The Radical Games of La Molleindustria - guest exhibition
Computer games
/March 29 - May 30, 2018, Room 6/

Billions of people in the world play computer games enthralled by their humour and fun. A small part of the most popular game genre, the so called 'casual games', aims to involve the gamers into the serious matters of everyday life we would frequently and rather evade in other circumstances.

This exhibition features 17 games developed by Paolo Pedercini. He is the man behind the project La Molleindustria and one of the most celebrated developers of casual games. His radical games comprise sarcasm, irony, allegory and other literary devices in order to attain a result that can simultaneously prompt laughter, sadness and anger with the audience. That is the reason why he is specially invited to show his games at the Museum House of Humour and Satire.

La Molleindustria games are a veritable embodiment of satire in the world of electronic games. They bear on red-hot topics of real life today - the energy mafia and modern wars; religion and gender issues; personal career and the small joys of life.

Paolo Pedercini was born in 1981 in a small town not far from Genoa, Italy. In 2007 Pedercini moved to the USA to study. Later on he became a university lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University. The exhibition showcases his work in three themed groups: capitalism, politics and society. Pedercini’s games are free to find on the Internet, thus enabling everyone interested to live through the messages his works convey.

Black Touches. In Honour of Graphicature - solo exhibition of Prof. Ivan Gazdov (Bulgaria)
/March 29 - May 11, 2018, Room 7/

It is small wonder that Prof. Ivan Gazdov is showing a third solo exhibition at the House of Humour and Satire. Still alive are the memories of his two previous displays: 50 illustrations to Bulgarian satirist Radoy Ralin's book Laugh, Executor (Jester) in 1982 and Graphicature in 1995.

The artist's contacts with the House of Humour and Satire can be traced back to the very inception of the Museum. Gazdov has been a regular entrant in the International Biennial of Humour and Satire in the Arts since the first edition of the competition. A lot of humour and irony are "woven" into the texture of his work. Humour is hardly comprehensible to everyone; irony and self-iront - less so. However, humour is hope, and art that does not hold out hope and does not inspire is art of hopelessness.

The exhibition Graphicature throws off the shackles of reason and habit. It takes the viewer into a second reality, far from any grooviness. This is a fascinating story about the nonconventional nature of the image that transcends the standard boundaries of imagination. At first glance, the abstract components in Ivan Gazdov's work seem glued by an imaginatively formulated concept. The combination of "graphic" and "t(o)ur" is a journey into a world beyond reality. At times, black and white are at loggerheads with each other, but they always end up in an alignment together.

Prof. Ivan Gazdov was born in 1945 in the town of Yambol. He graduated from the high school of art in Sofia in 1964 and then from the National Academy of Art in 1970. For more than 40 years he has been committed to developing and fostering a sense of creativity and professional innovation with several generations of Bulgarian artists. Between 1999 and 2003 he was rector of the National Academy of Art. He is founder of the Author Poster school in Bulgaria and of his own patented style graphicature. Ivan Gazdov works in the field of graphic art and graphic design; he has authored a couple of monographs on poster art and a number of articles for specialized publications. He is holder of numerous prizes and awards.

The exhibition will be opened by Assoc. Prof. Georgi Lozanov, so all attendees will have the pleasure to communicate with him in person.

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.

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
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.