Modernism & Avant-garde. The Bulgarian Perspective. Nikolay Nedelchev Collection

30.05.2019 - 27.07.2019

Anna-Lülja Simidoff-Praun (1906-2004), Abstract Composition, 1924

Anna-Lülja Simidoff-Praun (1906-2004), Abstract Composition, 1924

The exhibition “Modernism and Avant-garde. The Bulgarian Perspective” presents almost 100 unknown works by Bulgarian artists, who have made significant contributions to the history of art. The works have been collected over the past five years, by Nikolay Nedelchev and cover the period mainly between the two World Wars.
Works by the following artists are included in the exhibition: Ivan Abracheff, Nicolai Abracheff, Anna Balsamadzhieva, Nikola Blagoev, Ivan Boyadjiev, Nicolay Diulgheroff, Boris Eliseev, Alexander Zhendov, Hristo Kavarnaliev, Mircho Kachulev, Kiril Krastev, Kroum Kyulyavkov, Lamar, Kiril Marichkov, Max Metzger, Geo Milev, Ivan Milev, Ivan Nenov, Georges Papazoff, Ivan Penkov, Georgi Popov – John, Boyan Raynov, Nikolay Raynov, Stoyan Raynov, Anna-Lülja Simidoff-Praun, Sirak Skitnik, Haralampi Tachev, Dechko Uzunov and Mara Utschkunowa – Auböck.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with articles by Professor Irina Genova, Associate Professor Boris Danailov, Dr. Biliana Borissova and Dr. Maria Vassileva, as well as an interview with Nikolay Nedelchev. The biographies of some of the artists are being published for the first time.

By displaying unknown works and little-known names, the exhibition draws attention to a serious problem – in the history of Bulgarian art there are still unexplored territories. The quantity and quality of the works create an opportunity for an analysis of the past and a reassessment of our understanding of it. The project questions the perception of national art after the Bulgarian Liberation. The discovery of new artefacts shows that what we’ve known so far must be once again brought into question and the writing of today’s art history is still under way.

The exhibition raises a number of important questions – what is the character of Bulgarian modernism and avant-garde, what was the fate of the artists, where are the works and why do we not see them in the museums? Questions that affect both the history of art in our country and our whole past, and go far beyond the framework of the aesthetic. The works on view and the articles in the catalogue open a new field for debate on the specifics of the avant-garde movement in Bulgaria, the nature and limits of foreign influences and shared social ideas, as well as the receptivity of the environment in regard to these efforts and movements. The understanding of modernity affects not only this acute aspect, but also the whole subsequent development of the arts in our country.

As Nikolay Nedelchev says, the compilation of this collection is a cause. A cause that will help to shed more light on the multi-processes of Bulgarian art, from the beginning of the 20th century till today.