What’s On: Bulgaria’s Plovdiv holds ‘Night’ from September 15 to 17

The bumper collection of events in Plovdiv known as “NIGHT” – founded originally as the Night of the Museums and Galleries – is being held this year from September 15 to 17.

The organisers refer to it as “the longest NIGHT in the country”.

Now in its 13th year, in 2017 for the first time, the programme is over three nights instead of two.

it will include specially arranged exhibitions, concerts, performances, workshops, parties etc., at more than 70 locations in Plovdiv.

In the first evening of the NIGHT between 7pm and 1am, Plovdiv’s participating museums, galleries and ateliers will be open.

Also open will be the anniversary exhibition by the Open Arts Foundation, the main organiser and initiator of the festival. Curated by Vladiya Mihaylova under the motto HERE EVERYWHERE, the exhibition will include archives, installations, artworks related to the topics and activities of the organisation. They show its path of development through the years, its values and ideas, its interest in the city and contemporary culture and its care for developing audiences.

On September 15, there will be exhibitions by Plovdiv art students from AMTII in the ateliers of the Green and Blue schools in the Old Town, which are participating in the NIGHT for the first time.

Another highlight is the exhibition “Behind the doors of the UBB tresor” marking the 25th anniversary since the founding of United Bulgarian Bank. This has been organised in co-operation with the Regional Historical Museum in Plovdiv in a new, previously unopened wing of the museum where people can learn about the history of banking in Bulgaria through a rich collection of artifacts and documents.

Also on September 15, the Aviation Museum – Plovdiv will introduce its visitors to the topic of space, and some will even be able to try “space food”, specially prepared for the occasion.

Visitors to the the NIGHT could also participate in a virtual tour of some of world’s most famous museums, thanks to the global payment system Visa. Visa Gold, Platinum and Infinite cardholders will have the opportunity to attend exclusive tours of Plovdiv galleries and art spaces.

On the first night of the festival, there will be exhibitions by Plovdiv Angel Vasilev at the City Art Gallery; the yet unseen paintings collection of Regional ethnographic museum for which the “Let’s bring the paintings back to the museum” donor campaign was created, the exhibitions “Encounters in Plovdiv” in gallery “Resonance”, “Capital views, an homage to Julia Krasteva…” in gallery U-park and the solo show by US artist Mike Bouchet at the Sariev Contemporary, and many more.

Outside the Bulgarian National Television regional television centre in Plovdiv, there will be a live streaming of the State Puppet Theatre Plovdiv’ s performance of the famous show “Queen of Spades” during the Russian festival “Ryasanskiye smotrini”.

On the stage of the Puppet Theatre, there will be“Clouds” – Theatrum Philosophicum performative reading of Meteor on the new book by Boyan Manchev, featuring Leonid Yovchev and the Japanese philosopher Futushi Hoshino.

On September 16, the highlights of the programme are urban spaces and the international part of the HERE EVERYWHERE curated programme.

Part of the latter is the world premiere of the audio-visual performance “Liminal” by American Mary Franck, which has to do with real and virtual architecture and  spatial sculpting with light and sound.

In the open space, at the Lapidarium in the Old Town will be shown short documentaries from the KineDok platform, and at the steps of Kamenitsa, videos from the teen platform Reporteen.

Other attractions are the Interactive – sense installation at Nebet Tepe prepared by the Alos Centre, and shows by the “Cirque de la Liulin”.

On the night of September 16, there will be a Fortissimo concert at the Roman Theatre. Admission is free.

The evening will offer a diverse programme within the Plovdiv clubs as well, and will finish appropriately with the official Absolut party.

The programme of the Little Night, designed for children, offers on September 15 and 16 several workshops where children can learn graphic and iconographic techniques, can play games, knit and have fun, learn about iconography, cosmic architecture, the connection between geometry and art, as well as to develop their digital and entrepreneurship children skills.

On September 17 there will be afternoon workshops, walks within urban space through special technology which changes the sense of reality and sensory perceptions, more exhibitions and screenings.

Open Arts foundation’s longest running project – the NIGHT/Plovdiv festival, started in 2005. The festival developed through the years with the support of Plovdiv Municipality since 2008 and of America for Bulgaria foundation since 2009, creating a unique and memorable atmosphere for more than 40 000 visitors each year.

Every year within the framework of NIGHT/Plovdiv, the organizer of the event – the Open Arts Foundation, offers its own specially prepared programme. In 2017 it is connected with the anniversary of the Foundation, celebrating 10 years of its establishment.

Open Arts is one of the most sustainable young organizations in Bulgaria. It operates to help build a modern type of urban culture and promote it abroad. Its activity began in 2007, the year of Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union, and is connected with unrestricted travelling and exchange of information, the interests, ethics and ways of communication of a new generation of citizens of the world.

Projects such as the Alternative Map of Plovdiv, City Arbour, the Otets Paisiy Street Festival, as well as the NIGHT/Plovdiv itself, rediscover the urban environment and build memory. They develop the community and the image of the city.

Over the years, the Foundation has been actively investing in creating knowledge and understanding of contemporary culture. Long-standing projects, such as the Introduction to Contemporary Art, as well as the FLUCA open stage in Otets Paisiy Street, established in 2016, appeal to new audiences, promote contemporary art and enhance access to culture.

The specially prepared programme Open Arts in NIGHT/Plovdiv is curated by Mihaylova under the motto “HERE EVERYWHERE”. It will present an anniversary exhibition connected with the activity of the foundation.

The exhibition will be arranged in the former Detmag Snezhanka department store in the Main Street, closed down over 15 years ago and opening for the first time during the NIGHT. The projects, initiatives, cause and mode of work – the “kitchen” of the Open Arts, will be shared with the spectators by way of installations, video materials, documents, interviews with friends, partners, and the team.

Part of the exhibition form the specially created works by artists Luchezar Boyadjiev, Svetlana Mircheva, Dimitar Shopov, a performance by Voin de Voin, the animated map of the NIGHT through the years by artist Petko Tanchev. Works by Pravdolyub Ivanov, Kiril Kuzmanov and documentation from the MUSIZ creation project by Ivan Moudov are also featured.

In addition to the exhibition, the anniversary programme includes artistic projects set up within the city and in other spaces, with the participation of artists from Austria, the US, Bulgaria, Spain, Finland, France and elsewhere. Most of them are created in Plovdiv, will have their first presentation during the Night, or have been specifically adapted for it.

At various locations in the city, it will be possible to find the small sculptures by street artist Isaac Cordal. Suspended from lamps, drainpipes, facade walls and other unexpected places, they bring focus to the underestimated human-nature relationship through a critical view on the side effects of our evolution.

On a popular meeting place in Plovdiv – “the buttons”, Veronika Tsekova’s project will be presented. It consists in a words-and-meanings game and includes a collective reading flash mob.

Visitors will be able to take part in the directed walks around the city, where through the displays of their mobile phones and aided by virtual reality technology, they will gain a new and different sensory perception of the surrounding environment. The project is designed for Plovdiv by French artist Adelin Schweizer together with Fred Sechet abd Naoyuki Tanaka. The artists take part in the IN SITU European platform for art in public space, which in 2016 was joined also by the Open Arts foundation.

FLUCA – the open stage for contemporary art and culture in Otets Paisiy Street – will participate once again with its own programme curated by Ursula Probst, which deals with the idea of a “promised place” in the modern urban city concepts.

For a second successive year, Creative Media Lab will take place within the framework of NIGHT/Plovdiv and the Military Club in the Central Square will once again become a meeting venue for contemporary art and technologies.

The large-scale audio-visual live performance SEED by US artist and program designer Mary Franck deals with borderline images and sensory experiences of the development of organic forms in relation to architecture, sound and abstract ideas of space and form. The artist has a rich professional record of worldwide participations and work for Google, NASA, the Abu Dhabi royal family, etc. Seed is her most recent work, and its world premiere will take place on September 16 in Plovdiv.

For the first time this year, Introduction to Contemporary Art will have its own special edition during the Night.

At the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Louis, Prof. Vladimir Gradev will hold a lecture on “Sacred Art and Modernity”. It is dedicated to the Vatican collections and introduces for the first time in Bulgaria this subject of rising relevance. In the past few years, the Vatican has been increasingly focusing on contemporary art by showing installations on socially relevant topics. The documentary in which Pope Francis shares his ideas on art was also completed in 2017.

The projects selected by Mihaylova in the “Here Everywhere” programme discuss major issues of the present day such as the world business, global warming, the change in human sensory world, etc. Part of them are the problems of consumption and building of identity through the practices of consumption, as seen in the “I AM/Balaj” theatre installation in the Excelsior shopping mall presented by Vox Populi Documentary Theatre Studio; the focus placed on the human body in the performances “No chemical experience!” by four South Korean choreographers and the Atom Theatre; the presentation of Utopian spaces and world maps in the present post-utopian time in Proxima Utopia, a project by the Finnish architects Mika Savela and Henrik Drufva (Selim Projects).

The Open Arts Programme is organized with the partnership of the embassies of Austria, Finland and the US, the French Institute in Bulgaria, the Cervantes Institute in Sofia, the IN SITU European Platform, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Arts Promotion Centre Finland’s (Taike), and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Plovdiv Municipality and the National Culture Fund.

The co-organisers of the NIGHT/Plovdiv Festival are America for Bulgaria Foundation and Plovdiv Municipality.



The Sofia Globe staff

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