ACCENT MARCH - APRIL 2016
IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE 20th. CENTURY
In the Bulgarian art of the early 1960s, the processes perturbing the strict totalitarian model that had defined the climate of the artistic life of the previous decade, began to accelerate. A new creative generation appeared on the artistic scene. The names of the participants in the First Youth Exhibition in 1961 stand out among the main dramatis personae tracing the multidirectional trends of the decay of normative aesthetics. They were seeking points of reference among the high exemplars of Bulgarian art from the period between the two world wars.
The main trends in the development of the genre of the portrait were marked by the pronounced interest of artists in psychological insight and in revealing the innermost as an antithesis of the constricted emotional register of the previous period. Magda Abazova’s self-portrait in the exposition appears as emblematic in the visualisation of this trend. Its continuation during the following two decades can be traced in the presented works of Kiril Simeonov, Andrey Daniel, Milko Bozhkov and Desislava Mincheva. The development of these processes also directs attention to the paintings of Vanko Urumov, Stoyan Tsanev, Greddy Assa, Vihroni Popnedelev.
Artists such as Liliana Ruseva and Bisera Prahova also forced the limit of artistic conventionalism. Liliana Ruseva interprets the historical theme in her search for a close kinship with the figurative language of the icon and the church fresco. Again within this genre, but designed in a completely different plastic and semantic key, is the artwork of Valentin Kolev.
The renewal processes of the decades under review assigned a new place also for the landscape genre. Artists turned to liberated plastic solutions and delicately implied poetic suggestions.
Many of the young artists debuting in the General Art Exhibitions turned to industrial landscape as an opportunity to experiment with colour and form. This perfect, static and dehumanised world simultaneously hypnotises and repels. In Bulgarian art, industrial landscape is one of the principal bridges to pure abstraction. This is best illustrated in the oeuvre of Maria Stolarova and Petar Dochev, who, in the 1970s and 1980s, created a series of canvases where the theme almost disappears within the strict constructivist architectonics.
The 1970s were a time of new searching. Photorealism and so-called associative metaphorism played a leading role in the renewal of plastic expression. These trends can be traced in the works of the artists Ivan Dimov, Teofan Sokerov, Ivan B. Ivanov.
The concept of divergent searches and artistic liberation is complemented by the canvases of Suleiman Seferov, Spas Neshovski and Nusha Goeva. Their works distinctly outline the trend, characteristic of the period, towards an active dialogue with the artistic primitive. The idiosyncratic interpretation of these searches was accomplished by Lyuben Zidarov, who organically combined the classical expressive means of painting with techniques typical of illustration and satirical drawing.
The period was further characterised by individual searches and the development of a personal creative language, both of which are difficult to categorise. Galin Malakchiev is one of the artists who most greatly altered perceptions of plasticity through experimenting with the basic principles of form-building. The tension, the fragmentation of the form, the expressiveness and stroke characteristic of the works of Atanas Patsev, find a plastic counterpoint in the unique pictorial language of Georgi Baev. Artworks by Hristo Simeonov, creator of the ‘pario-realism’ style, and by Edmond Demirdjian, are also on display in this hall.
In sculpture, artists combined classical figurativeness with an increased conditionalism attaining border areas through abstract form-building. This trend is brightly expressed in the works of Snezhana Simeonova, Stefan Lyutakov and Vezhdi Rashidov.
As for the development of Bulgarian art in the 1980s, the artworks of Encho Pironkov, Nikolay Maistorov and Stanislav Pamukchiev are emblematic. The compressed moral problématique, the liberated artistic gesture, the courage of the plastic language, all distance them to the utmost from the normative aesthetics of Socialist Realism.