Georgi Chapkanov through the Eyes of Ivan Bakalov - solo exhibition and works from the Museum's collection
Photographs, sculptures
(June 18, 2021, Room 7)

An artist and a journalist are intertwined in the magic of creativity and documenting the creative process. For years journalist Ivan Bakalov photographs sculptor Georgi Chapkanov in his studio, hunting for the signs of the imperishable in life, capturing through his lens emotions, memories, associations, questions and thoughts. The sculptor Georgi Chapkanov does the same, but more slowly, in the line of a carefully constructed style. They both examine the subtle detail that encodes the truth about the whole picture. Sometimes they are in the company of companions and judges, associates and supporters.

Over the long years of their acquaintance, Ivan Bakalov has left highlights of memorable encounters with that vanishing bunch of bohemians - skeptics, thinkers, sages, who jokingly and ironically crisscross contrasting territories. His photographs are like footnotes in an unwritten story about an entire epoch, through which Georgi Chapkanov's creative life passes in work and philanthropy.

He is probably the most productive Bulgarian sculptor, says Bakalov. Prominent and less famous personalities - writers, artists, rich people and diplomats - have frequented his studio. Chapkanov’ work encompasses small and monumental sculpture, plaques, bas-reliefs, coins, medals, coats of arms, ceramics, bronze portraits, graphics, paintings, scrap metal sculptures; sculpted figures on squares in Bulgaria, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Germany.

This exhibition, put together by the Eighth PhotoFabrica Festival and UniCredit Studio, is undoubtedly part of Bulgarian memory and a shared homage to the talent of а generously gifted person.

Ivan Bakalov is a journalist and photographer; he has graduated in journalism from Sofia University, where he is a part-time lecturer in press photography. He has worked as an editor for the newspapers "1000 dni", "Expres", "24 chasa", "Sega", "Novinar". He is founder and editor of the site e-vestnik.bg and author of the books "Conspiracies against Zhivkov - First-person Stories", "In the Shadow of Borisov", "Masts at the End of the Street - 5500 km by car around the United States", "To Chicago and forward On Route 66".

The exhibition is complemented with early sculpture pieces by Georgi Chapkanov treasured in the art collection of the Museum of Humour and Satire.

Image Show - solo exhibition by J.Pank /Yordan Pankov
Paintings, limited prints
(May 15 - September 6, 2021, Room 6)

The Museum of Humor and Satire is showing an exhibition by Gabrovo-born artist Yordan Pankov, better known as J. Pank. The works come from different periods – some works are new but there are also paintings from the series Fly-by, Lost and Yesterday and Today; characteristically for the artist, they all interpret masterpieces of art history in the language of pop culture.

J. Pank focuses primarily on canvases that have disappeared. He admits he is no less impressed by their market value than by the recognizable images, while the multiplication and deliberate repetition his artistic style rests on reinforce the feeling that everything today is a vision.

It is not only a childhood emotional thread that connects him with the Museum of Humor but his characteristic ironic approach as an artist as well. The sense of humor is part of the visual originality of his images, as well as of the artist's carefully nurtured self-mythology. "Some would take my way of work as a light style against the heavy artillery of classical art, but it is purposefully sought in order to bring together distant in time and difficult to reconcile phenomena. I like mixing the conceptual approach with the audacity of pop art; it lends effortlessness to perception, which easily takes art out of the gallery and brings it closer to real life, fashion and design," says the artist.

“Трябва да бъдем щастливи, въпреки света, в който има толкова страдание”, настоява J. Pank. “Изкуството преди всичко трябва да е човешко, да е комично, когато е нужно и брутално, когато се налага.”

A graduate of the National Academy of Arts, Yordan Pankov lives in Sofia and works on plots from missing or stolen masterpieces of world art. He has shown solo exhibitions in Rayko Alexiev Gallery and the National Gallery; in the galleries Arosita, Sofia-Press and Serdika. He has participated in five editions of the Gabrovo Biennale, as well as in three editions of the Triennial of Graphic Art in Varna.

Migrations in the Artist's Studio II - solo exhibition by Robert Baramov (1966 - 2021)
Installations, objects, videos, painting
(April 23 - May 31, 2021, Room 7)

This is the first, regretfully posthumous, exhibition by Varna-born artist Robert Baramov in the Museum of Humour and Satire. On March 4 this year he passed away suddenly. He couldn’t beat the coronavirus. He left behind a rich legacy of graphic works and paintings, video films, objects and installations. This is a first-person story about the work on the exhibition told by Margarita Dorovska, director of the Museum

"We worked on his exhibition meeting online and live. Robert was indignant about the confined scene of Bulgarian contemporary art and the slowness and strenuousness of its development. He eagerly followed what was going on in the world – I have no idea how he never failed to be informed. We planned to show some installations and objects, videos and a painting. He had plenty of ideas and we considered a great number of works. I kept trying to establish a kind of an order, to sort out the themes and cut down the number of the works. He would agree, but then he would cunningly bring back into the conversation a work which had already dropped out. He joked that as an artist he had so few opportunities to present his work that it was tough for him to be disciplined. He wanted to show everything, to say everything and to do it now. I countered him saying that he would surely prepare many an exhibition in the future, but he insisted that there was no way I would understand him. He was already 54 and had no time left.
As to how he felt in the world of art, his painting 'An Artist Roasted over the Fire of Culture' speaks best. There is a figure in the centre, enveloped in blazing yellow flames; flowers glow about in the darkness and twisted live or dead bodies of insects and amphibians crawl out as curious witnesses to the pyre. But Robert had secured himself a quiet place, away from the “fire of culture”.
In their studios, artists are always in lockdown. Isolated, they sit all alone with their work. They become visible just in case they have an exhibition on. (This sense of invisibility was present in all of our talks with Robert.) In his studio, he had identified the likes of himself – migrants, invisible, weird creatures – bugs, butterflies and tiny spiders he cohabited with, studied carefully, built miniature towns for, ceded some of his territory to and documented. He had a couple of grotesque babies, too: a yellow-painted crow that lived the life of an ugly duckling; a mermaid that had painfully achieved the dream of learning how to walk, and a hopping penis in a dress of multicolored cellophane. Part of their party was a green frog that demanded to be kissed. We never found it anywhere in the studio, but I had seen a photo of it.
He didn’t treat all of these equally. He had imprisoned a group of cockroaches in a Camp for Illegal Migrants sanitising and aestheticizing them in white paint. With all good will he had tried to rescue others, but had actually done them in during these operations. I found them fixed with resin on small wooden blocks. What he had done was monuments to them: a stinkbug, a butterfly, a ladybird and a wasp enclosed in a cosmic syringe capsule. He was genuinely enjoying the ecosystem of his studio, while the metaphor of its inhabitants was more than conspicuous.
We say good-bye to him with gratitude for his generosity and this most intimate exhibition he has probably ever done. Let there be light on your way, migrant!"

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.

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.