An exhibition entitled Art for Change 1985 – 2015 will be on at the Sofia City Art Gallery from January 21 to March 5.
The project, of which Maria Vassileva is the curator, opens officially on January 20 at 6pm.
Art for Change 1985-2015 is a project “tracing the profound changes in Bulgaria’s society since the mid-1980s until today, as well as artists’ awakened consciousness with regard to their mission as correctives of the social milieu,” the gallery said.
“By means of an exhibition and a publication, it exposes the process of opening up new opportunities and waking up to art’s potential to impact societal attitudes. The project aims also at restoring and recording this thread in current Bulgarian art while seeking out opportunities to promote and deepen art’s impact over society.”
Over the years, Bulgaria’s intellectual elite, and artists in particular, have been blamed for keeping aloof from social processes and for failing to react to developments promptly, sharply and adequately enough, the gallery said.
“It has been alleged also that their passive stance is a hindrance to the country’s growth and development. Indeed this is the cliché that the project is trying to break by displaying works and documents, which trace crucial moments of the historic transition since the mid-1980s and vindicate artists’ role as an active element of social life.
“The publication will attempt, for the first time in this country’s recent history, to analyse the relationship between art and society, to seek out the root causes of integration or alienation, to probe deeply and get to the crux of those processes that are at the core of Bulgaria’s society and culture the way they are today.”
The exhibition showcases works by contemporary Bulgarian artists, who from the mid-1980s till now have marked with their art profound moments of the transition period and present the artist as an active agent of the social change.
The book comprises 384 pages of analytical articles, interviews and more than 390 reproductions.
Its purpose is to present the historical perspective while attempting also to provide insight into current realities through past experiences. The book includes writing by Maria Vassileva, Diana Popova, Boyan Manchev, Georgi Tenev, Alexander Kiossev and interviews with Svetlin Roussev, Nedko Solakov and Luchezar Boyadjiev in a bilingual format (Bulgarian and English). It is supported by ERSTE Foundation.
Participating artists include Adelina Popndeleva, Alexander Valchev, Alla Georgieva, Atanas Neikov, Boris Missirkov and Georgi Bogdanov, Boryana Rossa and ULTRAFUTURO, Daniela Oleg Liahova, Dimitar Solakov, Galentin Gatev, Ivo Bistrichki, Kalin Serapionov, Kiril Kuzmanov, Kiril Prashkov, Krassimir Terziev, Kristina Irobalieva, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Luben Kostov, Nadezhda Oleg Lyahova, Nedko Solakov, Neno Belchev, Nikola Mihov, Nina Kovacheva, Petko Dourmana, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Samuil Stoyanov, Sasho Soitzov, Stanislav Pamukchiev, Stefan Lutakov, Stella Vasileva, Svetlin Roussev, Svetozara Alexandrova, Valentin Stefanoff, Vassil Simittchiev, Velislava Gecheva, Ventsislav Zankov and Zoran Georgiev.
“Against the backdrop of the turbulent political events in Bulgaria of 2013 and 2014, of protests and the emergence of a matured civil society in Bulgaria, this project is striving to provide answers to such questions as ‘Where are the Bulgarian intellectuals?’, ‘What is their role in times of transition?’, ‘Do they demonstrate a stance of active social engagement?’, ‘Can art not just reflect but cause social change as well?'” the gallery said.