Focus: Bulgaria was the first large-scale overview of Bulgarian contemporary art at an international art fair, which took place during the prestigious event at viennacontemporary in the Austrian capital from 24th to 27th September 2015. The programme of the event, initiated and organised by Vesselina Sarieva, included a thematic exhibition curated by Iara Boubnova and Vesela Nozharova, panel discussions and short conversations curated by Desislava Dimova, historical comments about the context in the country, a special publication developed by Boris Kostadinov, and many other parallel events.
The Variofocus – Artists exhibition, curated by Iara Boubnova and Vesela Nozharova, was central to the Bulgarian participation at the fair. It showcased the work of Bulgarian artists who not only create valuable works of contemporary art but also end up functioning as the unexpected substitutes for the missing elements connected to the local institutions and artistic infrastructure. These are artists who in most cases also act as curators, writers, organisers, managers, dealers and/or collectors of contemporary art, adopting a multitude of functions necessary for the fault-free functioning of the artistic world around them.
The exhibition presented over 50 Bulgarian artists who made Focus: Bulgaria one of the largest presentations of Bulgarian contemporary art abroad in the last years. The exhibition included: Adriana Czernin, Alexander Valchev, Aleksandra Chaushova, Alla Georgieva, Anton Terziev, Boryana Rossa, Boryana Ventsislavova, Valio Tchenkov, Vasilena Tsekova, Vikenti Komitski, Vitto Valentinov, Vladimir Mitrev, Voin de Voin, Georgi Dimitrov, Georgi Ruzhev, Daniela Kostova, Destructive Creation, Dimitar Solakov, Emil Mirazchiev, Zara Aleksandrova, Zoran Georgiev, Ivan Moudov, Ivan Kostolov, Iv Toshain, Ivo Bistrichki, Irina Georgieva, Iskra Blagoeva, Kalina Dimitrova, Kalin Serapionov, Kamen Stoyanov, Kiril Kuzmanov, Kiril Prashkov, Kosta Tonev, Krasimir Terziev, Lazar Lyutakov, Lаchezar Boyadzhiev, Lubri, Maximilian Pramatarov, Mariela Gemisheva, Monika Popova, Miryana Todorova, Nedko Solakov, Nestor Kovachev, Nina Kovacheva & Valentin Stefanoff, Nikolay Zanev, Oleg Mavromatti, Petya Dimitrova, Plamen Deyanoff, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Samuil Stoyanov, Svetlana Mircheva, Sasho Stoicov, Stanimir Genov, Stefan Nikolaev, Stela Vasileva, and Yasen Zgurovski.
Another highlight of the Bulgarian focus at the event was the video presentation of the results of the open call to the Bulgarian artists, which ran parallel to the curated programme. The video presentations were selected among those who accepted the open invitation and included presentations of the very artists, particular works of theirs, exhibitions, studio and their art practice as a whole. The aim of the videos was to answer the questions who they are, how they define their art, the topics and problems they are interested in, what materials and techniques they use, what their education is, how they socialize their work and in what context they present it. The video exhibition was designed to provide a broader picture of what the artist today is, how they influence society through their work, what its nature is, what their problems are and how they fit in the surrounding world. The panel of the selection jury included Iara Boubnova, Vesela Nozharova and Desislava Dimova, organiser and gallerist Vesselina Sarieva and Gaudenz B. Ruf – collector and supporter of Focus: Bulgaria.
A list of the artists/organisations participating with their own video presentations: Adelina Popnedeleva, Albena Baeva, Antoaneta Galabova, Destructive Creations, Georgia Nikolova, Dimitar Solakov, DOMA Art Fest, Eva Davidova, Ivan Stratiev, Ivaylo Stoyanov, Ivaylo Hristov, Zornitsa Halacheva, Mariela Malamat, Martin Stratiev, Milena Radeva and Iliya Boyarov, Nataliya Yordanova, Natasha Kyupova, Nikola Mihov, Nikolay Shekerov, Petar Malamat, Robert Baramov, Simeon Simeonov, Slav Nedev, Veselka Nikolova, Viktoriya Georgieva, Water Tower Art Fest.
The programme of the event included a series of discussions, talks and meetings with artists and curators, united by the title OBJECTS MOVING MINDS IN SPACE, curated and moderated by Desislava Dimova. Through the series of conversations the audience was given the opportunity to meet in person key Bulgarian artists and become acquainted with the topics and problems which were of interest to them. The discussion programme also included the panel for Keys to Contemporary Art and discussions about the various expressions of Bulgarian art today. A discussion about the collection of Bulgarian art was also planned with collectors Nedko Solakov, Gaudenz B. Ruf and Spas Rusev. Focus: Bulgaria also included a special publication aiming to cover the whole project in the form of a newspaper, and also to familiarise the audience with the most important aspects of Bulgarian contemporary art.
The project was implemented with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Gaudenz B. Ruf (Zurich, Sofia), the National Culture Fund, EVN Collection, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and Plovdiv 2019 Municipal Foundation.
FOCUS BULGARIAN IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA
Interview with Vesselina Sarieva
Interview with Gaudenz B. Ruf
Vienna Looks East for Fine Arts, New York Times International
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