Antihero - solo exhibition of Kaloyan Iliev - Kokimoto
Paintings, installations, objects, collages
(September 18 - November 10, 2020, Room 6)

After a series of entries in the International Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art in Gabrovo, Kaloyan Iliev - Kokimoto is showing his first solo exhibition at the Museum of Humour and Satire. The exhibition features 39 paintings, installations, objects and collages.

Kaloyan Iliev - Kokimoto was born in 1979 in Varna. He has graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at St. St. Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo and has specialized in the graphic department of the Academy of Arts in Lodz, Poland.
He has shown solo exhibitions at TAM, Veliko Tarnovo; Intro Gallery, Sofia; UniCredit Studio, Sofia; Gifted, Sofia; Contemporary space, Varna; Sea Casino, Burgas; Photosynthesis Gallery, Varna; Arosita Gallery, Sofia; U P.A.R.K Gallery, Plovdiv; Betahouse, Sofia; City Art Gallery, Varna; Club for Aesthetic Education of the Artist, Sofia; Location Center - temporary space, Gabrovo; Bulart Gallery, Varna; Gallery of Modern Art, Sofia; Epreuve d'Artiste Gallery, Antwerp; Museum of Arts, Frederikshavn, Denmark and Sigvardson Gallery, Rodby, Denmark.
Kaloyan Iliev has participated in the 24th Gabrovo Biennial of Humor and Satire in Art; the 16th Triennial of Small Graphic Forms, Lodz; Biennial of Ex-libris and Mini Print, Guangzhou; the 3rd Triennial of Graphics and Drawing, Bangkok; August in Art 7th Biennial of Visual Arts, Varna; Graphic Art Triennial, Krakow; ARTVILNIUS'09 Festival of Contemporary Art, Vilnius; the 1st Graphic Art Biennale, Alexandria; the 1st Graphic Art Biennale, Istanbul and the 13th Biennial for Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, Puglia. Kaloyan Iliev’s works have been shown in group exhibitions in the gallery of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Sofia; One Monev Gallery, Sofia; Raiko Alexiev Gallery, Sofia; Sofia Arsenal - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sofia; Vernon City Gallery, British Columbia, Canada; Knoll Gallery, Vienna; 11 Industrialna Gallery, Sofia. галерия.

In his works he recreates the relationships between himself and other people in the conditions of manipulated reality. The bizarre and gloomy worlds he conveys in graphic works, drawings, collages, photographs and installations are the fruit of memories and creative inventions. Many of his works reveal his interest in varied social issues such as the new world order, the role of modern icons in society and the attitude towards animals. Going from religion through politics and coming to absurd everyday situations, Kokimoto is intrigued by emotional and mental states such as narcissism and the longing for love and beauty. He works with already existing visual material enriched by his own narrative renderings.

Kokimoto's works frequently display a common image – a made-up image (alter ego) of the artist himself – a tragicomic black comic hybrid between a cat and a man. He appears out of the blue, makes comments about anything and everything, and promises nothing of a good taste but irony and provocation, which hardly defer to reality. He appropriates images from the consumer culture, permanently imprinted in the retina; steps into the sphere of kitsch and delights in the cult of idols, replacing old icons with new images. And although annoying, Kokimoto's actions can be entirely justified, in so far as any idolatry, beyond the solemn (pathetic) intentions of its makers, is no more than kitsch. Thus, the aesthetic legitimacy of Kokimoto’s images happens to be the artist’s greatest provocation. The arguments against his impudence are to no avail – the artist always has the last laugh.

Alyosha and the Cat - a project by Katharina Swoboda and Kamen Stoyanov
(June 19 - September 30, 2020, Stefan Fartunov Room)

Alyosha and the Cat is an installation comprising a film about an unusual encounter in front of the Monument to Alyosha on the Bunardzhika hill in Plovdiv and some archival photographs. Through the means of the song, the film shows two different points of view on the monument, its prehistory and how mythologies are born. The main characters Vasil and Katarina respond to the Alyosha song, created in 1966 and enjoying great popularity, with the Alexey Skurlatov song, specially composed for the film.

Katharina Swoboda was born 1984 in Graz, Austria. Katharina’s work is predominantly video-based, but she works in photography, installation art and performance art always in relation to moving images, as well. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

She has participated in national and international exhibition including: 2018 Kunsthalle Luzern, Switzerland (2018 ); WRO Media Art Biennial, Wroclaw, Poland (2017); 2017 BJCEM Young Artist Biennial, Tirana, Albania (2017 ); Manhattan Bridge, New York, USA, (2017); Corner College Zurich, Switzerland (2017); Vladimir Nazor Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia (2017). Solo exhibitions include FLUCA - Austrian Cultural Pavilion, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (2019); SewonArtSpace, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2018); Gallery Klubovna, Brno, CZ (2016) and others.

Katharina Swoboda has received several awards and scholarships, including Façade Video Prize, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (2018) and artist-in-residency by the Austrian chancellery, Yogyakarta, Indonesia (2018).

Kamen Stoyanov was born 1977 in Ruse, Bulgaria. He lives and works in Vienna and Sofia. He holds a diploma in painting from the National Art Academy Sofia and a diploma in Visual Arts and Cultural Studies from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Kamen Stoyanov´s films, videos, actions, installations, photographic works and performances have been presented at many exhibitions festival and biennials worldwide, including: IN THE PALACE, International Short Film Festival, Varna, Bulgaria (2019);City Art Gallery of Ljubljana, Slovenia, (2019); 24th Gabrovo Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, Bulgaria, (2019); Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria (2019); Sariev Contemporary, Plovdiv, Bulgaria (2019); Kunsthalle Baden - Baden, Germany (2018); International Video Art Festival, Moscow, Russia (2018); Ask the Artist, Sariev Contemporary, Plovdiv, Bulgaria 2017); WRO Media Biennale Wroclaw, Poland, (2017); SPIELART Festival, Munich, Germany (2015); Transmediale Berlin (2014); Camera Austria, Graz, Austria (2013); 17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, (2010); Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, Japan (2010); Kunsthalle Budapest, Hungary (2010); MANIFESTA 7, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Trentino, Italy (2008); Gyumri 6th International Biennial of Contemporary Art 2008, Gyumri , Armenia (2008); MUMOK, Vienna (2008).

He has received numerous awards including: Austrian Federal Ministry, artist-in-residency, Mexico City (2019); Gleis70, artist-in-residency, Zurich (2016); MAK Schindler Artists and Architects-in- Residence Program in Los Angeles (2012); The Sovereign European Art Prize (2011); Otto Mauer Award, Austria (2011); Walter Koschatzky Art Award (2011); Art Prize Europe´s Future, Leipzig, Museum of Contemporary Art (2008); MUMOK Prize for the Zone1 at VIENNAFAIR (2007); Prize for Visual Arts of the City of Vienna, Austria (2007).

Alyosha and the Cat is a project created and implemented within the ADATA artist-in-residence programme of Plovdiv 2019 - European Capital of Culture, and with the additional support of the Austrian Otto Mauer Fund.

Meanwhile, Elsewhere / 100 Years of Czech Comics - guest exhibition
(June 19 - December 31, 2020, Stefan Fartunov Room)

The exhibition Meanwhile, Elsewhere, celebrating 100 years of Czech comics, is organized in partnership with the Czech Cultural Center in Sofia and will be on in Gabrovo until the end of 2020.

The opening was planned as part of the program on the occasion of April 1st and the 48th birthday of the Museum of Humour and Satire, and though with some delay, visitors to the Museum will have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the best of Czech comics created over the last 100 years.

The project was implemented in 2019 as part of the events marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic (1918). The exhibition itself is the result of the joint efforts of the Czech centers in Europe, the Institute of Czech Literature at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and the Faculty of Philosophy to the Palacký University in Olomouc.

The centenary of the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic offers a unique opportunity to take stock of the history of Czech comics (as well as the image of history in comics). Through a thematic focus on the main genres, turning points and intercultural influences and inspirations, the exhibition seeks to present this Czech art in its various forms and historical interrelationships. And the story of what and how happened meanwhile, elsewhere will allow visitors to better understand what is happening here and now.

Women Cartoonists - guest exhibition
(March 6 - May 17, 2020, Room 5)

According to the Cartoonists Rights Network International, women cartoonists occupy less than 5% of the political cartooning community. They have nonetheless carved out a new space for their voices with sharp elbows and sharper pens, especially during and after the Arab Spring movement as well as in Southern Asia. Therefore, it is necessary for women to have their own exhibitions, competitions and awards. This competition focuses on the creativity of women cartoonists, in the hope that it will truly be noticed by editors and publishers, the global cartoonist community, and the world.

The exhibition features 100 works by some of the world’s most phenomenal women selected as finalists for the Women Cartoonists International Award 2019. The contest is organized by United Sketches – an International Organization for Freedom of Expression and Cartoonists in Exile founded in 2015 and based in Normandy, France. Submitted to the contest were more than 1 000 cartoons by 260 artists from 57 countries – strong evidence of the need for such forums where women can showcase their creativity and valuable experience on important social and environmental issues.

The fourteen-member international jury consisting of world renowned women illustrators, cartoonists and activists awarded the Grand Prix to Doaa Eladl from Egypt and the youth prize to Camila de la Fuente from Venezuela/Mexico.

The exhibition opens simultaneously in various galleries around the world to celebrate International Women's Day.

24. Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art, Gabrovo 2019
Nonument - documentary exhibition
(September 13, 2019 – March 22, 2020, Room 7)

The exhibition is the last event within the framework of the 24th Gabrovo Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art dedicated to its theme Dimensions of Publicness. It is realized with the support of Creative Europe Programme of the European Commission and the National Culture Fund of Bulgaria..

The title Nonument stands for a monument that has transformed or lost its symbolic value due to political, economic and social change. It is a product of an extinct ideology or erected as a site of glorification and remembrance. However, today nonuments are neglected, forgotten and left to the elements, reminders of unattained utopias, coercion and complicity.

The exhibition features examples from Central and Eastern Europe from the www.Nonument.org platform, but the show highlights the Buzludzha monument, built as a house of the Bulgarian Communist Party on the Buzludzha Peak of the Balkan Mountain, in the centre of Bulgaria so that it can be seen from north and south.

On display is archival material, photographs and films from the planning, functioning, closing down and looting of the monument. Cartoons and jokes complement the documentary part of the exhibition.
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.

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.