Annual  Report

 
 
Dear friends and partners of Open Arts Foundation,
 
We hope that you are getting prepared for a wonderful Christmas holiday and that you enjoy a time of comfort, health and joy!
Before we close the working calendar this December too, we are sending out our traditional newsletter, which contains the public projects we have implemented in the past year.
Full of gratitude and joy over what has been achieved, we wish to thank all the many artists, authors, curators, critics, cultural managers, experts, gallerists, assistants, volunteers, photographers, translators, proofreaders, cameramen, graphic designers, collectors, patrons, financing programmes and partners, who have been with us this year and have made our programme possible as well as rich and significant for Bulgarian art and culture, for the artistic map of the country, and for their international recognition and presentation.
We would particularly like to encourage and thank the wonderful audience for giving us the inspiration to keep going and for not giving up, despite the difficult pandemic times, looking for culture and attending cultural events. 
In the past year we have implemented a programme that we will continue to upgrade in the future. Read more on this in our short report that follows below.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and see you next time!

Vesselina Sarieva
and the team of Open Arts Foundation
 

Open Art Files
 
In 2021, the project Open Art Files: Themes, People, Spaces, Documents in Bulgarian Contemporary Art continued to develop and was renewed with the support of the Culture Fund. The purpose of the website is to promote Bulgarian contemporary art both in our country and beyond, and this year again, under Vera Mlechevska as editor, its content expanded with 6 thematic texts and over 30 new author accounts. Many of the already existing articles were translated into English, bearing in mind our international audience.
The archive significantly increased with as many as 30 video files which were created in connection with the curatorial project Future Unforgettable and can be viewed on the Open Art Foundation's Youtube channel or in the file library of the website.

In 2021, the following articles were added: “Is It Realistic to Talk About New Realism in Art?” by Krassimir Terziev ; „Why Art? Why Now? “ by Boyan Manchev; “I Criticise, Therefore I Exist” by Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva; “A Story About an Artist, His Rights, Their Rights and More” by Ivana Murdjeva; “Art Collection in Bulgaria” by Svetla Petkova; “Net Art in Bulgaria. The First Decade” by Rene Beekman.





 


FLUCA: Austrian Cultural pavilion 

For the sixth consecutive year, FLUCA - Austrian Cultural Pavilion has brought exuberant colour and energy to the art scene of Plovdiv. The open stage for art and culture, located at the end of Otets Paisiy Street in Plovdiv, affirmed its position as a beloved open-air cultural centre. The container functions as an alternative gallery space, stage and art pavilion. In 2021, FLUCA was curated by Valko Chobanov, who addressed issues of aesthetics, kitsch, nature, design and pop culture in as many as six exhibitions of Bulgarian and Austrian artists, young and established ones.


The 2021 season was opened on May 7 with the group exhibition The Zoo of Earthly Delights by Alina Papazova, Alexandra Georgieva and Rosie Eisor. The second event was Poetische Tiere, a project by Austrian artist Karine Fauchard and Lazar Lyutakov. Aaron Roth presented the visual code of the transition in his solo exhibition At Liberty with the Time Frame. Velizar Dimchev looked for common ground between the elite art of opera and the practices related to the processing of scrap metals in his project BELCANTO. Next to follow was ׺°"˜`"°º× ❹𝒶𝔩G𝔸 𝔭𝓊ηK ׺°"˜`"°º× by Lexi Fleur and Mitch Brezounek. FLUCA - Austrian Cultural Pavilion also visited Sofia for the group pop-up exhibition A Thing That Looks as Another Thing as part of the programme of KvARTal 2021, which included the artists Kamen Stoyanov, Krasimira Kirova, Mitch Brezounek, Trifon Tashev, Luīze Nežberte and Magdalena Gincheva. The final event of the season was Paved Paradise by Austrian artist Gabriele Edlbauer.


 
  

The events were accompanied by a video archive and a documentary.

FLUCA – Austrian Cultural Pavilion is a long-term project, an initiative of Open Arts Foundation (Plovdiv), the Austrian Embassy in Sofia, supported by the Austrian Federal Chancellery. In 2021 it is part of the cultural calendar of the Municipality of Plovdiv.

FLUCA has its own website, Facebook page, Instagram page and a bulletin offering more information about the project.
 

COLLECTORS' FORUM

The Collectors' Forum educational programme was implemented in two sessions, a spring and an autumn one, giving visibility and a platform to international and Bulgarian professionals in the field of collecting. The project, launched in 2011, examines established international and Bulgarian private and corporate collecting practices through which it guides and encourages young collectors. For another consecutive year, the forum has created a communication link between the different units in the art system, organizing several intriguing events having their focus on micro-communities and collaboration in the artistic sector.




COLLECTORS’ FORUM / TALKS / GALLERIES
On March 27, 2021, Collectors’ Forum organized a conversation between representatives of the most active Bulgarian contemporary art galleries and of emerging art spaces - Rositsa Getsova (Arosita), Vladimir Iliev (+359 gallery), Maria Vassileva (Structura), Desislava Zafirova (ONE gallery), Ellie Sotirova (KO-OP), Rossen Uzunov (Little Bird Place), Vesselina Sarieva (Sariev). This panel discussion with Bulgarian gallerists will make us familiar with the state of the galleries before and during the pandemic, it will give us examples of best practices, forecasts of the future and development strategies.

More information about the event here.
Watch the video of the talk here.



COLLECTORS’ FORUM / TALKS / COLLECTORS
On April 10, 2021, a panel discussion was held with the Bulgarian contemporary art collectors Irena Gergova and Nikolay Nedelchev. In the conversation they introduced their collections and personal collection approaches to the audience.

More information about the event here.
Watch the video of the talk  here.



COLLECTORS’ FORUM / workshop with Christian Kaspar Schwarm / Living with Art
On April 24, 2021, Collectors’ Forum presented a lecture and a workshop with Christian Kaspar Schwarm, Living with Art. Both events had as their final goal the encouragement of young collectors who received valuable tips on collecting.

More information about the event here.



COLLECTORS’ FORUM / lecture and discussion with Carlos Marsano / Collecting Is Connecting
In the autumn session, on November 20, 2021, a meeting with the Peruvian collector Carlos Marsano took place under the title Collecting Is Connecting, in which he shared intriguing facts about his collection and talked about his work with young talents.
 
More information about the event here
You can watch the lecture here

DZHADZHA

DZHADZHA is a collaboration between Open Arts Foundation, Gallery gallery, Sarieva gallery in which we explore how contemporary digital art is collected and created. In the online conversation between Rene Beekman and Vesselina Sarieva, Collecting Digital Art, Net Art and NFTs, the trends, quests and local characteristics in the field were discussed. Part of DZHADZHA was the exhibition BGx.BG медийна храна which, after its huge success in Sofia, was shown also in Plovdiv. 

The conversation with Rene Beekman can be viewed  here.
 
Brittle Power

Open Arts Foundation was a partner in the project Brittle Power, which opened season 2021 of Kunsthal 44Møen, a space for international exhibitions in Denmark. The exhibition, which was initiated by René Block and co-curated by Vesselina Sarieva, introduced leading contemporary Bulgarian artists to the international audience in the period 5 June - 5 September 2021. The presented artists were Rada Boukova, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Vikenti Komitski, Rudi Ninov, Nedko Solakov, Mariana Vassileva and Sibin Vassilev. The exhibition was supported by an educational programme, which included conversations with the authors, a lecture tour with Luchezar Boyadjiev, a presentation of the book Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (1982-2015) and the website - archive of Bulgarian contemporary art: Openartfiles.bg.
 
 



FUTURE UNFORGETTABLE 
 
FUTURE UNFORGETTABLE is a curated multi-genre situation in the sphere of visual arts that was developed in six thematic time phases during which main exhibitions, satellite exhibition gestures, a documentary video series, a programme of screenings, meetings with artists, spatial situations and interventions, open conversations, exhibition tours and talks, and publications of thematic tests were realised. Vesselina Sarieva's concept is polyphonic and wide-ranging and it has unfolded in the period September-December at several spaces in Bulgaria.

Phase I, IN DEFENCE OF SOLID MATERIAL (September - October 2021), explored themes characteristic of Bulgarian art, such as: political opposition, institutional deficiency, institutional critique, models of institutionalization, individualism, etc. The main group exhibition In Defence of Solid Material at SARIEVA, Plovdiv, was supported by satellite gestures: Saxophone Player in the Bathroom, 1973 by Sasho Stoitsov at Arosita Gallery and a presentation of a work, part of the cycle Corrections, 1996-98, 2015 by RASSIM® at ONE Gallery.

Phase II, ON VACATION, presented themes, experiences and practices from the first decade of the 21st century to date, in their Bulgarian context, in areas such as the city, local ecosystems, artistic communities, informal environments, audiences, cultural policies, interactions, continuity, memory, dialogue. Phase II was characterized by the group exhibition Plovdiv Life Vest at Cu29 Gallery, Plovdiv, a banner from Project 1, 2010 by Svetoslav Michev at Kapana, Plovdiv, open doors of young artists’ studios, and screenings of the documentary series FUTURE UNFORGETTABLE - Communities.

Phase III, UNDER DECONSTRUCTION, analysed and identified typical features of Bulgarian contemporary art through the exhibition Under Deconstruction, held in the new space Sarieva@Dot. A work by Daniela Kostova was presented as a satellite exhibition gesture in Structura Gallery.

Phase IV-V, TOGETHER AGAIN, raised current issues of the artistic environment on a global scale. At Swimming Pool, a discussion lab environment on the topic of "Institutions and Meeting Places" was held, which was accompanied by screenings of interviews done by Vesselina Sarieva with Luchezar Boyadjiev (ICA, Sofia), Viktoria Draganova (Swimming Pool) and Arch. Lyubo Georgiev.

Phase VI, THE SKY IS A COLOUR, presented interpretations on the future of art, the environment and the institutions. SARIEVA Gallery, Plovdiv, hosted Rudi Ninov's solo show, Colour Words in Prologue, accompanied by the exhibition gestures entitled Hand-Woven Kozyak, a mind map The Mad Carpetmaker = Лудият килимар by Luchezar Boyadzjiev, and a limited print of "Manifesto of Happiness" by ULTRAFUTURO. The sound mural ...down and up... by Prof. Georgi Arnaudov was presented.

More information about the project is available on its official website, Instagram and in its video archive.


Artnewscafe bulletin

In 2021 artnewscafe bulletin is one of Open Arts' longest-running projects. For thirteen years the platform has been covering the most exciting events in Bulgarian and international art. Under the editorship of Desislava Mileva, each month the newsletter presents its readers with a selection of current exhibitions, events, development opportunities in the visual arts and interviews with young and interesting artists.



The app can be downloaded from here for Android and here for Apple devices.
 
New Open Arts Foundation web site

In December 2021 Open Arts Foundation presents its new website. The platform features a rich archive of programmes, projects, news, photo and video materials, which will be updated in the future to offer visitors comprehensive information about our activities.

Visit the site at https://openarts.info/ or by clicking here

Open Arts in the media

In 2021, many reports and interviews covered Open Arts' activities. These included the BNT reports "Collectors' Forum celebrates its 10th anniversary" on 100% Budni, "Bulgarian contemporary art exhibition in Denmark" on The World and Us, "Future Unforgettable series exhibition at Sariev Gallery" and "Future Unforgettable - Phase III" on Kultura. BG. , as well as the materials "Vesselina Sarieva, who sets the rhythm of contemporary Bulgarian art in Plovdiv and around the world" by Svobodna Evropa. The exhibitions "In Defense of Solid Material" and "Colour Words in Prologue", part of "Future Unforgettable", were presented by the foreign art platform Artviewer. This is just a small sample of the dozens of media outlets we are grateful to for their coverage of our events.



Open Arts, what lies ahead?

In 2022 Open Arts should expand, enrich and develop the educational module Introduction to Contemporary Art and all its long-term sub-projects - Openartfiles.bg, artnewscafe newsletter, Collectors' Forum, as well as it will introduce new educational formats.

The City and Culture programme will develop a new format and collaboration dedicated to the urban space, and our previous projects will be continued.
Unfortunately, The Night of Museums and Galleries programme, is dependent on anti-epidemic measures and we will take our time to make announcements.
The new project Future Unforgettable is yet to grow and develop, proving how much creative potential it holds.

In 2022, we will strive towards finding new initiatives, destinations and partners in our programme of international cooperation and support for Bulgarian contemporary art. This programme started in 2015 with our large-scale project in Vienna, Focus: Bulgaria, and in 2021 Brittle Power. We will continue to work on expanding the circle of friends and admirers of contemporary Bulgarian art.

Our key annual partner for 2022 will be the National Culture Fund, and for individual projects we will collaborate with our traditional partners.
 


THANK YOU! 
 
All of the event above were prepared with dedication, diligence and inspiration by the Open Arts Foundation team. Of course, we would like to thank our loyal friends and partners, who are always by our side, supporting us and our ideas.

This year we were supported by Municipality of Plovdiv, Plovdiv 2019, Austrian Embassy Sofia,  Bundeskanzleramt Österreich / The Austrian Federal Chancellery, National Culture Fund.

We are grateful to the whole Open Arts team, which worked hard on all of the projects listed above.

We wish you a magical 2022!
 
Vessi