19 May 2017

EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT WOMEN IN THE ART - Introduction to Contemporary Art - Sofia 2017


Everything you ever wanted to know about women in art*
*but you can’t find in the textbooks”



Location: “Academy” Gallery, National Academy of Art
“Shipka” 1 street, Sofia
The lectures will be in Bulgarian
Admission Free



27.05. (Saturday) 5 pm – Irina Genova: Women artists and art institutions/ What (else) do women want? Questions and critical response in the artistic practices today
03.06. (Saturday) 5 pm – Maria Vassileva: The group “8th of March”. Conscious and unconscious manifestations of the Bulgarian feminism. Conversation with some of the group’s members
17.06. (Saturday) 5 pm –  Miglena Nikolchina: From duplication to horror: look through Julia Kristeva
24.06. (Saturday) 5 pm –  Rada Boukova: A well dressed woman, conversation with Rada Boukova

Moderator: Stefka Tsaneva


With the topic Introduction to Contemporary Art doesn’t aim to assert, declare and alert. It aims to open the debate on the topic about women in art, to check yet again, if it is a current problem. If so, how this reflects on the work of the Bulgarian female artists? And if not, then maybe the “female” topic is old-fashioned. Even if it is, we cannot just bury a fundamental topic like this one, not until we realize and rethink how we’ve got here.

The lecturers this year are very different, when it comes to the way they approach feminist topics. The art historian Irina Genova will set the question about women and their presence and interaction with the art institutions. The curator Maria Vassileva, on the other hand, will introduce the emblematic group “8th of March” and its significant presence in the Bulgarian contemporary art. Along with the presentation by Maria Vassileva, there will be a conversation with members of the group. With her lecture, Miglena Nikolchina, does a historical survey, going back to 20th century and using as a starting point the psychoanalytical approach of Julia Kristeva. The lectures cycle will end with a conversation with the artist Rada Boukova, she will be talking about how the feminine finds an expression in art, even when it is not politicalized and manifested as feminist.

Stefka Tsaneva



Irina Genova is a professor in art studies at the New Bulgarian University, Sofia, and at the Institute of Art Studies of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her publications discuss manifestations of modernisms in Bulgaria and in neighbouring countries, as well as contemporary artistic practices. Among her books are: Modernisms and Modernity – (Im)Possibility for Historicising (2004) and Modern Art in Bulgaria: First Histories and Present Narratives beyond the Paradigm of Modernity (2013). She held scholar grants of Paul Getty Foundation (1994, 1998), New Europe College, Bucharest (2004), National Institute of Art History in Paris (2005), Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia (2016-2017), and others.



Maria Vassileva (born in 1961 in Sofia, where she lives) graduated art history in the National Academy of Art Sofia (1984). Doctor of Science (2007). Curator, art historian and art critic. Specialized in the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1998), in the University in Rochester, USA (1999), in the Central European University in Budapest (2002), in the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York (2002) etc. One of the co-founders of the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia. Curator of the group “8th of March”. She has spent many years as the head curator of Sofia City Art Gallery. Initiator of the BAZA Award for contemporary art. Creator of the prize for young artists from “Edmond Demirdzhian” foundation. Curator of many exhibitions with Bulgarian and international participation, in the country and abroad.



Miglena Nikolchina is a professor of literature history in Sofia University. She is an author many books, poetry, as well as theoretical and literary historical researches, the newest one is “Virgins, knights, queens. The love in the literature from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance” (2014).





Rada Boukova was born in 1973 in Sofia. In 2002 graduated from the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Lives and works in Paris and Sofia. Among her solo exhibitions are Magic Spring, 35 rue de Chanzy, Reims Quelle Énergie mettons-nous à transformer les choses, avec un plaisir non dissimulé, POPKIMOTO, Pré St-Gervais, France, The Sky is a Color, SARIEV Contemporary. She has participated in group shows in Great Britain, USA and South Korea, among which are: Eat the blue a project by Jagna Ciuchta, 116 Centre d’art contemporain,Montreuil, France; “There has been no future, there will be no past”, ICSP, NY. Her works can be found in the Sofia City Art Gallery collection and in private collections in Bulgaria and abroad. She is winner of the M-Tel award, 2009 and BAZA award 2008. Boukova is represented by SARIEV Contemporary and Patricia Dorfmann

"We are all dependent on what what we look like" - an interview with Rada Boukova for the Bulgarian edition of ELLE magazine before her lecture [in Bulgarian]



More info about Introduction to Contemporary Art

Introduction to Contemporary Art is an educational platform started in 2011 by the Open Arts Foundation and SARIEV Contemporary in collaboration with the art historians Svetlana Kuyumdjieva, Vessela Nozharova and Vera Mlechevska. It aims to create a context and understanding of contemporary art in Bulgaria.

The program includes open lectures and artist talks that until 2014 were held in Sofia, in venues such as SKLADA /+/, the Sofia City Art Gallery and the Vivacom Art Hall. In 2015, a lecture series was organized for the first time in Plovdiv. The following artists have so far taken part in the program: Stefan Nikolaev, Nedko Solakov, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Krassimir Terziev, Peter Tzanev, Boris Missirkov, Georgi Bogdanov, Pravdoliub Ivanov and Boryana Rossa.


Introduction to Contemporary Art is a project of Open Arts Foundation and SARIEV Contemporary.

The Introduction to Contemporary Art 2017 – Sofia is funded by the Capital Program “Culture” of Sofia Municipality for 2017. With the kind support of Goethe-Institut Bulgarien

Organizers: Open Arts Foundation, SARIEV Contemporary

Partner: Pernod Richard Bulgaria, Foundation Richard, Institut Francais Bulgarie, National Gallery, National Art Academy, Academia Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery

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