ACCENT OF THE MONTH AT THE MUSEUM OF SOCIALIST ART
TEOFAN SOKEROV (1943)
The Bugle Call, 1977
acrylic on canvas, 130 x 150 cm
The establishment of Bolshevik power within the Russian Empire began on 7 November (25 October by the Old Style calendar) 1917, in the capital, Saint Petersburg.
The October Revolution, also referred to as the October Uprising, the Bolsheviks’ Coup, the October Coup, etc., was one of the major events of the twentieth century, influencing world history for decades to come. In the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, its official title was the Great October Socialist Revolution.
Teofan Sokerov’s canvas, ‘The Bugle Call’, is the meeting point of two important stylistically plastic methods of ideological content in the development of the theme in Bulgarian art—the associatively metaphorical approach and the photodocumentary trend known as ‘photorealism’.
The pictorial narrative is built on the basis of static, seemingly autonomous image-symbols and object attributes: a portrait of V.I. Lenin, armed soldiers, the figure of a murdered man, a woman in traditional Russian costume, a red banner, burning fire, broken chains, a bugle calling, and collaged pages from documents.
The work has no compositional centre of meaning and does not focus on any one particular object, i.e., all the personages and material realities are equivalent and equally involved in the development of the idea.
The documentally historic layer is also revealed through colouration; the monochromatic colour scheme is composed with a grey-ochre tonality, emphasising the temporal distance of the event, its historical significance and presence in the memory of the masses. The glowing red accents bear a symbolic significance.
The title of the painting also is perceived in an associative way, with no direct indication of the historical event. ‘The Bugle Call’ is a metaphor of the call to combat, of the signal for revolution.
Both this specific work by Teofan Sokerov and the artworks of the associatively metaphorical trend characteristic of Bulgarian art in the 1970s, suggest a more complex and active penetration on the part of the viewer. The painting is ‘deciphered’ as a rebus of visual content, which uses a system of symbols, metaphors, and associative connections.