EXHIBITIONS / TEMPORARY
New Bulgarian Typography 2 - a guest exhibition
(February 13 – April 30, 2020, Room Stefan Fartunov)
The selected 90 panels on show, available on www.typography.bg, are an overview of the achievements in type design, typographic practice and experiments in the period 2013–2019. The first edition of New Bulgarian Typography was realized in 2013 within the framework of Sofia Design Week. The idea was developed by Kiril Zlatkov who invited 20 artists from several generations creating artwork with gratitude to and for the language. Unlike the exhibition in 2013, this one is not limited to illustrating the Cyrillic type design but it shows the level of contemporary typography in Bulgaria as a whole. The exhibition features the work of different generations of artists—from Bulgarian design classics to promising young talents.
Typography is visual art, a field in graphic design which deals with the philosophy and aesthetics of types and their application. Depending on whether the designer’s task is to compose a hand-written playful notice, a logo inscription, a road sign or a long novel, typography is meant to solve particular problems. It is most frequently associated with the choice of type, but apart from making types and inscriptions, typography involves the positioning of a text in different contexts, effective application of the specifics of the medium and many other things.
The second edition of New Bulgarian Typography is a valuable document that outlines the aesthetic and social horizons of contemporary society. The exhibition is another reason to take a critical look at reality; a new chance to find more and more accessible opportunities to create beauty in communication.
Europe in Bulgarian - a guest exhibition
(February 6 – March 22, 2020, Room 6)
The exhibition Europe in Bulgarian is the latest project implemented by the poster art platform plakatkombinat.com featuring 25 works by contemporary visual artists from Bulgaria. Each of the posters on show contains a word penned in the Cyrillic used by Bulgarians and offers an amusing play of imaginative visual decisions.
Some of the words used in the project have been borrowed from another project entitled Grafonetika. The latter explores the similarity between the phonetic and the graphic presentation of some cultural concepts in the European languages, for instance, opera, duet, idea, utopia, technology, aesthetics, Europe, atmosphere, melody, archaeology, and others.
The exhibition is curated by Anna Simeonova; the accompanying texts are written out in Kometa, a Cyrillic type designed by artist Kiril Zlatkov.
Cartoon Salon 2019
/October 19, 2019 - February 29, 2020, Room 5/
Cartoon Art Salon 2019 features over 140 cartoons and satirical drawings displayed in two solo exhibitions by cartoonists Trayko Popov and Milko Dikov, and a selection of the 44th National Cartoon Exhibition, Sofia 2019. This is the first time the traditional autumn event has offered a limited series of reproductions of works from the solo exhibitions available at the museum gift shop.
The solo exhibition by Trayko Popov comprises 25 digital drawings and 8 works from the museum core collection. This is the second solo show the artist has presented at the House of Humour and Satire, however, his contacts with the Museum can be traced back to 1975 when he first entered for the Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art. There followed a number of entries in the competition, and at the 20th International Biennial (2011) Trayko Popov was awarded the special prize for cartoon given by the Ministry of Culture of Republic Bulgaria; in 2013 he won the prize for cartoon at the 23rd Gabrovo Biennial. Popov has specialized in conceptual design in the USA. He is holder of prizes from competitions and exhibitions in Slovakia, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Iran, the USA, Canada, Macedonia and others.
The solo exhibition by Milko Dikov is part of the special award presented since 2003 by the Museum of Humour and Satire to a cartoonist at the yearly National Cartoon Exhibition in Sofia. Dikov is the seventeenth consecutive holder of the award. His exhibition encompasses 35 satirical graphic pieces and 14 works from the museum core collection.
Milko Dikov is a doyen of Bulgarian cartoon, illustrator and animation film artist. Born in 1930 in the town of Troyan, he studied ceramics in the class of Prof. Stoyan Raynov and graduated from the Academy of Art in 1960; however, his true vocation proved to be cartooning. He enjoyed early success in the field at the end of the 1950s when he won a cartoon competition and had his works published in Starshel newspaper. Among his numerous national and international prizes, including two excellence prizes from the International Biennial of Humour and Satire in Art in Gabrovo, rank the Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius and a prize in the name of Iliya Beshkov.
The National Cartoon Exhibition has been held since 1964 by section Cartoon to the Union of Bulgarian Artists. It is a review of the annual output in the genre following its development. The 44th edition of the exhibition shows a selection of drawings by 20 Bulgarian cartoonists.
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.
120 Years since the Birth of Dechko Uzunov (1899-1986)
/February 22 - April 30, 2019, floor 3, the lobby/
On February 22nd, 2019 will be 120 years since the birth of Bulgarian artist Dechko Uzunov (1899-1986). To celebrate the occasion, the House of Humour and Satire is showing three of his four works treasured in the art collection of the Museum. Two of the works – The Peasants of Elin Pelin and Don Quixote without Sancho Panza (which is currently lent to the Dechko Uzunov Art Gallery, branch of Sofia City Art Gallery) – were shown in the Gabrovo Biennial exhibition in 1977 and 1983 respectively. The two ink drawings – Peasants from Sofia Region and Village Pub – were donated by the artist in 1988 and 1989.
The assembling of the collection was made possible thanks to the ambition of the first director of the Museum and his team to enlarge the Museum holdings with works by representative Bulgarian artists.
Dechko Uzunov was born in the town of Kazanlak where his first teacher was humour writer and artist Chudomir. In 1919 he entered the State Art Industry School (present-day National Academy of Art) and joined the class of Prof. Petko Klisurov. In 1922, Uzunov and his fellow student Ivan Penkov specialized under Prof. Carl von Marr in Munich. At the time Munich was a breeding ground for a host of aspiring young Bulgarian artists, men and women of letters who formed Uzunov’s circle of friends. Many of them would sit for his portraits.
Returning to Bulgaria, he graduated from the Art Academy (1924), in the class of Prof. Stefan Ivanov. From 1926 until 1932 he was a staff artist in the Ministry of Education. Then he taught painting at the Art Academy.
Dechko Uzunov took part in nearly all general art exhibitions of Rodno izkustvo Society in this country and abroad. He showed solo exhibitions in Sofia, Kazanlak, Sliven, and then in Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Moscow, Paris, Basel, Munich, Kuwait and Beijing.
The secondary art school in Kazanlak bears his name.
Uzunov’s art legacy is exceptionally diverse. He painted, drew graphic works and illustrations; designed books; engaged with stage design and decorative monumental painting. He worked in the genres of portrait, nude, landscape, watercolor, figural composition on historical, biblical, mythological and contemporary subject matter. He did also mural paintings.
In addition to his creative work, Uzunov was engaged in numerous public activities. He is a holder of a number of prestigious awards and prizes.
Interactive Generative Formations, 2014-2017 - a project authored by Svetoslav Kosev and Atanas Markov, Bulgaria
/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.