Sariev Gallery is a second generation gallery considered one of the essential places for discovering contemporary art in Bulgaria. Specializing in contemporary Bulgarian art, the gallery has a history of building private collections, advising corporate collections and cooperating with international museums and institutions. The gallery was founded by Katrin Sarieva and Vesselina Sarieva in 2011 as Sariev Contemporary (rebranded in 2019 as Sariev Gallery). The gallery is based in Bulgaria’s second largest city Plovdiv. Sariev Gallery is the successor to the original gallery and center for contemporary ceramics and photography opened by Katrin Sarieva in 2004. Through the years, the gallery's activities have always extended beyond its physical space, as evidenced by the large number of satellite projects and external initiatives in Sariev's history. The activity of Sariev Gallery continued until the autumn of 2021, when Veselina Sarieva founded Sarieva Gallery.
The main exhibition space of Sariev Gallery is in the centre of the historical city of Plovdiv next to the Ancient Odeon on Otets Paisiy Street – a street with its own rich history that allows a charming alternative to the corporate retailers on the main pedestrian walkway just one block over. The gallery has its own café with a library – the artnewscafé. The exhibition space in Sariev Gallery is small scaled, and inspired by the white cube concept. It offers flexibility to artists and curators to transform the space according to their own concept and vision. Between 2014 and 2015, the gallery launched the pop-up gallery, Sariev Project Space, in the Kapana arts district of Plovdiv, where the exhibitions presenting young artists took place. In 2017, the Gallery started SARIEV Studio in Sofia, with the concept of establishing a space for collectors to discover artists and works in personal meetings. The studio space is situated in the former sculpture studio of the well-known Bulgarian artist, Dimitar Boykov (1927-2000) and is located near the historical Women's Market.
The gallery represents a broad view of different generations of Bulgarian artists and art movements. The gallery works only with professional artists who have international careers, and who belong to a wider European artistic scene: well established figures such as Nedko Solakov, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Stefan Nikolaev, Luchezar Boyadjiev, as well as younger artists Kamen Stoyanov, Rada Boukova and Valio Tchenkov. The gallery also supports the development of the next generation of artists such as Lubri, Voin de Voin, Vikenti Komitski and Martina Vacheva.
Sariev actively collaborates with both respected local curators, and renowned international curators in developing exhibitions at the gallery. Two of these curated exhibition programs in particular, have become influential for the national art scene over the years: Background: Young Artists and Re-discovery. One of the main objectives of Sariev Gallery is the promotion of Bulgarian artists in international art fairs. Sariev Gallery is generally the sole Bulgarian gallery to participate in these pan European fairs.
The gallery initiates, and finds support for public sculpture projects.
When the gallery opened in 2011, the Bulgarian contemporary art scene had very poor visibility outside of the country. Katrin and Vesselina Sarievi committed early on to a number of core initiatives to support and develop the scene in Plovdiv, Sofia and presence of Bulgarian contemporary Art on the international map. Along with the gallery, they founded by the non-profit organisation Open Arts Foundation, to develop educational platforms that take place in Sofia's major museums and cultural centers. This has manifested as a popular annual educational course Introduction to Contemporary Art (since 2011) and the Collectors' Forum (since 2011).
In addition to publishing artists' and exhibition catalogues, Sariev Gallery and Open Arts Foundation have also commissioned the publication of the bilingual book Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (2018) by art historian Vessela Nozharova, published by Janet 45, which is а comprehensive overview of the country's main currents in contemporary art. To further realise the goal of establishing international connections and promote the visibility of Bulgarian art, in 2015 they started an annual program Working Visits for International Curators and Art Critics which invites and sponsors international curators and art critics to a working visit in Plovdiv and Sofia, in order to discover the local contemporary art scene, and foster the exchange of ideas between Bulgarian artists and curators from across the world.
In 2019 was launched Sariev+Markov sculpture projects - joint initiative of Sariev gallery and Markovstudio, which aims, through various activities (residency, educational module consisting of artist talks and lectures, workshops, open doors studio, as well as exhibitions and collaborations with public institutions) to establish a field for creating and presenting sculptural projects for the public space, as well as an environment for discussion and development of such projects.
In 2020, together with the Office for Art, Berlin, launched an initiative to create a Circle of Friends for Bulgarian Art, whose main idea is to present a common platform of experts and amateurs in the field of art, to focus on specific topics and issues, to provide knowledge and educational mediation. The project is marked by a series of exhibitions "The Power of Attraction", held in Sariev. In the same year was also organized Artist’s studio at SARIEV, which turns the gallery space into an experimental studio of a selected young author, in this case Maria Nalbantova.
In August 2021, Katrin Sarieva retired from the gallery after 17 years of diligent and inspiring work in the field of culture. In September of the same year, Sariev Gallery officially ceased its activities when Veselina Sarieva founded the gallery situation, program and statement in art Sarieva Gallery.
Installation view from SARIEV Contemporary’s booth. Artists... Part of the platform “Background: Young Artists” by gallery... 2016, part of the project “Working Visits for International...
International Contemporary Art Fair 2016
15 Minutes of Fame
Working visit of the art critic
Oliver Basciano (ArtReview, London)
Installation view from SARIEV Contemporary’s booth. Artists...
Part of the platform “Background: Young Artists” by gallery...
2016, part of the project “Working Visits for International...