Portraits, Self-portraits and Caricatures - works from the Museum's art collection
Paintings, sculpture, caricatures
(February 13 - August 31, 2021, Stefan Fartunov Room)

The exhibition features a selected collection of images of favorite writers, actors, artists, and last but not least - Gabrovo wise-crackers, which the Bulgarian public associates with humor and satire, in works by Yuri Bukov, Stoyan Venev, Vladimir Dimitrov-The Master, Boris Dimovski, Donyo Donev, Lyuben Zidarov, Yanko Pavlov, Milka Peykova, Vezhdi Rashidov, Todor Tsonev, Georgi Chapkanov and others. The collection includes 95 works (43 paintings, 26 sculptures and reliefs and 26 caricatures), created from the middle of the last century to the present day. They belong to the art collection of the Museum of Humor and Satire, amassed purposefully and diligently for 49 years now.

In times of isolation and distance, the visitor finds himself in the colorful company of Chudomir, Aleko Konstantinov, Radoy Ralin, Todor Kolev, Stoyanka Mutafova, Velko Kanev and Tatiana Lolova, arranged at a distance of a meter and a half from each other, in accordance with the current anti-epidemic measures. Even the mention of their names inevitably evokes smiles and a cheerful mood. This is the main objective of the organizers of the exhibition Portraits, Self-portraits and Cartoons, i.e. to provoke positive emotions and to remind that the art collection of the Museum is a small treasure trove of contemporary art.

Three Times Insides - solo exhibition of Nevena Ekimova
(January 22 – May 31, 2021, Room 7)

Following the indisputable and continuing success of the exhibition Garden Town, designed especially for children within the 24th Biennial of Humor and Satire in Art (2019), and the Mirror Room, realized in September 2020, Gabrovo-based artist Nevena Ekimova is showing a solo exhibition on the top floor of the House of Humor and Satire.

The exhibition offers the visitor a visual-tactile walk through the human psyche translated tо interior. Three installations, dividing the space into sections, represent three key inner states which, though banally common, have the power to shake the foundations of the soul and even restructure our very essence: passion, monotony, loneliness.

She Loves Farewells is dedicated to the climactic emotional state of pleasure and pain caused by the collision with another body. The interior is a scene of a supernatural occurrence, causing the destruction of paradigms and conjuring life forms into existence. Something is forever lost; something completely new is emerging.

Wood Wedding presents the life of a young family as a fragmented documentary narrative, using the couple's tiny apartment interior as foundation. A repetitive everyday life, a shaky power balance and countless big and small worries transpire on hard and soft surfaces.

Couloir/Archive is a dark corridor which separates the two daylight installations. The couloir leads the visitor into the silence of the self. Gazing inwards is encouraged, as is filling in the blank space, be it with questions or with answers.

Nevena Ekimova (b.1984) is a visual artist born in Gabrovo, child of two mathematicians, the transition from communism to democracy, and the first rave wave in Bulgaria. She has studied languages and art in several exceptionally cold countries of the Scandinavian sort and has participated in many cultured and uncultured events in Sofia and the rest of the country. Nevena is currently based in her hometown where, together with the Museum of Humor, she is involved in creating spectacular interactive installations. Art according to her is an attempt to kiss the unconscious. Three Times Insides is her second solo show.

The exhibition is realized with the support of:

National Culture Fund
Bulgarian Fund for Women
Express Car Service
Cafe Bibliotekata

Why So Serious? - solo exhibition of Houben Tcherkelov
Paintings, sculpture
(November 21,2020 - April 30, 2021, Room 6)

Why So Serious is the first solo exhibition of 14 works by NY-based Bulgarian artist Houben Tcherkelov at the Museum of Humour and Satire in Gabrovo. Best known for his money paintings, the artist also shows sculptures made between 2002 and 2019, alongside new work made for the exhibition.

The exhibition title borrows a line from a scene of the Batman movie The Dark Knight, where the Joker recollects a childhood memory. “Why So Serious?” his father asks him during a family fight, as he slides a knife through the sides of the child’s mouth to form an eternal scar-smile. The Joker is fascinated by money, which he nonetheless cannot treat seriously. Like о the Joker, Houben Tcherkelov is also fascinated by money. He appropriates images from banknotes and coins and has made this a lasting subject in his work since 2003.

The exhibition includes four series of works based on money: one dedicated to Benjamin Franklin, who besides his political career was also a humorist (he compiled The Drinker's Dictionary), another dedicated to Cervantes and his character Don Quixote (also recognized as a symbol of the Museum of Humour, thanks to a landmark statue in front of the building made by sculptor Georgi Chapkanov), two works dedicated to Mark Twain and his literary work, and a Darth Vader mask (the Star Wars villain, surprisingly, is featured on coins from New Zealand).

Who is Houben Tcherkelov?

Houben Tcherkelov (Bulgarian, also known as Houben R.T.) was born on January 23, 1970. He lives and works in New York. In his early photographs, films, and installations, post-communist society is a recurrent theme. In his more recent work, Tcherkelov paints images from national currencies using foil and acrylic. His works have been featured at The Bronx Museum, NY, The Brogan Museum, FL, the 54th Venice Biennial, and galleries in New York, Boston, Washington and Charlotte.

The artist about his work:

”My paintings are a way to enter into a dialogue with different subjects, different eras, and different ideologies. In currencies, many cultures are manifest in the most clear and direct way. Sometimes this communication is subtle, but often it is overt. As an artist, I translate and distill images on money into an artistic product that will receive its own value and, ultimately, be moved into exchange in the same way as currency.
The representation of money stands in for this desire; whereas previous generations of Pop Art reflected the desire for material objects, the depiction of images from currency may represent an evolution in consumption from material goods to net worth.

A catalogue with texts by Dimitar Kambourov, Deyan Kiuranov, Nada Nesheva, and Georgi Tenev has been published in conjunction with the exhibition. The book would not have been possible without the generous support of Chariot Motors Inc. On 21 November, Saturday, from 11:00 a.m., the film Houben Paints Money (dir. Georgi Tenev, 2011) will be screened at the Museum.

Cartoon Salon 2020
/October 23, 2020 - January 31, 2021, Room 5/

45th National Cartoon Exhibition 2020 - guest exhibition

For the first time in its 45th history, the National Cartoon Exhibition will be officially opened at the Museum of Humor and Satire in Gabrovo. The anti-epidemic conditions in the country require the 145 cartoons of 38 authors to be displayed completely "disinfected, distanced and disciplined", and the awards ceremony announcing this year's winners obliges us all to be "masked" as well. With a deep sense of gratitude and respect, the exhibition also includes original works from the museum art collection by cartoonists Velin Andreev, Ivan Kutuzov-Kuti, Stoyan Dukov and Fiko Fikov, who recently changed their earthly residence for a brighter world, where they could continue creating their cheerful drawings.

The winner of this year's award of the Museum of Humor and Satire is Halit Kurtulmush-Aytoslu, and among the other awarded cartoonists are Svetlin Stefanov, Stoyan Dechev, Lyubomir Mihaylov, Maya Cholakova, Milko Dikov, Nikola Georgiev-Kayo and Tsocho Peev.

7: 0 for the Cartoon - solo exhibition of Lyubomir Mihaylov

The exhibition features 51 cartoons and celebrates the artist’s 70th anniversary. The partnership of the Museum of Humor and Satire with Lyubomir Mihailov is of many years; the result - 33 original works treasured in the museum art collection.

Born on September 26, 1950 in Kavarna, Lyubomir Mihaylov has graduated in civil engineering in Sofia and self-made himself as an artist. He has interests mainly in the field of cartoon, illustration, book layout, poster art and graphic design.
He has worked as an artist in the Tehnika publishing house, Sofia; on the editorial-boards of A Propos almanac, Gabrovo and Starshel newspaper; he was designer and artist of the magazine FEP (Fiction, Heuristics, Prognostics); chief artist of the children's magazine Dino and Dina and PC magazine (Post Scriptum). He is the author of numerous film posters for the former Cinema Distribution Enterprise, Boyana and hundreds of covers and illustrations for almost all publishers before 1989. For several years he was a regular contributor to the magazines Nebelspalter, Eulenspigel and Index on Censorship. Today he does children's illustrations and designs textbooks for the publishing houses Prosveta, Bulvest - 2000, Anubis, Ariadna, Abagar and others.
Lyubomir Mihaylov has participated in exhibitions of cartoons, illustrations, posters and graphics in Bulgaria and abroad. He has received many awards, some of which he deems very prestigious.
He has shown solo cartoon exhibitions in Sofia, Varna, Gabrovo, Balchik and at the International Congress Center in Davos, Switzerland.
He has been a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists since 1982; in the period 2005-2015 he chaired the Cartoon section at the UBA.

30 + 30 - solo exhibition of Svetlin Stefanov

The title of the exhibition suggests that this artist is also celebrating an anniversary this year. He turns 60, so he presents 30 cartoons and 30 pieces of small sculpture at the 2020 Cartoon Salon. The museum art collection holds 12 works by Svetlin Stefanov.
Born in 1960 in Tryavna, Svetlin Stefanov has graduated in woodcarving in his hometown, and has later majored in Fine Arts at the Teachers' Institute in Dupnitsa.
He has been drawing cartoons since 1986 and has had over 800 publications in 52 periodicals in Bulgaria, including Starshel, Anteni, Standart, Spektar, Smyah and others. He has participated in a number of international cartoon competitions in Canada, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Iran, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. Since 1989 he has been a regular participant in the Gabrovo International Biennial.
Svetlin Stefanov won a prize from the cartoon competition in Marostica, Italy; first prize for cartoon at the festival Fun-Loving Balkans, Gabrovo; second prize and silver plaque from Kragujevac, Serbia; third prize from the 27th National Cartoon Exhibition of Union of Bulgarian Artists; the award of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria at the 42nd edition of the National Cartoon Exhibition and others.
He has shown solo exhibitions in Serbia, Romania, twice at the House of Humor and Satire, and five times in his hometown.
He has been a member of the UBA, Cartoon section, since 2000. He has his own studio for woodcarving and satirical sculpture in Tryavna, where he has been working for 30 years now.

24. Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, Gabrovo 2019
Garden Town - exhibition for children
/May 18 - September 30 2019, Room 4/

The exhibition is specially designed for children within the framework of the 24. Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art. Its author is artist Nevena Ekimova who has developed the Biennial theme Dimensions of Publicness inviting children to learn how to explore, actively engage with, transform and discuss the issues on the Garden Town together.

In Garden Town the children are free to show their imagination, resourcefulness and care about the environment making the streets of the town beautiful, saving homeless kittens, making seed bombs, learning how to make decisions in a group. In fact, every town is possible to turn into a garden, but it is only in Garden Town where mischief has a happy end.