Vesselina Sarieva was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She’s based in Sofia and Plovdiv. Vesselina is a cultural manager, curator, collector, author, initiator and founder of numerous internationally successful projects and organizations. Since 2004 she has been actively working to create innovative models for support, presentation, development and promotion in the field of art, culture and urban development, and her work has become an important factor for the country's artistic scene and its representation abroad, finding many followers.
Vesselina is the founder of Sarieva/Gallery (2021) (successor of the family-run Sariev, 2004-2021), Open Arts Foundation (2007), café and community centre artnewscafe (2008-2023) and Kabinet* Art Advisory - еnvironment for dialogue, analysis and development (2022). The headquarters of these organizations are located next to each other at the end of Otets Paisii str. in Plovdiv, forming a cultural hub with an active cultural program. Their activities take place in Plovdiv, Sofia and abroad.
Vesselina Sarieva continues the family tradition with deep historical roots in the field of culture, working together with her mother Katrin Sarieva until 2021.
Key projects launched and managed by Vesselina are: The Night of Museums and Galleries - Plovdiv, Open Art Files: Topics, People, Spaces, Files in Bulgarian Contemporary Art website, Otets Paisii Street Festival, Plovdiv, FLUCA: Austrian Cultural Pavilion, Collectors' Forum, Artnewscafe Bulletin, educational lectures Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art, Focus: Bulgaria at viennacontemporary, Alternative Map of Plovdiv, Lotus Debates, BACKGROUND: Young Artists, Working Visits for International Curators and Art Critics, etc.
She has been a regular participant in prestigious art fairs with her galleries since 2010, some of them being Liste Basel, Art Brussels, Artissima, Art Cologne, Art o Rama, Art Rotterdam, Art International Istanbul, Shanghai Contemporary, viennacontemporary, etc.
Selected exhibitions curated by Sarieva include: SIT, a group exhibition at LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina, Kosovo; FUTURE UNFORGETTABLE, a curated multi-genre visual arts situation in six phases / exhibitions, documentary video series, screenings, artist meetings, debates, exhibition tours, collaborations with collections, publications, in Plovdiv, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna; Brittle Power, group exhibition and educational program at Kunsthal 44Møen, Moen, Denmark. Some of her curatorial exhibitions in the gallery space include Capsule, a solo exhibition of works from the 1970s-80s by Sasho Stoitzov; LET THEM DRAW, a series of exhibitions dedicated to drawing, initiated with Pravdoliub Ivanov; Magia Naturalis, an exhibition with Boyan Manchev; THE GALAXIES OF TEKLA, cover drawings from 1979-1989 by Tekla Alexieva, etc.
She has been a speaker at conferences and forums on collecting, contemporary Bulgarian art, cultural management, cultural policies, organized by HFBK University of Fine Arts Hamburg; National Assembly of Republic of Bulgaria, Sofia; Bulgarian Festival Association, Sofia; the British Council, Sofia; Goethe Institute, Sofia; Goethe Institut, Berlin; Istanbul Contemporary, Istanbul; Art Today Association - Center for Contemporary Art, Plovdiv; New Bulgarian University, Sofia; Red House Center for Culture and Debate, Sofia; NEXT-DC, Sofia, Bulgarian Festival Association, Sofia, Institut Artmark, Bucharest; Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research, VUB, Brussels.
Sarieva's activities have been covered by international media such as New York Times International, TAZ, Die Welt, Art Review, ARTE, Deutche Welle, Calvert Journal, Artnet News and regularly in the Bulgarian national press and media.
For her work she received the Iron Medal for Contemporary Art Ventsislav Zankov in 2010 and the Woman of the Year award of Grazia magazine in 2011. Capital newspaper included her in the top 100 most influential women in 2012. She is also part of Darik Radio's "40 under 40" project for successful young people.
Prior to her work in visual arts and culture, Veselina Sarieva was a writer. She holds a Master's degree in Slavic Philology from Plovdiv University and specialized in Croatian language and literature in Zagreb. In 2006, she published her debut collection of poems OЩ, Janet 45, editor Georgi Gospodinov, for which she received the N. Jeremy Hill Award at the 35th edition of Southern Spring. He has published in Literary Journal, Capital Light, Page 1 Magazine, Democratic Review, and in the annual NPC anthologies Lyrica. He also realized a poetic installation Reading room.
She is a graduate of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), the U.S. State Department's flagship professional exchange program in the Changemakers group since 2015.
Vesselina is interested in the creation of spaces and meeting places as a physical and abstract concept.
Some of the key larger-scale projects initiated and conceptualized independently or in teams with experts, and organized by Veselina Sarieva and her organizations are:
- 2018 – up to date: Open Art Files: Topics, People, Spaces, Files in Bulgarian Contemporary Art website / database / archive of Bulgarian contemporary art, online library and environment for art criticism / http://openartfiles.bg/en
- 2016 – up to date : FLUCA: Austrian Cultural Pavilion / an open stage for art and culture
with a curated programme / launched as an annual spring and summer project in 2016 in Plovdiv / a season in Sofia in 2018 / https://fluca.info/
- 2015 – up to date: Working visits of international curators and art critics / Regularly / Link
- 2011 – up to date: Collectors’ Forum / lectures and collections / Plovdiv and Sofia /
Regularly / presents international and Bulgarian private and corporate collecting practices, guides in compiling and maintaining a collection/ Link
- 2008 – up to date: Artnewscafe bulletin / a monthly publication in Bulgarian, offering up-to-date news on events in the arts, both in the country and around the world / launched asa monthly printed periodical in 2008 and an online publication since 2015 / Active to date / Link
- 2021: Future Unforgettable / curated multi-genre situation in the visual arts, developed in six phases / exhibitions, documentaries, screenings, debates, exhibition tours,
collaborations with collectors, publications / Plovdiv, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna /
- 2020: Circle of Friends for Bulgarian Art / a joint initiative with Office for Art, Berlin /
common platform for experts and art lovers, created to focus on certain topics, issues and areas in art, to provide knowledge and educational mediation, to give support for art, artists, initiatives, institutions and to network internationally / Link
- 2019: Sariev + Markov sculpture projects / a joint initiative with Markovstudio, Trebich
district / projects in public space – artists’ residencies, project implementation in urban
environment, lectures, exhibitions / Link
- 2018: The book An Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art, authored by Vessela
Nozharova / a research process started in 2012, published in Bulgarian and English in 2018/ Link
- 2015: Focus: Bulgaria / an overview of Bulgarian contemporary art, including a curatorial exhibition, a publication, a programme of discussions, performances, and a video programme / Venue: viennacontemporary, Vienna, Austria / Link
- 2013: Lotus Debates / A series of debates on the following topics: cooperation between
municipality and cultural operators, cooperation between educational institutions and
cultural operators, neighbourhood management, the multi-ethnic scope of cultural events / Plovdiv / Link
- 2013 - 2017; An Alternative Map of Plovdiv / together with Katrin Sarieva / a printed
edition in 2013 and online since 2013, updated in 2017 / Active to date /
- 2012 - 2015: A City Arbour / with Katrin Sarieva / thematic lectures and discussions about the city / editions in 2012 and 2015 / Plovdiv / Link
- 2011 - 2019: Introduction to Contemporary Art / educational platform of lectures /
annually / Sofia, Plovdiv and online / Link
- 2010 – 2019: BACKGROUND: Young Artists / An exhibition project and a platform to
support young artists and curators / regularly / Plovdiv and Sofia / Link
- 2005 - 2019: Night of Museums and Galleries, Plovdiv – known today as NIGHT/Plovdiv/
A festival and platform in support of culture and urban development / held annually from 2005 to 2018, a special edition in 2019 / https://www.night.bg/
Selected curatorial projects:
Here are a few selected projects, curated by Vesselina Sarieva, excluding the numerous
exhibitions and individual events in the programs of Sariev, Sarieva, Open Arts Foundation,
artnewscafe, festivals organized by her.
- ECHO / group exhibition / The exhibition ECHO rediscovers the early artistic practices from the 1970s and 1980s of authors Vladimir Ivanov and Stanka Tsonkova – USHA in dialogue with current works by the young artist Sophia Grancharova / 11 February – 12 March 2022, Sarieva, Plovdiv / Link
- Capsule / solo exhibition / Sasho Stoitzov / 10 June – 30 July 2022 / Sarieva, Plovdiv / Link
- SIT / group exhibition and educational program / Driton Selmani, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Pravdoliub Ivanov / 24 November – 24 December 2022 / LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina, Kosovo / Link
- FUTURE UNFORGETTABLE / multi-genre situation in six time and thematic phases /
September - December 2021 / various places in Bulgaria and online/ concept by Vesselina Sarieva / https://futureunforgettable.com/
- Brittle Power group exhibition and educational programme / Rada Boukova, Luchezar
Boyadjiev, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Vikenti Komitski, Rudi Ninov, Nedko Solakov, Mariana
Vassileva, Sibin Vassilev / Curated by René Block and Vesselina Sarieva / 5 June 2021 - 5 September 2021 / Kunsthal 44Møen, Møen, Denmark / Link
- LET THEM DRAW III / curated by Pravdoliub Ivanov and Vesselina Sarieva / Alec Finlay,
Galina Dimitrova, Hortensia Mi Kafchin, Mariana Vassileva, Sevda Semer, Vlad Nancă 12
February 2021 – 31 March 2021 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link
- MAGIA NATURALIS / based on the ideas of Boyan Manchev and Vesselina Sarieva / Phase I/ Bignia Wehrli, Marta Djourina, L / Texts: Boyan Manchev, Vesselina Sarieva / 26 June - 28 August 2020 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link
- BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv/ Mitch Brezounek, Martina Vacheva, Dimitar
Genchev, Velizar Dimchev, Yavor Kostadinov, Lyubomir Krastev, Trifon Tashev, Valko
Chobanov, Dimitar Shopov / 5 July – 30 August 2019 / Sariev Contemporary, Danchova
House in the Old Town, Cu29 gallery / Link
- THE GALAXIES OF TEKLA – Drawings for book covers 1979-1989 / Tekla Aleksieva /
2 November - 27 December 2019 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link
- POOR, BUT SEXY / Anton Stoyanov (Berlin), Vikenti Komitski (Sofia), Voin de Voin
(Berlin), Lazar Lyutakov (Vienna), Lubri (Sofia), Rada Boukova (Paris) / 17 September 2011 -
30 October 2011 / Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv / Link