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.

Greetings from...Italy and Bulgaria - guest exhibition from the Italian Cultural Institute, Sofia
Illustrated postcards, stamps and coins
/November 8 - December 15, 2018, Room 4/

The travelling exhibition Greetings from...Italy and Bulgaria is organized by the Italian Cultural Institute in Sofia in cooperation with the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. It presents more than 300 exhibits - postcards, coins and stamps - whose quotidian, daily use reflects the development of society in the 20th century in both countries. The people in Italy and Bulgaria alike are equally interested in universal topics and issues and in the political processes happening in each country.

Into the focus of the exhibition is the juxtaposion of the two countries, which, despite the cultural, political and religious differences, share a lot of common things. The collection highights the unique traits of the Italian people and their contribution to the arts, music, film-making and science through postcards, used stamps and coins from the Archivio Colloridi in Rome; however, the semantic value of the exhibition is complemented, like a mirror image, with a sizeable collection of Bulgarian documents from the same period.

Coming into the world in the 19th century, illustrated postcards enter en masse people's lives through the development of communications in the 20th century. That is the time of rapid technical and undustrial advancement of societies; of building up the scructure of modern unified nations; of wars, catastrophes and a new order. But postcards turn into artefacts as well, enriching the information content with an aesthetic delight through stories about exotic travels and celebrations of important layman's festivals and religious feasts.

Alongside the postcards, stamps and coins play a significant part in raising the awareness of national identity and preserving the collective memory of both countries notwithstanding the fact that today the images on them do not bear on the contemporary political life while the postcards are literally replaced by laconic digital messages.

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.

Idle Cartoons - a solo exhibition of Irien Trendafilov
Irien Trendafilov is the winner of the special prize that the Museum of Humour and Satire gave for the sixteenth time at the opening of the 43rd National Cartoon Exhibition on April 5th, 2018. This is the motive for including his solo show Idle Cartoons in the Cartoon Salon this year. For the Plovdiv-born artist, being idle or idling about is a way of life, a symbol of free spirit that will hover over pragmatic Gabrovo for a while at least.
Irien Trendafilov was born in 1955 in Plovdiv. He graduated from the Moscow Geological Prospecting Institute with a specialty of Exploration and production of radioactive and rare elements. He has worked as a geologist, technologist, chief engineer, manager and director of a mining company. He published his first cartoon in 1968 in the Plovdiv newspaper Otechestven glas. Trendafilov has been a member of Cartoon section at the Union of Bulgarian Artists since 1988. His works have been published in both Bulgarian and Russian newspapers. He has shown nine solo exhibitions in Bulgaria and Russia. Trendafilov has participated in numerous national and international cartoon exhibitions and competitions and has won 30 awards.

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.

43rd National Cartoon Exhibition

On show in Gabrovo is a selected collection of 71 works by 26 artists from the 43rd National Cartoon Exhibition, Sofia 2018. The works treat a variety of subject matter and issues: love, sex, money, relationships between men and women, ecology, war and peace. The exhibition includes both editorial cartoons and cartoons drawn for international cartoon competitions and exhibitions.

The World according to Todor Tsonev - retrospective exhibition
Small sculptures, drawings, graphic works, paintings
/April 27, 2018 - April 7, 2019, Room 5/

The retrospective exhibition The World according to Todor Tsonev is a first-time showcase of more than 400 oeuvres by the artist gathered at one place. They encompass plastic art pieces, drawings, graphic works and paintings unknown or little known to the public so far. The small satirical sculptures on display have no analogue in both Bulgaria and in the work of other artists from the former Soviet bloc countries. Along with the watercolors and drawings, they evoke the spirit and the image of Bulgaria's socialist past in a manner unseen before and now.

Todor Tsonev 1934-2004) is a man with an encyclopedic turn of mind: painter, sculptor, cartoonist, graphic artist, aesthete, moralist and a powerhouse of ideas. Born in Sofia, he graduated from the Academy of Art in illustration and graphic art, under the guidance of Prof. Iliya Beshkov. In 1970 he put on his first solo exhibition of satirical plastic art in Sofia. The exhibition travelled to Gabrovo in May 1971 and was displayed within the framework of the 7th National Festival of Humour and Satire. It is this exhibition that captured the attention of the Gabrovo citizens and that of Stefan Fartunov in particular, founder and first director of the future House of Humour and Satire. Fartunov found in Todor Tsonev that imaginative creative personality he needed to join the group of the visionary founders already entrusted with the conceptual development of the new cultural institution. Todor Tsonev responded to the Gabrovo invitation with generosity that won him the title Honorary Citizen of Gabrovo at the age of only 37. Some of his bold ideas came to fruition; others still lie dormant in the Museum archives. Todor Tsonev sculpted the first Golden Aesop statuette - the Grand Prix awarded at the International Biennial of Cartoon and Small Satirical Sculpture in 1973 and 1975; two metal signs of distinction - Gabrovo Necklace and a plaque of the House of Humour and Satire with an image of Hitar Petar (Bulgarian folklore figure) on it. In 1971 he donated an album of lithographs by Daumier and 50 drawings and lithographs of his. In 2004, through the mediation of historian and art historian Maria Ovcharova, PhD., he made a new donation to the House of Humour and Satire consisting of 96 satirical drawings on the subject of Uncle Ganyu and some of his incriminated or better known "arrested" cartoons (taken away during a house search on the day of his arrest, 16 March 1979; they were held up by the State Security or Bulgarian secret service until December 1989.) Since 2005 (a year after his death) this donation has been shown round a number of Bulgarian cities and towns. The book collection of the Museum also houses 108 donated issues of the monthly sheet Satire published by Todor Tsonev between 1990 and 1999 in tandem with Maria Ovcharova, PhD.

Todor Tsonev's entire life is an example of a noble civil stand and, according to his own judgement, of holding one's ground as a "champion of public morality and justice". For more than 30 years he drew caricatures of the communist leader Todor Zhivkov and the sycophants around him paying for that with an arrest from 16 March until 22 May 1979. Tsonev strictly followed a line of non-compliance with bosses, party members and administrators. His credo was to fight evil in all of its manifestations, in the name of pure human relations, sincerity and perfection of human beings; his hobby was "Democracy and its issues meant to evolve into satire." Even in his last letters to Stefan Fartunov he kept insisting that the House of Humour and Satire be renamed House of Satire and Humour because "humour has many sides and can be devious while satire is a pure category."

The curator of the exhibition The World according to Todor Tsonev is Mr. Ivo Milev; he has done the research and developed the concept of the exhibition design. He has also authored the text in both the exhibition and the catalogue that accompanies it. The catalogue includes a biographical study of Todor Tsonev based on archival materials and documents unknown and unpublished so far.

The exhibition is realized under Culture Programme run by Gabrovo Municipality.
The Inventions - travelling exhibition of Children's Science Center MUZEIKO, Sofia
/April 1 - October 31, 2018, Room 4/

After the Art Gallery in the town of Razgrad, the Museum House of Humour and Satire is the second stop on the route of the travelling exhibition The Inventions kindly provided by the Children's Science Center MUZEIKO in Sofia. The exhibition is dedicated to the amazing inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries that have changed the life of all people in the world.

Inventions relates the process of discovery as by means of interactive play modules children are encouraged to assume the role of genuine discoverers - to explore new ideas, to perfect themselves, to fear neither errors nor failure, for failure makes an essential part of achieving success.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to learn how scientists came to the invention of the Roentgen apparatus, the telephone and the Morse apparatus, as well as of some less popular inventions like Slinky, the hot air balloon and human-powered cars.

MUZEIKO is the largest children's science center in Eastern Europe set up in 2015 by America for Bulgaria Foundation. In a fascinating and easy-to-understand way it rationalizes the connection between children and knowledge by means of modern space design and progressive teaching methods.

125 Years since the Birth of Rayko Aleksiev
/March 1, 2018, Floor 3, the lobby/

On March 7, it will be 125 years since the birth of Bulgarian journalist, humorist and cartoonist Rayko Aleksiev - better known under the pseudonym of Fra Dyavolo. On this occasion the House of Humour and Satire is showing an exhibition of cartoons by Rayko Aleksiev which are housed in the museum art collection.

Born in the town of Pazardzhik, Rayko Aleksiev studied literature at Sofia University and drawing at the Academy of Art. He specialized in painting in Germany and Italy. His first cartoons were published as early as his student years.

Aleksiev's name is closely associated with the humorous newspaper Shturets (Grasshopper) issued by him from 1932 until September 8, 1944. He wrote and drew all materials for the newspaper at home. Among the contributers to the newspaper were established at the time Bulgarian writers and cartoonists. Along with the newspaper, Rayko Aleksiev wrote and published collections of humorous stories and feuilletons.

Despite his statement that "he was not a politician and his cartoons were intended to ridicule what some politicians did to the detriment of the people", the historical turn of September 9, 1944 capsized his destiny dramatically. Rayko Aleksiev was arrested as an "enemy of the people" and beaten savagely. He died on November 18, 1944. He was posthumously convicted on the grounds of "anti-Soviet" and "pro-German" propaganda by the People's Court in March 1945. His property was taken in favour of the state and his books were banned.

Rayko Aleksiev was exonerated from blame after November 10, 1989. One of the galleries in Sofia was named after him. In 2002, Pazardzhik Municipality established a national literary award for humour and satire in his name. On February 27, 2013 a glacier in Antarctica was called Rayko Aleksiev.

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.