Saturday morning -2°C, feels like -7°C - solo exhibition of Kiril Stanoev
/February 22 - April 30, 2019, Room 7/

Kiril Stanoev's first solo exhibition in a museum features a collection of 33 of his distinctive directed photographs. Stanoev is a self-taught photographer. Born in 1983, he lives in Sofia. He takes portrait photographs, as his own art projects, but he also shoots fashion sessions for leading fashion and lifestyle magazines.

The collection is curated by Marieta Tsenova, designer, photographer and free-lance art director. She has worked as a creative director, fashion editor and stylist for Egoist magazine; curator of the International Biennial of Graphic Art in Varna. She has shown 15 solo photography exhibitions in Bulgaria, Great Britain, Germany and Italy.

This is Tsenova's short statement about Kiril Stanoev's art:: "For Kiril Stanoev, the Sofia flea market - this local Babylon - is an inexhaustible fountainhead of props for his portrait photographs. From the distance of time, he seems to mix styles, materials and objects, changing their context and placing them in compositions influenced by the Renaissance portrait. His irony, however, replaces the classical messages of the portrait as he employs symbols of 20th century design and the colours of American pop art; “documents” our time by means of absurdly “pure” visions inherent to poster art; sets apart kitsch objects in a minimalistic setting and sublimates the eccentricity of the image into parable messages.

Stanoev aims his sense of humour not at the models he directs, but at the potential viewer. His photographs look like premeditated jokes about stereotypes, about the sedentariness of taste, about the effort we make to grasp “what the author wants to say”.

There is silence in Kiril Stanoev’s portrait photographs. Neither street sounds nor sounds coming from nature are heard. Even his pet birds keep their beaks shut. He uses details, we normally pass by, to create surrealistic pictures out of them. This distances us from reality and helps us look deeper into ourselves, but also whet our curiosity in search of beauty.

His photographs are “democratic”. There is neither hierarchy nor symbols of luxury, nor social division in them. This manner of identifying and sharing beauty, typical for the portraits of the 17th century Dutch painters, is focused on the aesthetic specifics of the ambience and finds beauty everywhere. Kiril Stanoev’s photographs are reminiscent of the aestheticizing of kitsch in American photography from the past century.

Some of his portrait photographs may shock with the choice of details, masterly isolated from the original source and turned into metaphors; into new symbols of our era; into emblems of our mentality to play familiar with things knowing little to nothing but an odd fact. Kiril Stanoev does not mean to edify; he only lets us see the world through his eyes drawing our attention to his own discoveries.“

120 Years since the Birth of Dechko Uzunov (1899-1986)
Paintings, drawings
/February 22 - April 30, 2019, floor 3, the lobby/

On February 22nd, 2019 will be 120 years since the birth of Bulgarian artist Dechko Uzunov (1899-1986). To celebrate the occasion, the House of Humour and Satire is showing three of his four works treasured in the art collection of the Museum. Two of the works – The Peasants of Elin Pelin and Don Quixote without Sancho Panza (which is currently lent to the Dechko Uzunov Art Gallery, branch of Sofia City Art Gallery) – were shown in the Gabrovo Biennial exhibition in 1977 and 1983 respectively. The two ink drawings – Peasants from Sofia Region and Village Pub – were donated by the artist in 1988 and 1989.
The assembling of the collection was made possible thanks to the ambition of the first director of the Museum and his team to enlarge the Museum holdings with works by representative Bulgarian artists.

Dechko Uzunov was born in the town of Kazanlak where his first teacher was humour writer and artist Chudomir. In 1919 he entered the State Art Industry School (present-day National Academy of Art) and joined the class of Prof. Petko Klisurov. In 1922, Uzunov and his fellow student Ivan Penkov specialized under Prof. Carl von Marr in Munich. At the time Munich was a breeding ground for a host of aspiring young Bulgarian artists, men and women of letters who formed Uzunov’s circle of friends. Many of them would sit for his portraits.
Returning to Bulgaria, he graduated from the Art Academy (1924), in the class of Prof. Stefan Ivanov. From 1926 until 1932 he was a staff artist in the Ministry of Education. Then he taught painting at the Art Academy.
Dechko Uzunov took part in nearly all general art exhibitions of Rodno izkustvo Society in this country and abroad. He showed solo exhibitions in Sofia, Kazanlak, Sliven, and then in Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Moscow, Paris, Basel, Munich, Kuwait and Beijing. The secondary art school in Kazanlak bears his name.
Uzunov’s art legacy is exceptionally diverse. He painted, drew graphic works and illustrations; designed books; engaged with stage design and decorative monumental painting. He worked in the genres of portrait, nude, landscape, watercolor, figural composition on historical, biblical, mythological and contemporary subject matter. He did also mural paintings. In addition to his creative work, Uzunov was engaged in numerous public activities. He is a holder of a number of prestigious awards and prizes.

Attention! - curated exhibition presenting artists from Gabrovo and Gabrovo region
Painting, video and videoart, photography фотография, дигитални проекти, обекти от метал, дърво, графичен дизайн и други
/23 ноември 2018 - 30 април 2019, зала "Стефан Фъртунов"/

The exhibition Attention! showcases 27 up and coming artists born and raised on the territory of Gabrovo region. Their known, little known or totally unknown work provokes the attention of viewers, collectors and curators. Born between 1973 and 1996, they have chosen to follow the uneven path of making a career and a name for themselves in the virtual and real spaces of visual arts. They have taken their first steps in a well-structured, but commonly neglected, regional arts scene under the new socio-economic conditions of the Bulgarian transition period that do not encourage professional engagement in art. Some of them know each other, others have never met, but they all share the same schools, teachers and galleries.

On show in the exhibition are са: Radoil Serafimov, Deyan Boev, Galina Dineva, Pavel Tzarov, Lora Dimova, Diana Boneva, Veselin Mitev, Mariana Maneva, Nevena Ekimova, Miroslav Zhivkov, Hristina Tita Drenska, Kaloyan Minchev, Eliza Bozhidarova Kovacheva-Tsokova, Radan Kossov, Dobrin Kashavelov, Nikola Lamburov, Tsvetelina Stefanova, Evgeni Nedev, Martin Nikolov, Galina Hristova, Petko Nedyalkov, Ivana Nencheva, Hristina Georgieva, Genadiy Vasilev, Ivan Ivanov, Velizar Zahariev, Mina Minov. The scope of their works is broad – painting, video and videoart, photography, digital projects, objects of metal and wood, graphic design, even a curator’s project.

The curator of this selection is Gabrovo-born Iva Saykova. She works as a cultural manager and curator at Orlovska 10 Gallery and the Artarea Association in Gabrovo. The gallery has been functioning since 2008 and except being a venue for various exhibitions, it also holds literary readings, discussions, lectures, and screenings. It exhibits both established and burgeoning artists focusing on personal meetings and conversations between the audience and the artists.

Two Faces. Carnival Traditions in Sardinia. - solo exhibition of Andrea Salvai, Italy
/November 11, 2018 - June 30, 2019, Room 8/

Traditionally, on November 11th every year the Western European carnival world opens up its workshops for masks and carnival costumes and boisterously celebrates the start of the new carnival season. To honour this day, the House of Humour and Satire is showing a small collection of photographs on the topic of 'The Carnival Traditions of Sardinia'.

The author of the pictures on display is Andrea Salvai - a natural science teacher in a secondary school. Born in 1973, Salvai has been a captive of photography since his childhood investing his first savings into various makes of photo cameras; reading scores of books about photography techniques; taking apart a couple of cameras to study their mechanics and attending some photography courses.

Andrea Salvai's present exhibition has captured the masquerade Sa Tuvera recently revived in his native village of Sorgono and the carnival in the town of Cagliari.

The revival of the ancient festival Sa Tuvera began about ten years ago in the village of Sorgono (in the heart of Sardinia) prompted by the interest of a group of reserachers, scholars and fans to trace back the history of a few masks kept at the local museum. After talking to some local villagers, they happened on a poem that provided an explicit description of the heathen rite and the participants in it. The anthropomorphic masks and costumes make the basic element of the description. The text speaks about men dressed up in furs and fleeces and covered with animal bones all over; their faces are blackened with charred cork oak or covered with black masks; their victims are participants in the rite disguised as animals (goats, bulls and wild boars). They are assumed to be related to the cult of Dionysus who was worshipped reverently by the shepherds and the farmers in the region. The rite in his honour was chiefly practiced to obtain rain by prayer. Today the days of the festival (January 16, 17, 18) coincide with celebrations honouring St. Anthony.

Tumultuous masquerades and processions in Cagliari, in the old quarter of Stampace, have been in existence since the end of the 1940s. They are known under the name of Ratantira and are held before Lent. The origin of the name Ratantira is referred to the drum rhythm created by the participants in the procession. New masks and carnival characters appear in the 1980s. Among them is the image of the Brazilian singer Carmen Miranda, images of film and theatre celebrities, clowns and others.

Cartoon Art Salon 2018
/October 26, 2018 - January 31, 2019, Roons 6 and 7/

Cartoon Salon is the new title of the traditional autumn event dedicated to the art of cartooning that the Museum of Humour and Satire holds. This year's edition encomapsses 5 exhibitions showcasing more than 200 cartoons: Idle Cartoons, a solo exhibition of Irien Trendafilov; The Communist Manifesto, a solo exhibition of Martin Rowson (Great Britain); Art Presidency, works by the „irreverent cartoonists” from PRASS PRESS newspaper; Animated Cartoons by Tchavdar Nikolov and a selected collection of the 43rd National Cartoon Exhibition, Sofia 2018. Invited to the opening of the Cartoon Salon 2018 are some of the leading Bulgarian cartoonists at present – Irien Trendafilov, Hristo Komarnitski, Chavdar Nikolov, Alla and Chavdar Georgiev and Ivailo Tsvetkov. They will conduct a master class in cartooning with students from the art schools in Gabrovo before the inauguration of the exhibition.

The Communist Manifesto - a solo exhibition of Martin Rowson, Great Britain

The exhibition features 40 illustrations, part of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, adapted by editorial cartoonist and writer Martin Rowson with reference to the 200th anniversary of the birth of Marx celebrated throughout 2018.
Martin Rowson is a British editorial cartoonist and writer. His genre is political satire and his style is scathing and graphic. He characterizes his work as „visual journalism". His cartoons appear frequently in The Guardian and Daily Mirror. As a freelancer, he also contributes cartoons to other publications such as Tribune, Index on Censorship and Morning Star. He is chair of the British Cartoonists' Association.

Art Presidency - works by the irreverent cartoonists from PRASS PRESS newspaper
The exhibition shows 24 cartoons by Alla and Chavdar Georgiev, Hristo Komarnitski and Tchavdar Nikolov - better known as the irreverent cartoonists from PRAS-PRES newspaper. The works treat the subject matter of the Presidency of the Counicl of the EU taken over by Bulgaria at the beginning of this year. Satarizing the slogan of the Bulgarian Presidency - United We Stand Strong - the artists deride the European and Bulgarian unitedness of hypocrisy in political cartoons after masterpieces from the European cultural heritage by Da Vinci, Picasso, Matisse, Munch, van Gogh and Goya. Following Case 113, this is the second exhibition of works by the irreverent cartoonists on display at the Museum of Humour and Satire.
Besides the exhibition, visitors will have the chance to leaf through all the issues of PRASS PRESS newspaper that have come out so far.

Animated cartoons by Tchavdar Nikolov
Tchavdar Nikolov graduated in visual communication from the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design in Great Britain. He has had 15 works published in the celebrated satirical magazine Private Eye in London. Nikolov has contributed to a number of Bulgarian publications and has worked for the newspapers Demokratsia, Novinar and Presa. Winner of the highest awards for cartoon at competitions in this country, he has a UN certificate of excellence for political cartoon, and this year he won second place at the World Press Cartoon competition in Cascais, Portugal.
Nikolov has the reputation of a lambasting critic of any grievances in Bulgaria. His scathingly sarcastic animated cartoons visualize the voiceless opinion of the people about the ruling class. In 2016, 90 video cartoons by Tchavdar Nikolov were taken off the New Television website and Vbox7; however, today they can be seen on Slavi's Show and Terminal 3 media website.
Interactive Generative Formations, 2014-2017 - a project authored by Svetoslav Kosev and Atanas Markov, Bulgaria
Digital installation
/8 December 2017 - 30 November 2018, in front of the distorted mirrors/

On 8 December, the Students' Day celebrated in Bulgaria, the Museum House of Humour and Satire is opening the digital installation Interactive Generative Formations 2014-2017. Its setting, the space in front of the visitors' favourite distorted mirrors, plays a significant part in the perception and experience of the work, juxtaposing the images in the mirrors with the created virtual medium into which the viewer is drawn to participate. The project was presented at the House of Humour and Satire during the hackathon Gabrovo Game Jam in January 2017.

The installation Interactive Generative Formations is the brainchild of a creative cooperation between Svetoslav Kosev and Atanas Markov. It represents a dialogue between the viewer and the work in the form of a virtual field in which every viewer appears as a silhouette on the screen, in a kind of a network of lines, and is able to modify the work itself. The lines are connected by means of an algorithm which makes the work both interactive and generative. In this virtual medium, a network of dots that have definite physical properties is dispersed on a pseudo-random principle. They are interconnected by means of the same algorithm as with the viewer’s outline thus seeking a graphic impact. The small dots have gravity and fall, but they can also interact in case of a collision with the users or between themselves. In addition, there are bigger colour “balls” (for the current installation they are replaced with the logo of the Museum) which also participate in this virtual scene of physical dependences. The purpose is to entice the viewer into more active participation and involvement in this virtual medium through an element of a game-playing.

Svetoslav Kosev is a lecturer in graphic design and perspective, Assistant Professor on the Faculty of Fine Arts at St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo.

Atanas Markov is Chief Assistant in computer graphics and multimedia technologies at St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo.