Focus Bulgaria

focus program of viennacontemporary 2015 dedicated to Bulgaria

Focus Bulgaria at viennacontemporary 2015 is the first overview of Bulgarian contemporary art at an international art fair. The project was initiated by Vesselina and Katrin Sariev (Sariev Contemporary and Open Arts Foundation), Elena Todorova (Hugo Vouten Collection), Iara Boubnova (Institute of Contemporary Art-Sofia) and Vessela Nozharova (Art Affairs and Documents Foundation).

Focus Bulgaria consists of a thematic exhibition (curated by Iara Boubnova and Vessela Nozharova), of panel discussions and informal talks (curated by Dessislava Dimova), of historical comments on the context in the country, of quotations and explanations as well as of a publication (conceived by Boris Kostadinov).

Exhibition Variofocus – ARTISTS

The exhibition Variofocus – ARTISTS, curated by Iara Boubnova and Vessela Nozharova, takes place at the booth C16/C24.

Variofocus – ARTISTS is showcasing the Bulgarian artists who are not only doing their job of creating artifacts with passion and dignity but often end up functioning as the unexpected substitute for the missing elements from the local institutional and artistic infrastructure.

Artists-as-curators, artists-as-writers, artists-as-organizers, artists-as-managers, artists-as-dealers, artists-as-collectors, etc. (and sometimes vice versa…), they adopt a multitude of functions without ever ceasing to investigate the world around them and their place within this world.

Participating artists: Adriana Czernin, Alexander Valchev, Aleksandra Chaushova, Alla Georgieva, Anton Terziev, Boryana Rossa, Borjana Ventzislavova, Daniela Kostova, Destructive Creation, Emil Mirazchiev, Dimitar Solakov, Georgi Dimitrov, George Ruzhev, Ivan Moudov, Ivan Kostolov, Ivo Bistrichki, Iv Toshain, Irina Georgieva, Iskra Blagoeva, Kalina Dimitrova, Kalin Serapionov, Kamen Stoyanov, Kiril Kuzmanov, Kiril Prashkov, Kosta Tonev, Krassimir Terziev, Lazar Lyutakov, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Lubri, Maximilian Pramatarov, Mariela Gemisheva, Monika Popova, Miryana Todorova, Nedko Solakov, Nestor Kovachev, Nina Kovacheva & Valentin Stefanoff, Nikolay Zanev, Oleg Mavromatti, Petja Dimitrova, Plamen Dejanoff, Pravdoliub Ivanov, Samuil Stoyanov, Sasho Stoitzov, Stanimir Genov, Stefan Nikolaev, Stela Vasileva, Valio Tchenkov, Vasilena Gankovska, Veronika Tzekova, Vikenti Komitski, Vitto Valentinov, Vladimir Mitrev, Voin de Voin, Yasen Zgurovski, Zara Alexandrova, Zoran Georgiev

Open Call for Self Presentation

Short video presentations of artists are displayed at the booth parallel to the curated exhibition. The video presentations are selected after an open call. In their presentations artists have introduced  themselves, particular artworks, exhibitions and the specificities of their art practice. The aim of the open call is to present an overall picture of what is to be an artist today, how does she/he reflects her/his position, what does her/his work consist of, how does she/he fit into the world around us, what are her/his problems.

In the selection jury are the curators Iara Boubnova, Vessela Nozharova and Dessislava Dimova, organizer and gallerist Vesselina Sarieva and Gaudenz B. Ruf – collector and supporter of Focus Bulgaria.

Selected video presentations: Adelina Popnedeleva, Albena Baeva, Antoaneta Galabova, Destructive Creations, Georgia Nikolova, Dimitar Solakov, DOMA Art Fest, Eva Davidova, Ivan Stratiev, Ivaylo Spasov, Ivaylo Hristov, Zornitsa Halacheva, Mariela Malamat, Martin Stratiev, Milena Radeva and Iliya Boyarov, Nataliya Yordanova, Natasha Kyupova, Nikola Mihov, Nikolay Shekerov, Petar Malamat, Robert Baramov, Simeon Simeonov, Slav Nedev, Vesselka Nikolova, Viktoria Georgieva, Water Tower Art Fest.

Talk & performance programme

Objects moving minds in space is a series of talks and conversations conceived and moderated by Dessislava Dimova, within the presentation of Focus Bulgaria.

The artist talks are centered on material objects, chosen by each artist. These objects become the beginnings of stories, methods of research, or simply ways to involve the public into a conversation.

A series of discussions that took place around the BG Bar by artist Nedko Solakov took over the topics of the exhibition proposed by the curators Iara Boubnova and Vessela Nozharova. “Economy”, “Identity” and “Production” are at the heart of a polemic about the conditions of contemporary art in Bulgaria. Together with a moderator and a provocateur, the participants in each discussion tried to identify those important questions, which we usually fail to address publicly.


Place: C16/24


12:00 Lazar Lyutakov (artist talk)

13:00 Discussion: “Economy. Artists and institutions.” With Kamen Stoyanov, Lazar Lyutakov, Vikenti Komitski, Miryana Todorova. Provocateur: Natalia Тodorova

14:00 Variofocus: guided tour with the curators Iara Boubnova and Vessela Nozharova

25. 09

12:00 Luchezar Boyadjiev (artist talk)

13:00 Discussion: “Identity. Conflicts and solidarity.” With Borjana Ventzislavova, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Iskra Blagoeva, Vassilena Gankovska, Voin de Voin. Provocateur: Svetlana Kuyumdjieva

14:00 Contemporary collecting (20four7) – collectors talk with Nedko Solakov, Gaudenz B. Ruf and Spas Roussev. Moderator: Rainald Schumacher (at viennacontermporary talk area)

15:00 Voin de Voin (performance)

26. 09

12:00 Pravdoliub Ivanov (artist talk)

13:00 Discussion: “Production. From craft to industry and vice versa.” With Pravdoliub Ivanov, Stela Vasileva, Vitto Valentinov. Provocateur: Iara Boubnova

14:00 Miryana Todorova (artist talk)

15:00 Variofocus: presentation of the publication with the editor Boris Kostadinov


12:00 Kamen Stoyanov (artist talk)

13:00 Vitto Valentinov (artist talk)

15:30 Variable in appearance, sometimes vaporous, sometimes as plastic paste. A conversation piece. With Luchezar Boyadjiev, Boris Kostadinov, Miryana Todorova, Kamen Stoyanov, Vitto Valentinov and others. (at viennacontermporary talk area)


Focus Bulgaria includes a publication which not only reflects the whole project, but also makes the audience familiar with some of the important aspects of the situation of Bulgarian contemporary art. The publication is conceptualized and developed by Bulgarian Vienna-based curator Boris Kostadinov. Contributors: Maria Vassileva, Irina Koralova, Emile Ouroumov, Gaudenz B. Ruf. The publication was supported by EVB Collection, Municipal Foundation Plovdiv 2019 and Pulsio Print.



- Download the Focus Bulgaria publication

- Bulgarian translations of the texts from the publication

- Where you can find the publication

- More photos from Focus Bulgaria



- Interview with Vesselina Sarieva

- Interview with Gaudenz B. Ruf

Vienna Looks East for Fine Arts, New York Times International

For media coverage in Bulgarian please visit the Bulgarian version of our website.