Christmas Stars - children's art
/14 December 2017 - 9 February 2018, Gabrovo Planet Room/

The spirit of Christmas is spreading all over the House of Humour and Satire. By tradition, the chief masters of the festive mood are the children, therefore, yet another year the Museum reserves a corner of its exhibition space to show their radiant drawings and inspiring dreams.

The exhibition Christmas Stars arranged in the Gabrovo Planet Room, a favourite spot for all children, shows the annual output of 82 young artists from five art schools in Gabrovo comprising a considerable part of extracurriculum activities in the field of fine arts in the town.

The House of Humour and Satire truly appreciates the constructive cooperation with the Fine Arts School headed by Eliza Kovacheva-Tsokova; the Applied Arts School headed by Iva Pencheva; the Fine Arts School under the guidance of Bozhidar Kovachev; Art World Fine Arts School headed by Milena Koleva and the Arts Society to Aprilov-Palauzov 1861 People's Community Centre under the guidance of Ema Verterova.

Let's celebrate with the art of the young talents of Gabrovo!

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.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Projects
Signed posters and video materials of projects by both artists
Born in Gabrovo
Documentary exhibition about the life of the Javacheff family in Gabrovo and young Christo's early steps in art
/October 27, 2017 - June 17, 2018, Stefan Fartunov Room/

"The works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude are immediately recognizable. Trained in the classical tradition, from early on Christo Javacheff was determined to create his own trademark in the arts. At 21, he deliberately chose the difficult path of the emigrant artist. He was ready to sacrifice everything. Through his efforts and talent, he fit right into the modern spirit of Europe... Christo preferred to remain independent of the manifescos of others, but he shared his name with Jeanne-Claude, the woman who understood and provoked him. He turned his back on the classical portraiture that brought them security. A hunger for new experiences led them to America... All of their projects are unique and are realized for the first and last time, functioning as an enterprise with an administration, logistics, finances and planning. Christo and Jeanne-Claude move through all of this without compromising their principles of absolute independence. Their unique model of financing and not contracting with large galleries or powerful art dealers is rare in the art world. Their projects have a short life, but anyone who has seen them will remember them forever."
Evgenia Atanasova-Teneva

The exhibition Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Projects features sixteen projects and some early works by the artists. It starts with the transition from Christo's first works created in his studio in Paris (wrapped boxes and bottles) and then in New York (facades of store buildings) towards the large-scale projects realized in urban and nature environment. The exhibition also includes a video interview with Christo about his early work shot in New York by Assoc. Prof. Georgi Lozanov and film director Stoyan Radev. The large-scale projects of the artists are chronologically showcased through posters, text, a timeline and a map. Among the featured projects are the Iron Curtain (Oil Barrels), Valley Curtain, Wrapped Reichstag, The Umbrellas, Wrapped Trees and Pont Neuf. The latest realized project, The Floating Piers, is presented in video takes by Nedyalko Danov from the film A Bridge to Christo made by Evgenia Atanasova-Teneva for Bulgarian National Television. The exhibition ends with the project The Mastaba Christo is working on at present. It is planned to be realized in the desert near Abu Dabi, and will be the biggest piece of sculpture in the world. Its make will take 410 000 versicoloured barrels composong a mosaic of bright, radiant colours reminiscent of the tradition of Islamic architecture. The Mastaba is an ancient shape, familiar to the people in the region.

The exhibition Born in Gabrovo is a kind of a "time capsule" in which the story is narrated by Bulgarian journalist Evgenia Atanasova-Teneva. She is a consultant on the exhibition and author of the texts.
The exhibition follows the life of the Javacheff family - Tsveta and Vladimir and their three sons, in Gabrovo. The visitors to the Museum will learn about young Christo, the boy who spent his early years in Gabrovo and who was to become the world-renowned artist Christo; will see photos from his childhood together with his brothers: favourite film and theatre actor Anani Javacheff and Stefan Javacheff, a chemical engineer and the inventor of Vero detergent in Bulgaria. On show is a collection of private photographs lent by the members of the Javacheff family, as well as documents from the State Archives in Gabrovo and other institutions. The exhibition includes old paintings and cherished mementos of friends and classmates of Christo's; it reveals significant facts about the formation of Christo as one of the artist innovators with personal contribution to the development of art in the 20th and 21st century. The exhibition also evokes the years of the booming industry in Gabrovo and the historical changes that put a mark on the fate of the town and its citizens in the middle of the last century.
The display winds up with the Kachorite locality in Gabrovo. Christo affectionately remembers the place in the interviews conducted by Evgenia Atanasova-Teneva. There, he played with his brothers and drew trees, houses, people's portraits - peasants, their children and wives - hundreds of drawings. Kachorite is a place which Christo, a student in the Academy of Art, would re-visit and spend a whole month at before leaving Bulgaria for good. Kachorite is the most enduring childhood memory Christo is fond of recalling. The locality remains an intact symbol of absolute freedom the hunger for which would determine Christo's life and ouevre.

Both exhibitions are organized by Gabrovo Municipality, the Museum House of Humour and Satire and the Society Our Bigger Gabrovo in partnership with Bulgarian National Television, the Gabrovo branch of the State Archives, Aprilov-Palauzov Regional Library, Gabrovo Regional History Museum, National Aprilov High School, National Tryavna School of Applied Arts, Neofit Rilski Lower Secondary School and Vasil Levski Primary School. Displayed in the exhibitions are materials kindly provided by the Javacheff family, Evgenia-Atanasova-Teneva, Assoc. Prof. Georgi Lozanov and Stoyan Radev, Dragan Nemtsov (whose private archive houses the photograph of the Art Study Circle in Gabrovo, 1948), Iva Hadzhieva, Geo Kukudov, Ivan Gospodinov and Marian Kostadinov.

Screenings of films about Christo and Jeanne-Claude will take place during the continuance of the exhibitions; a programme of workshops for children will soon be announced.

Cartoonists' Descent
42. National Cartoon Exhibition
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 7/

Cartoonists' Descent is the heading of a large-scale event dedicated to the art of cartooning. It features contemporary artists from Bulgaria and abroad, as well as world cartoon salons. The House of Humour and Satire uses this titles for the first time in 2014; however, cartoon exhibitions have been an invariable part of the Museum's autumn programme long before that. Such an exhibition is the National Cartoon Exhibition held yearly in Sofia.

42. National Cartoon Exhibition presents an annual review of the latest works created by Bulgarian masters of drawn humour. It is organized by section Cartoon to the Union of Bulgarian Artists. The current selection features 133 cartoons by 20 artists out of the 300 cartoons by 42 artists that were initially shown in April 2017 in Sofia.

Traditionally, the exhibition has no set theme and artists are free to show their own creative visions and criteria. The prevailing impression this year is of a withdrawal from political topics and worn-out political subjects so profusely caricatured in previous editions. The focus is on the interpretation of undying themes: love, sex, relations between the sexes, ecology, wine, cosmos, sports, money, business, among others. Both political and non-political portrait charge has its place.

Since May 1964, when the First General Cartoon Exhibition took place, and with short breaks in time, The National Exhibition continues to provide ground for artists’ manifestation and to champion the mission of cartoon – to make one laugh and cry, but mainly to provoke the viewer’s reflection.

Cartoonists' Descent
Trump – Nine Months Later (by the best cartoonists in the world)
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 6/

This themed collection is specially selected by American cartoonist Daryl Cagle who manages the internet cartoon site www.Cagle.com. The exhibition comprises 131 political cartoons by 66 leading editorial cartoonists in the world. This is the first ever large-scale presentation of contemporary Americal editorial cartoon in the exhibition rooms of the House of Humour and Satire.

This is Daryl Cagle's introduction to the exhibition:
"The cartoonists displayed here are part of my newspaper “syndication package” (see CagleWorld.com). More than half of the newspapers in the USA subscribe to the package so this exhibition shows the cartoon view of Trump that most Americans readers see. A third of the USA supports Trump, so why are there no cartoons supporting Trump here? Editorial cartooning is a negative art form. Cartoons that say something nice are lousy cartoons. American editors often complain about a lack of “pro-Trump” cartoons.а

We, editorial cartoonists, rely on “clichés” that allow us to draw cartoons that convey complex ideas with few words. Our palette of clichés is limited to images readers would know and when there is only one subject dominating the news (Trump), and only one point of view (anti-Trump), we see the same monsters, Pinocchios and Nazis, over and over – but monsters are fun, and we will be seeing Trump monsters for three more years – at least.

Newspaper readers in the USA see lots of cartoons by international cartoonists through our Cagle newspaper package, but readers from around the world rarely see American editorial cartoons. This exhibition is your opportunity to see what the public debate looks like in the USA – it looks like: Godzilla, King Kong, Frankenstein, the Ku Klux Klan, Dracula, Hitler and Satan."

Cartoonists' Descent
Daryl Cagle. Editorial Cartoons
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

Besides the selected collection Trump - Nine Months Later, American cartoonist Daryl Cagle is showing a solo exhibition of 36 cartoons in this year's edition of Cartoonists' Descent. But who is Daryl Cagle?

He is one of the most productive American cartoonists over the past forty years. He went to college at UC Santa Barbara. Then he moved to New York City where he worked for fifteen years with Jim Henson’s Muppets, illustrating scores of books, magazines and all manner of products. Daryl contributed to many newspapers and media services before he became the cartoonist for Slate.com in 2000; in 2005 Daryl moved from Slate.com to become the cartoonist for the internet's top news site, msnbc.com and later NBCnews.com. Daryl’s work is now syndicated to over 850 subscribing newspapers, including half of America’s daily, paid circulation newspapers. In 2001, Daryl started a new syndicate, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. (www.Cagle.com) distributing Daryl's cartoons and the work of about seventy editorial cartoonists and columnists. Daryl is a past president of the National Cartoonists Society and the National Cartoonists Society Foundation..

Daryl Cagle sat on the jury of the 23rd International Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, Gabrovo 2017. He will be a special guest to the opening of Cartoonists' Descent-2017 and will give lectures to the public in Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo.

Cartoonists' Descent
100 Years since the October Revolution – exhibition of Arhigum Club, Ukraine
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

The exhibition features cartoons (84 works by 21 artists) from 1917 until 2017 looking back on the October Revolution and its promises.

‘How did the country we were born in and raised look like?’ asks Viktor Kudin, head of the Arhigum Caricature Club in Ukraine and answers:

‘It was the country of the ‘Big Lie’, the country of the dictatorship of the party leaders where the existing structures permeated the whole of society. At that moment it seemed impossible that the monolith of Party and people would ever fall apart. The regime was not afraid of any physical action against it; its main fear was the ideological and spiritual protest embodied in words and pictures. To beat it, there were departments of the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs in the form of creative unions of artists, composers and writers.’

‘Throughout the history of the USSR, I do not know of a single picture by any artist in the territory of the country that was used against the government,’ says another club member Vladimir Kazanevsky.

But somewhere in the seventies of the last century, artists began participating in international cartoon contests. Ambiguous works related to power started appearing too. Everybody was delighted with it.

At that time, Michael Zlatkovsky became the main ‘anti-Soviet guy’ of the period. The Arhigum Club did not lag behind either. Artists such as Kosobukin, Kazanevsky, Kudin, Kazansky received first places at international competitions while their works could still not be published in the Soviet Union.

Cartoonists' Descent
With(out) Words – solo exhibition of Margarita Yancheva, Bulgaria
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

The invitation to show a solo exhibition is part of the prize awarded to Margarita Yancheva by the House of Humour and Satire at the 42nd National Cartoon Exhibition in April 2017 in Sofia. She is the fifteenth consecutive winner of this special prize. The exhibition features 32 original cartoons.

Margarita Yancheva was born in 1971 in Sofia where she lives and works. She is a contributor to Starshel newspaper and a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists, section Cartoons.

She has shown her work in group exhibitions in Bulgaria Turkey, Greece, Serbia, France and Spain. Over the last years, Yancheva has had solo exhibitions in Slovakia, Macedonia and Bulgaria.

In 1997 she won the prize of Starshel newspaper given to a young artist followed by more prestigious distinctions: prize of section Cartoons to the Union of Bulgarian Artists at the 37th National Cartoon Exhibition (2012); second prize at the International Cartoon Biennial, Vercelli, Italy (2014); Silver Mask prize in Vevchani, Macedonia (2015); prize of Starshel newspaper and prize of the Museum House of Humour and Satire at the 42nd National Cartoon Exhibition, Sofia (2017).

Margarita Yancheva will be a special guest at the opening of Cartoonists' Descent 2017.

Cartoonists' Descent
Metaphors and Propaganda. Papagal newspaper from 1939 to 1953
Papagal newspaper reproductions
/5 October 2017 - 28 February 2018, Room 5/

The exhibition features the study conducted by artist, researcher and author Anton Staykov on the history of Bulgarian satirical newspaper Papagal (Parrot) from 1939 until 1953. On show are 40 reproductions of the newspaper and 80 digitized images displayed on a monitor. They feature Bulgaria’s destiny in the tragic wartime transition from a kingdom to a people’s republic through the lens of cartoon, propaganda and the stereotypes of the neighbours and the great powers.

Anton Stykov sat on the jury of the 23rd International Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, Gabrovo 2017. He majored in painting at Nikolay Pavlovich Higher Institute of Fine Arts. Then he continued his studies taking an animation course in Israel. He has a PhD degree in semiotics of advertising. Staykov is co-founder of Comic Strips section to the Union of Bulgarian Artists; curator of the international exhibition Sofia Comics Expo 2014 and the First National Exhibition of Bulgarian Comic Strips, 2013. He has written numerous articles on writers, artists and translators for Bulgarian newspapers and magazines and has had scientific papers published in collections and yearbooks of Sofia University and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

In his introduction to the study and the exhibtiiton, Staykov states: "As early as the end of the 19th century Europe sees the publication of such periodicals which provide information and spread propaganda in a funny, simplified and often outright manipulative manner. A large-size cartoon or a sequence of pictures (comics-like) presents a topical political event in a satirical form making use of a metaphor easy to understand. The world is shown as a stylized stage on which popular clichéd characters, which represent different countries, parties and groups, play-act relationships of love, hatred and treachery among others. "

It is worth noting that Papagal is bilingual; before 1944 it is subsequently published in Bulgarian and English; Bulgarian and German; Bulgarian and Hungarian. After 1948 it comes out in Bulgarian and Turkish. The different political regimes during which the newspaper comes out determine its purposes, artsitic quality and the circle of authors and artists contributing to it.

Cartoonists'' Descent
'Starshel' and Friends
Cartoons, documentary materials
/5 October 2017 - 28 Februart 2018, Room 7/

Starshel newspaper - the pioneer of satire in Bulgaria - has been partner and supporter of the House of Humour and Satire since the foundation of the Museum. Therefore, 'Starshel' and Friends, part of this year's Cartoonists' Descent, carries the feeling of a genuinely friendly visit. The exhibition features original cartoons and documentary materials from the newspaper's archives. But who can better present Starshel than a long-standing member of the editorial team? The floor is given to Rumen Belchev:

"No other Bulgarian newspaper has been in circulation for seventy years nonstop without changing either its name or character.
Every Friday since the beginning in the distant 1946,the prickly masthead drawn by Boris Angelushev brightens up the news stands.
The satirical publications of the former socialists countries died away one after the other, but Starshel (Gadfly) has continued its indomitable march forward.
How come?
Because Starshel is not a standard newspaper; it is a community of writers, artists and readers.
It is even more than a community; it is a true club of critically thinking people who have embraced the Starshel slogan:
‘Opposition to any authority; resistance to any stupidity!’
The exhibition, which puts together drawings from the editorial-board’s archive by three generations of Starshel artists, is dedicated to all friends of the newspaper and all friends ofrespectability and free speech.
Some of the caricatured political physiognomies are hard to remember any longer; however, it only proves that political career may be long or short, but to all social climbers’ regret, art is eternal!
They will last in history, but caricatured and lampooned.
Most of them truly deserve it!
The exhibition features caricatures and cartoons by 17 artists: Velin Andreev, Gencho Simeonov, Donyo Donev, Milko Dikov, Georgi Chavdarov, Georgi Chaushov, Valeri Lyutov, Nikolay Pekarev, Ivaylo Ninov, Mircho Mirchev, Hristo Komarnitski, Lyubomir Mihaylov, Chavdar Nikolov, Svetlin Stefanov, Ivan Kutuzov, Ivailo Tsvetkov and Matgarita Yancheva.
Except cartoons, displayed in the exhibition are tens of documents and photographs from the newspaper’s seventy-year history."