27 July 2021

Bulgarian artists at Kunsthal 44Møen

The Open Arts Foundation is a partner in the Brittle Power project, which opens season 2021 of Kunsthal 44Møen, a space for international exhibitions in Denmark.

Brittle Power is an exhibition and an educational programme for presentation of Bulgarian contemporary art initiated by René Block.

As co-curator, Vesselina Sarieva was invited to implement the educational programme and present the work of the Open Arts Foundation, including the book Introduction to Bulgarian Contemporary Art (1982-2015) and the website Openartfiles.bg – set up as an archive of Bulgarian contemporary art. As part of the programme, a panel discussion with the artists participating in the exhibition and the curators will be organised, and a lecture tour within the exhibition will be held with artist Luchezar Boyadjiev.

Based on René Block’s choice, the Brittle Power exhibition will display selected recently created works by artists Rada Boukova, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Vikenti Komitski, Rudi Ninov, Nedko Solakov, Mariana Vassileva, Sibin Vassilev, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, installations, videos and a sound installation. Some of the participants will create site-specific and on-site works at Kunsthal 44Møen.

The artworks in Brittle Power give a sense of swaying between illusion and reality, discouraged by dreams, assumptions and constructed bizarre utopias. In the materials and concepts used, they travel from past to modern times and playfully explore the principles, structures and vibrations of different roles, times, positions and characters.

Bulgaria and Denmark – two relatively small countries located in the south and north of Europe, do not have much in common, except for their slightly peripheral location within Europe. Culturally, they have undergone a completely different development and have created art scenes that are still relatively unknown to each other. While artists in Denmark have received large state and private funding through the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and numerous museums, institutions, galleries and spaces for contemporary art, the contemporary art scene in Bulgaria has to be established against the massive political resistance and infrastructural deficits of the 1980s. It is precisely this lack of institutions and institutionalisation – even after 1989 – that gives rise to extraordinary collective as well as individual work, leading to strategies for self-institutionalisation and creation of various "individualisms". While contemporary art in Bulgaria is considered mainly in the context of rebellion and scandal, it has gained international recognition. Starting with Bulgaria’s participation in the Istanbul biennial in the beginning of the 1990s, this led to several endeavours to explore the Balkan region in the early 2000s, namely: in 2003, with two parallel large-scale exhibitions – René Block's in the Gorges of the Balkans at Kunsthalle Fridericianum, and Harald Szeemann's Blood and Honey. The future’s in the Balkan at Sammlung Essl in Vienna.

With Bulgaria's accession to the EU in 2007, the cultural scene in Bulgaria also underwent massive changes with increasing liberalisation; the cultural institutions developed according to the grass-root principle and the collective practices of networking replaced those of existential individualisation. In particular, a lively young and cosmopolitan art scene developed in Plovdiv and Sofia, which is yet to be opened in the north. The official system in Bulgaria also reflected on these grass-root developments and even not as a consistent policy, the Bulgarian Ministry of culture initiated a few times national participations in the Venice biennale.

Brittle Power aims to showcase different generations of artists who have been an example of the development of the contemporary art scene in Bulgaria since the 1980s and to present for the first time in Denmark developing authors together with established representatives of the first generation of Bulgarian contemporary art.

Curators: René Block and Vesselina Sarieva

For more information: http://www.44moen.dk/
The exhibition can be seen until September 5, 2021


Credits: Thomas G. Bagge, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Vesselina Sarieva, Luchezar Boyadjiev