recognition. Cristina de Middel explores the dual relationship of photography with truth. Blending documentary and conceptual photography, she plays with reconstructions and symbols to blur the boundaries between reality and fiction while commenting on pressing issues of our time.

¬ Kolio Karamfilov / Beyound the man / solo exhibition / Sofia Arsenal – Museum of contemporary art, 2, Cherni Vrah Blvd. / January 26 – March 24. 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.    

¬ Krasimir Karabadjakov / Troubled surfaces / solo show / curated by Yana Bratanova / National Gallery, The Palace, 1, Knyaz Alexander I Sq. / February 7 – April 28. “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. 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.” – Yana Bratanova

¬ Maria Nalbantova / Paradise Marsh / solo exhibition / curated by Martina Yordanova / National Gallery, Kvadrat 500, 1, 19th February St. / December 14 – February 11. “The exhibition draws us into the territory of the marshland as an artistic metaphor, but also as an ecosystem where all its inhabitants are continuously connected. 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.” – Martina Yordanova.

¬ Magda Abazova / Centenary of the Artist’s Birth / retrospective exhibition / curated by Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD / National Gallery, Kvadrat 500, 1, 19th February St. / November 23 – March 10. 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. 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. Dimitar Grozdanov, founder of the Process Space Art Festival, an art historian and curator, defined her as the youngsters’ favourite, one of the first Bulgarian avant-garde artists.  

¬ Christo – art and colours. Deconstruction of the Academic Knowledge / solo exhibition / National Gallery, Kvadrat 500, 1, 19th February St. / January 09 – April 7.  The exhibition is based on two donations made by Vladimir Chimov to the National Gallery. The first one, made in 2012 and exhibited since then at Kvadrat 500, is composed of works by Hristo Yavashev – Christo (1935 – 2020) from his student years at the National Academy of Arts. The second, made 10 years later, is from works in which Vladimir Chimov finds a connection with projects outlining Christo's international creative success. The present exhibition interweaves these two donations.

¬ From the newspaper to the museum. Bulgarian Cartoons, 1944–1989 / archive exhibition / Museum of Art from the Socialist Period, 7, Luchezar Stanchev St. / November 2 – March 31. The exhibition presents some 150 Bulgarian cartoons from the collection of the National Gallery and presents 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 represented 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.

¬ Stanka Tsonkova – Usha / Call me Usha / retrospective exhibition / curator Vera Mlechevska / Sofia City Art Gallery, 1 Gurko Str / December 12 - February 11. The exhibition presents the public for the first time with the complete work of Stanka Tsonkova - Usha and her various creative stages of the last 50 years. The artist starts with classic black-and-white photography in 1974 only to push all possible boundaries of the medium. Her creativity is a reflection of emotional flights and painful falls, wanderings, searching for herself and "staring at the faces behind which friends hide".

¬ Yanaki Manasiev / Lonely and Standing Apart / retrospective exhibition / Sofia City Art Gallery, 1 Gen. Gurko st. / November 21 – February 11. Yanaki Manasiev is among the most prominent Bulgarian artists of the second half of the 20th century, yet he remains relatively unknown to the wider public, especially the younger generation. Lonely and Standing Apart is the most comprehensive exhibition of Yanaki Manasiev’s work. It commemorates the 90th anniversary of the artist’s birth by an exhaustive overview of his ouvre presenting both his most notable and less familiar artworks. The exhibition seeks to present all themes and narratives developed by the artist, as well as the diverse techniques he used in his creative process. Yanaki Manasiev was known among his contemporaries as a bold experimenter and innovator who introduced new themes and visual devices in 1960’s and 1970’s art, an era characterized by the effort to shed the dogma of socialist realism.

¬ Vaska Emanouilova / Images of time / retrospective exhibition / Vaska Emanuilova Gallery, 15 Yanko Sakazov Blvd. / November 9 – February 11. The focus of the exhibition is on the work of Vaska Emanouilova from the period immediately following the 1950s. During this time, she established herself as one of the most successful female sculptors in Bulgaria. For her creative work, this period was particularly fruitful. She was inspired by themes from the intimate and personal sphere, such as motherhood, the presence and role of women, and the dreamy world of children's fantasies. The exhibition includes iconic works by Vaska Emanouilova from this important and as-yet-critically-unexplored period in Bulgarian art, which define the artist's place in the history of Bulgarian visual art and characterize the artistic aspirations of her entire generation.

¬ Bilyana Furnadzhieva / After nature / solo show / Vaska Emanuilova Gallery, 15 Yanko Sakazov Blvd. / February 20 – March 20. “When Bilyana showed me what she calls her drawings and told me how she crossed the landscapes to collect plants from the heart of the forest and transparent rocks on the shore, how she allowed herself to be absorbed by the lights of the Baltic Sea for a long time - she recreated them with gold varak, in the form of a star or a line, as if gaps, as if to rewrite everything and illuminate it from the inside, collecting a panorama in several elements, each gold leaf in dialogue with its equivalent taken from nature - the long history of the golden background came back to me.” – Bertrand Schefer, writer. The exhibition is presented within the "Meeting Point" platform of the "Vaska Emanuilova" gallery.

¬ Laura Dimitrova and Stefan Altkov / Stories / joint exhibition / UBA, 6 Shipka Street / February 6 - 23. Laura Dimitrova and Stefan Altkov tell stories with the universal language of visual arts. Each of them uses a personal, unique approach to storytelling, while complementing each other. Cleaned, reduced to signs and abstractions in black and white, Laura Dimitrova's stories summarize the "description" of chronologically occurring events, stylize the chatter of the narrative, aestheticize the scars, the accidental traces, the fragments of sensations and feelings. Stefan Altkov improvises with colors, shapes, universal symbols, personal memories, using the means of expression of painting and collage and emphasizes the philosophical and poetic messages of the story.

¬ Dialogue in White / group exhibition / Goethe-Institut, 1 "Budapest" Str. / January 25 - February 18. The project presents conceptual fashion outside the traditional convention and function of fashion design. The objects (clothes) represent achromatic "spots" in geometric constructions, made of recycled textile material with an original author's intervention. The palpable absence of the body is a peculiar study of the relationship between personality and clothing and an effective principle for popularizing the philosophy of the so-called sustainable or slow fashion. This project is an expression of the purposeful attitude of the authors toward a modern, ethical and ecological clothing that is so important for us in the 21st century. With the participation of students from the third year, majoring in "Fashion Design", at the National Academy of Art Sofia: Adriana Dankova, Angela Delchev, Veronika Mateva, Gabriela Emilova, Dimitar Batinkov, Kristina Ruseva, Nadia Uzun, Nevelin Ivanov, Raya Baicheva, Svetoslava Petrova, Snezhina Dimitrova, Teodora Penkova.

¬ W(e) A(re) R(ebellious) / group exhibition / Structura Gallery, 9 Kuzman Shapkarev St. / January 23 – February 17. The exhibition "W(e) A(re) R(ebellious)" presents 15 established and young Bulgarian artists with a "rebellious" artistic practice and selected works created in the 21st century. The works are displayed in an unusual multimedia interactive object, performing the function of a "portable museum of rebellious art", accompanied by 15 stop shots/photographs of video art and video documentation of performances. Project by Antoni Raizhekov with the participation of: Alla Georgieva, Anton Terziev, Boryana Rossa & ULTRAFUTURO, Venelin Shurelov, Veneta Androva, Dimitar Solakov, Ivan Mudov, Kalin Serapionov, Krasimira Butseva, Krasimir Terziev, Lachezar Boyadzhiev, Maria Nalbantova, Pravdolyub Ivanov, Stanislav Belovsky and Destructive Creation.

¬ Valentina Traïanova / Danser chanter aimer / solo show / Swimming Pool, 10 Tsar Osvoboditel Str. / December 12 – February 29. Dance, sing and love – three words initially chosen by the artist Valentina Traïanova in French (danser chanter aimer) after she wrote the poem “I am sinking" last summer, then at a residency at Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice. “Did I have to dive in and sink for an obvious answer to emerge on the surface of the sea – that I could do nothing but continue to dance, sing and love?” Thus, the title emerged from that encounter with the world, which is also a manifesto against the decadence of today’s world that increasingly limits our freedoms. “Danser Chanter Aimer” brings together never before exhibited drawings, sound sculptures, a video performance as well as the performance “Lust”, written especially for this exhibition.

¬ Cabinet of curiosities / interactive installation / Credo Bonum Gallery, 2 Slavyanska str. / January 25 – February 17. Bilyana Desheva, Velichka Djambazova, Gergana Ivanova and Siana Damyanova intertwine art and scientific thought in an immersive installation. Inspired by the rich archive of museum collections, the artists follow the categories identified by the scientific experts and create their art in four "cabinets" or in other words 4 installations: Artificialia, giving a look at the structure of memories; Scientifica, which confronts man with the immensity of the cosmos, Naturalia, rethinking nature and its materiality, Exotica, personifying the eternal human search. The four installations are arranged in a sort of labyrinth through which the visitor passes and interacts with the art and its various forms.

¬ Antoaneta Quick & Sebastian Quick / Equilibrium / joint show / Little Bird Place Gallery, 7 "11th August" str. / February 8 - 29. “Equilibrium” presents a curious mix of media and techniques that have taken the shape of whimsical objects, collages, assemblages, installations, drawings and photographs created in close collaboration between the two artists. Sebastian and Antoаneta breathe new life into abandoned antiques, found animal and natural elements and discarded organic materials by restoring, reclaiming, reconstructing and reimagining them. They strive towards creating a resource- and consumption-conscious art that instead of impacting the environment, aims to impact people. By injecting everyday objects with elements of absurdity, in addition to a curious appearance, Antoаneta and Sebastian also give them an extraordinary meaning, so that the natural could be seen as supernatural.

¬ Simeon Simeonov / The Last Supper / solo exhibition / Charta Gallery, 12 "Vrabcha" Str. / February 1 – March 1. The forms Simeon Simeonov works with have preoccupied him for a long time. They are geometrical (architectural) and biological. Straight lines and angles are combined with rounded shapes and the soft curves of the human body. The minimalism of expression allows the artist to look into the “core” of matter and his own sensitivity. In Simeon Simeonov’s art, the gaze is always directed both inwards and outwards. The interaction with the environment and architecture of the site is of significant importance for the impact of his works. The space is subjected also to a different type of intervention – the intervention of geometry, as a projection of reason and rational thinking. He works with latex, polyurethane, air, water, canvas.

¬ Kaloyan Ivanov / Lucio Fontana, Rositsa Getsova and Hakuna Matata / solo exhibition / Arosita Gallery, 12 B Vrabcha Str / February 5 - 17. The artist Kaloyan Ivanov presents three interactive textile installations. For the author, the new works are a kind of continuation of the installations shown at the 28th Slavonian Biennale, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts in Osijek, Croatia, with curator Valentina Rados.

¬ Raicho Stanev / Quarto. Overcoming the graphic concept / solo exhibition / Depoo Gallery, 12 Vrabcha Str. / February 1 - 14. “The exhibition showcases the exciting work of a graphic designer and artist whose body of work pushes conventional boundaries and creates unique visual narratives in a language that draws the viewer into his creative worlds. These series explore the artistic journey and diverse influences of this talented creator." - Dr. Vanya Kubadinska, curator

¬ Yavor Boyanov / The Flesh; or, The absurd existence of the Unconscious pieces of meat / solo exhibition / Depoo Gallery, 12 Vrabcha Str / February 16 – March 2. "The exhibition is as shocking as it is playful look at the human over-fixation on the material and the ephemeral. Combining absurdist humor with an aesthetic inspired by body horror, I create a series of works in different techniques, in which the main character is the FLESH - shapeless pieces of meat, a metaphor for the modern automated man, who increasingly moves away from his spiritual essence and lives in the illusion of his material significance." - Yavor Boyanov

¬ Bernd Oppl / Expert Sleepers / solo show / Posta Space, 34 Knyaz Dondukov Bul. / January 25 – March 3. “Bernd Oppl’s opens up to a world abandoned by humans, where screens are the only living presences. His camera quietly traverses various environments, taking us to through the anxiety of an endlessly resuming i-phone screen, the calming oceans projected on a TV monitor, the poetry of karaoke subtitles or the fast running galaxies of screen-savers. Screens steer us through space and psychological states, indeed they seem to hold space and perception together. Turn them off and our 3D world, as well as our minds, might well dissolve back into cosmic dust.”   

¬ Siyana Shishkova / solo show / KO-OP, 5 Triaditsa Str. / January 31 – February 18. Siyana Shishkova took part in Slopi Kopi's residency in December 2023, which resulted in a pop-up exhibition entitled "The Arching Dream of the Giant Tortoise". This exhibition featured materials from the process of creating printed works, collages, a photobook and a leporello book. In the current exhibition at KO-OP's new space at Triaditsa 5, Siyana develops these formats into finished works, continuing her visual exploration of the wound in its literal and unseen manifestations. Through the presented leporello book, Siyana proposes a return to proto symbolism by tracing the formation and death of a micro-world whose subject is the gesture of the hand that weaves the birth of meaning.

¬ Denislav Stoychev / Together for a little while. Millennials in Bulgaria. 2010 - 2016 / solo exhibition / Synthesis Gallery, 55Vasil Levski” Blvd / February 1 – April 2. The series “Together for a Little While” by the young documentary photographer Denislav Stoychev was shot between 2010 and 2016, during Denislav’s final years of high school in Yambol and his first years at university in Sofia. Denislav took countless pictures of his close circle “of friends and friends of friends,” ultimately creating a kind of portrait of his generation. “Тhe hissing of months and years passing by became deafening. Coming together became a rarity. We grew apart while growing up. Our new families and professions engulfed our day to day. Nostalgia didn’t arrive then. It was already present in every fleeting moment and every shot I took, hoping to catch a few ounces of emotion. At the end, when the music finally stopped playing and the friends’ circles drifted apart, the gonzo-photographs in my archive ripened into an individual project”.

¬ Documents / group exhibition / Pressphoto club, 1 Dondukov Blvd. / January 30 - February 15. By the very act of pointing the camera, the photographer has the power to transform even the most ordinary subject into something that speaks to the zeitgeist, to the people on the street, to our shared struggles, to the family and loved ones on the other end of the phone. "Documents" meets us with themes and images that we see constantly. Those that we pass by daily without even paying attention to them. The exhibition consists of 5 visual stories that document different aspects of the daily life of the city in which we live. With photographs by Vladimir Spasov, Kiril Mladenov, Krasimira Pastirova, Neli Atanasova, Todor Stoyanov.

¬ POV Architects / Education Is the Movement from Darkness to Light / group exhibition / curated by Boris Tikvarski / Toplocentrala Gallery - Cube, 5 Emil Bersinski Str. / December 20 – February 15. The exhibition presents the project of the Bulgarian pavilion from the 18th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale held in 2023. In the last 30 years, the population of Bulgaria has been decreasing rapidly. Due to depopulation, fewer and fewer children attend classes. Dozens of schools close their doors every year. Some of the buildings have been renovated and converted into residences or hotels. Most of them remain empty. The exhibition explores a different future, in the context of small town decline and rural flight. Presenting the work of photographer Alexander Dumarey, the pavilion provides a platform for debates and possible scenarios for the future.

¬ Raul / Onirico / solo show / Vivacom Art Hall, 5 Oborishte Str. / February 7 – 25. First solo exhibition of the Italian artist Raul in Bulgaria. About his creative process, he shares: "Everything comes from a dream, signs and symbols are part of this journey between the visible and the invisible. With these obsessively repeating symbols that bring bursts of energy and lively vibrations, my work and my ideas are seen. Dreamland is an infinite universe where anything can be.”

¬ Denislav Stoychev – photographic projects and personal stories / artist talk / Synthesis Gallery, 55Vasil Levski” Blvd / February 20, 6.00 pm. Denislav Stoychev is a documentary photographer. He was born in Yambol in 1992, and currently lives and works in Varna. He received a degree in journalism from Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” in 2015. Between 2017-2020, he worked as a staff photojournalist at a national newspaper. His photographs and texts have been published in dozens of Bulgarian and international media outlets, including The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and Fisheye. This artist talk offers the occasion to talk about his current exhibition at Synthesis Gallery as well as other past or future projects.

¬ Genko Genkov / Beyond the visible / retrospective exhibition / City Gallery of Fine Arts Plovdiv, Exhibition Hall 2019, 32 Gladstone Str. / February 7 – March 6.
The exhibition contains a large number of works by the artist, painted in the period from 1949 to 2005. He created a huge amount of oil paintings on canvas and phaser, and works on paper, in which he perfected his watercolor technique, supplemented with gouache, pastel, printing inks and pigments, with different approaches and techniques, to give contrast and strength to color. He experimented with graphics and rarely with sculpture, but oil painting remained his main artistic goal. His painting from the early years constantly evolved and changed in color, forms and strength. Genko Genkov painted very few still lifes, nude bodies, portraits of his loved ones, as well as of individuals who impressed him. He often looked into himself over the years to leave us with various self-portraits.

¬ Mario Zhekov - 125 years of the artist's birth / retrospective exhibition / City Art Gallery Plovdiv, Kapana Hall, 29 "Raiko Daskalov" Str / February 2 - March 5. The current exhibition presents 42 watercolor works and gouaches by one of the most important marine painters, Mario Zhekov. The works are representative of almost all periods of his work. With the exhibition Stara Zagora Art Gallery is visiting the City Art Gallery - Plovdiv, and along with works from its painting fund has included a significant number of works from parts of collections.

¬ Sadness over the lost modernity / group exhibition / Varna City Art Gallery, 1 "Lyuben Karavelov" St / February 8 - 28. The exhibition includes works created in recent years by the authors who entered the artistic life of Sofia in the early 1990s. Their work is associated with one of the most famous art groups of that time - XXL, as well as with the gallery of the same name, which existed between 1996 and 2003. In the general picture of Bulgarian art, this group is one of the first real examples of independent artistic activity outside within the framework of the organized and predictable development of Bulgarian art. With works by Genadi Gatev, Dimitar Yaranov, Rosen Toshev and Svilen Stefanov. The exhibition is project of gallery and auction house "Artmark".

¬ Annual exhibition / Art Museum "Georgi Velchev", 8 Radko Dimitriev St. / December 14 - February 24. The exposition presents works from 14 established authors from Varna in the fields of painting and sculpture. All the authors are connected to the art museum - they had solo exhibitions or their works were part of group exhibitions, and in fact they are the core of the artistic circle around the museum. With painting, Boryana Simeonova, Boyan Boev, Boyan Yanev, Veselin Nachev, Dean Darakchiev, Dimo Milanov, Ivan Minchev, Maria Zafirkova, Maria Chakarova, Sasho Anastasov, Stefan Kulev, Tsvetan Krastev participated. Venelin Ivanov and Hristo Hristov present themselves with sculptural works.

¬ Ilina Peneva / The man who took the aquarium / solo show / Heerz Tooya Gallery, 18 Ivan Vazov Str. / January 20 – February 11. “A flux of unexpected events unfolds itself before me. An aquarium missing, divested of its public presence. The steady flow of the focused process bursts into a multiverse of hypothesis. Entanglement of life interfering and an act of creation. Who is the catalyst? He’s an 80-year-old concept of the streets, having his own overt interventions. Apart from playing music and selling books, he widens perception of existential surrounding processes. What a man, what a life, what an artistic act to involuntarily involve yourself in connected creative experience. A not so invisible anymore string links every moment in the happening timeframe. An investigation of extant participation.” – Ilina Peneva  

¬ Sleep / group exhibition / Art Gallery, central building, 9 Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii Str. and many other locations / October 21 - March 31.
The "Dream" project is an initiative in which past and present meet through a series of thematic exhibitions and installations deployed in multiple spaces, the majority of which are external to the Art Gallery - Kazanlak - private properties, other museums, and cultural institutions. "There are manifestations in our existence, peculiar divine whims, without which the survival of our biological body is impossible. Among them is sleep - the most mysterious thing we do and takes up a third of our life. But without it, everything in us would be subject to suffering, would destroy us. And that's why no more than 265 hours of sleeplessness are needed. The topic of sleep is inextricably linked to dreaming. Over the past 150 years, figures like Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung, Felix de Mendelssohn have devoted decades of their scientific pursuits to trying to understand dreaming - its connections with life beyond sleep, the mechanisms of birth, its relationship to dying." 

¬ Artist Development Program (ADP) 2024 / residency / Application deadline 31 March. The European Investment Bank (EIB) Institute announces its 2024 Artist Development Program (ADP) in collaboration with the Cité internationale des arts in Paris and Neimënster (Neumünster Abbey Heritage Site for Culture) in Luxembourg to work on the theme “Disruption: The Imprint of man'. The program is looking for two visual artists (born after January 1, 1989) from the countries that are members of the European Union. More information and application conditions.  

Monthly edition by Open Art Foundation
¬ news selection : Desislava Mileva
¬ logo : Nedko Solakov
¬ cover : Denislav Stoychev, work from the solo exhibition “Together for a little while. Millennials in Bulgaria. 2010 – 2016”, Synthesis Gallery, 55 “Vasil Levski” Blvd, Sofia, February 1 – April 2