BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv

Beginning in the early years of developing of gallery SARIEV Contemporary and upgraded with a new format and vision in 2010, the platform “BACKGROUND: Young Artists" aims to select young artists, focus on their creativity and reveal new formats as well as aesthetic and conceptual perspectives of art today. In the process of making “BACKGROUND: Young Artists" SARIEV Contemporary often sets goals in the territory of that system of factors around art that make it visible and on display. Thus "BACKGROUND: Young Artists" has illuminated new spaces for exposure, giving freedom for developing new curatorial and communication practices in order to open a wider field in which to "be with art".

In July and August 2019, SARIEV presents “BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv" and as a gallery which has begun its development in Plovdiv, it approaches it in a specific way. The intention of the gallery in its approach towards the exhibition is to make a situation that gives freedom for development and presentation of new projects of artists who work in Plovdiv, while emphasizing the character of the city and the places in the way of situating the projects. The exhibition refuses to work with a curator, topic or particular artistic focus. It has no beginning or end and the point of view to it is complex and open. Most of the decisions in the course of the exhibition are taken by the gallery together in a common conversation and meetings with the invited artists Martina Vacheva, Mitch Brezounek Dimitar Genchev, Velizar Dimchev, Yavor Kostadinov, Lyubomir Krastev, Trifon Tashev, Valko Chobanov and Dimitar Shopov. The selection of the invited artists does not show a certain artistic tendency (though it partially illustrates such), but presents artists with expressed artistic character, among which there is generational proximity, human, collegial, and sometimes artistic exchange. This is also a group exhibition, but in the way it is set it is a combination of independent ones, presenting individual projects in separate spaces. The individual presentations are arranged separately by each of the artists with support from the gallery and show their current works, their aesthetic and thematic quests at the moment, which is the main focus of interest of “BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv". Part of the exhibition are also the planned conversation with the artists, party with their music sets and a film featuring studio visits with them. “BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv" is situated not only in its traditional location – SARIEV Contemporary, but also gives way to other artistic spaces such as Danchova house in the Old Town with its typical Bulgarian Revival architecture and the young gallery Cu29. In the communication of the exhibition, gallery SARIEV decided to question the role of design as introducing the aesthetics of the exhibitions and offering the first stylistic viewpoint of their reading. That is why the gallery is working with the designer from Hamburg Paul Voggenreiter for the communication in English and with print studio "Artcommerce design" from Plovdiv for the communication in Bulgarian, giving them total freedom to present the "young artists from Plovdiv" and accepting unconditionally their first suggestions. As well as that, SARIEV is refusing the traditional curatorial text format which is supposed to introduce the artists and the exhibition in advance, instead aiming to realize material after the exhibition opening, which will present perspectives to the already realized exhibition and works in a conversation between artists, gallerists, art historians, curators, visitors, collectors, designers, the author of the film, the exhibition partners. A material in which the new visual identity of SARIEV Contemporary, too, will be announced.

"BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv", as well as in previous years, will include "Portfolio Day" – a format that provides opportunity to young artists who have applied and were selected to consult their work in dialogue with established artists, gallerists, curators and collectors.


The exhibition will take place at several locations:

Gallery SARIEV Contemporary
Dimitar Shopov, "3d DOGS"
5 July – 30 August 2019
40 Otets Paisiy str.
Monday – Friday
10 am – 6:30 pm
11 am – 3 pm

Danchova house
Mitch Brezounek, Valko Chobanov, Velizar Dimchev, Yavor Kostadinov, Lyubomir Krastev, Martina Vacheva
5 July – 30 August 2019
18 Kiril Nektariev str.
Tuesday – Sunday
11 am – 7 pm

Coffee&Gallery Cu29
Trifon Tashev
5 July – 13 August 2019
24 Hristo Dyukmedzhiev str.
Monday – Sunday
9 am – 11 pm

Dimitar Genchev
5 July – 30 August 2019
38 Otets Paisiy str.
Monday – Thursday
9 am – 12 pm
Friday and Saturday
10 am – 1 am
10 am – 12 pm

FLUCA – Austrian cultural pavilion 
Exhibition opening party, music selectors – the participating artists
5 July, 9 pm
Screening of films about the artists, panel discussion with Vesselina Sarieva (founder and director, Sariev Contemporary) and the artists
18 July, 7:30 pm
38 Otets Paisiy str.

Lucky cinema
Screening of the film "3d DOGS" by Dimitar Shopov and talk
6 July, 7 pm
1 W. Gladstone str.

Free entrance to all events

The project is part of the program of “Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture 2019”

The exhibition is co-organised by Municipal Institute "Ancient Plovdiv"

Consultant of the show: Isabella Ritter (founder and director, gallery LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina)


Portfolio Day
workshop for young artists

Artnewscafe, Plovdiv
6 July 2019 (closed event)

Experts: Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva (curator and art critic), Pravdoliub Ivanov (artist), Isabella Ritter (founder and director, gallery LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina), Nikolay Nedelchev (collector), Vesselina and Katrin Sariev (gallerists)


“BACKGROUND: Young Artists” is a long-lasting platform by SARIEV Contemporary for young artists and curators, whose exhibitions are realized in the gallery space and satellite public spaces such as Kapana, Plovdiv, FLUCA – Austrian cultural pavilion, bar TELL ME (Sofia) and abroad (Bulgarian Embassy in Finland). The following artists have been presented so far in the platform: Kiril Kuzmanov and Svetoslav Michev (2010), Lubri (2011), Zoran Georgiev (2012), Daniela Georgieva (2013), Dimitar Solakov (2014), Martina Vacheva (2016), Eli Joteva and Zlatimir Arakliev (2018), as well as the special edition of BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv in Helzinki (Valko Chobanov, Martina Vacheva, Dimitar Shopov, 2018).

In 2016 the exhibition platform expanded with two new formats: “Portfolio Day” (editions in 2016 and 2018) where young artists under the age of 35 selected after an open invitation, receive individual counseling from a professional committee composed of leading curators, artists and gallerists, and 15 Minutes of Fame (2016 and 2018) – a presentation format in which young artists present their work to an audience in an event designed dramaturgically and including interludes with music and performances.

More about "BACKGROUND: Young Artists" here




Mitch Brezounek was born in France in 1989 and is based in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In 2015 he graduated the National Academy of Art in Brittany – Lorient, France. He uses various techniques in the working process such as ceramic, drawing, painting, video installation, animation. From 2013 - 2014 he was working as a gallerist assistant in Gallery contemporary photography “Le Lieu” in Lorient. He is member of the art collective Ouest Fisting from Lorient (2013-2016). The collective is part of the underground graphic culture with fanzine, silkcreen print, DYE, video and other media. The collective has been invited to participate in graphic art festivals such as Crack festival, Rome, Italy, 2013, 2014; International Fanzine Festival, Istanbul, Turkey, 2014; Hip-hip Zine Fair, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2015; Vendetta, Marseille, France, 2016. In 2014 Ouest Fisting won first prize for best fanzine in ‘’Itineraire Graphique’’, Lorient, France with jury Bernhard Willem Holtrop and Muzo.
In recent years, Mitch Brezounek is working in various techniques such as ceramic, drawing, painting, video installation, animation. In 2016, Point Blank gallery presented his solo show “We love Russia”. In 2017 Aether Art Space, Sofia, presented his second solo show “Incubus” with curator Voin de Voin. In 2018 Gallery L’Union, Plovdiv, presented his solo show “Venus Ritual”. He was part of the group show “Shock und Schrecken”, 2018, in Goethe-Institut Bulgarien, Sofia, curated by Stefka Tsaneva. In 2019 he was part of the group show “Art Start” at Credo Bonum gallery, curated by Vessela Nozharova and Stefka Tsaneva. In 2019 Artnewscafe, Plovdiv, presented his solo show “Life in Plastic”, organized in partnership with gallery Sariev Contemporary.


Valko Chobanov was born in 1991 in Plovdiv. He graduated in Scenography at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv and Digital Arts at the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria. He works in the media of painting, video art and performance. In 2017 he had his first solo exhibition "Inorganic / Organic" at Coffee&Gallery Cu29, Plovdiv, with the support of the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award. He has participated in various group exhibitions and projects in Bulgaria, some of which are "My dear provincialist" in 2017 in Swimming Pool, Sofia,"Places of Pleasure" part of the “Multipolis” project organized by The Fridge, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia in 2017 and others.
His video art works are shown in the Bad Video Art Festival, Moscow, 2018 and in "Niglo", 2017 as well as #VERYSHORTFILMFEST @ Vine, 2013.
His original performances such as "Pizza slut" are part of the DA Fest, 2015 and EXAF art gallery, while "I have a pale cultural dissonance, yeah like whatever fuck it and feelings and stuff", 2017 and "LOL", 2018 were part of the program of the performance art festival Sofia Underground.


Velizar Dimchev was born in 1983 in Plovdiv. In 2007 he graduated from the National Art Academy in Sofia, MA Degree in Painting in the class of Professor Andrei Daniel. Over the years, Velizar has been active in various areas of contemporary art such as painting, installation, objects, photography, and more. In 2016 he founded Coffee&Gallery Cu29, a space for culture and art in Kapana, Plovdiv.


Dimitar Genchev (born 1985 in Bulgaria) lives and works in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He studied at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) and was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. His works have been exhibited  at Sofia City Art Gallery, Kaskadenkondensator, Liste Art fair, Basel, and Gerhard Hofland gallery, Amsterdam, among many other spaces. In 2016, Genchev’s works were selected by curator Noor Mertens for the “Prospects & Concepts” section of Art Rotterdam.


Yavor Kostadinov was born in 1993 in Plovdiv, where he currently lives and works. In 2018 he graduated in MA in Painting at the National Academy of Arts, Sofia, in the studio of Prof. Ivaylo Mirchev. In 2015 he studied at Accademia di belle arti di Brera, Milan, Italy.
He had three solo exhibitions – "Some fears", Vaska Emanouilova Gallery – branch of Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia (2019); "Sickened but curious", Geshov Gallery, Sofia (2018) and "Temporeal", Serdika Gallery, Sofia (2018).
Some group exhibitions in which he participated were: "Beyond the Surface" – National Autumn Exhibitions in Plovdiv (2018); "Schock und Schrecken", Goethe-Institut Bulgarien, Sofia (2018); "The Conflict of Reality Part II - the youngest in Bulgarian painting and sculpture", gallery "Rayko Alexiev", Sofia (2018); Exhibition of graduates from the National Art Academy at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute – Haus Wittgenstein, Vienna, Austria (2016); Exhibition "Ancora nuovi segni" – students from the course of Professor Omar Galiani, Spazio Espositivo Antonello da Messina, Lenjano, Italy (2015).
He has received awards for young artist from national exhibitions – Gabrovo (2017), Sliven (2018), Montana (2018) and an award for painting from the Allianz Bulgaria competition in 2018; a nomination for the "Sirak Skitnik" Art Prize and an award for painting "Dimitar Dobrovich" Art Gallery, Sliven (2018); Award "Anastas Staykov" as a graduate from the National Art School "Tsanko Lavrenov" (2012).
His works are part of the collections of “Hristo Tsokev” Art Gallery, Gabrovo; "Dimitar Dobrovich" Art Gallery, Sliven; "Kiril Petrov" Art Gallery, Montana; Corporate Collection of Allianz Bulgaria, Sofia.


Lyubomir Krastev was born in 1983 in Ruse, lives and works in Plovdiv. In 2008 she graduated in Graphics at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv. Some of his solo exhibitions include "The Industrial Temple", NIGHT / Plovdiv (2016); "Forcing Up the Choice", National Autumn Exhibitions in Plovdiv (2013), Art Alley Gallery, Sofia (2011); Autograph Gallery, Plovdiv (2008) and others. Among his participations in group exhibitions, competitions and curatorial projects can be mentioned: "Generation between Enthusiasm and Destruction", curatorial project by Albena Mihaylova-Benji, presented by AM Contemporary as special guest of LISTE, Art Fair Basel (2019); "Tractatus Locus - Space in Contemporary Art", curatorial project by Christina Schrei at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute – Haus Wittgenstein, Vienna, Austria (2017); "New Acquisitions 2010 - 2011", Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria (2012); The Fifth Beijing International Art Biennale. Fusion - International Contemporary Intaglo Print Inviation Exhibition, China (2012). In 2016 Krastev is a Beneficiary of the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award Support Programme. In 2010 and 2015, he is a visiting artist in the resident program of International Artist Village, Guangzhou, China; in 2012 he received a prize for the National Allianz Competition, Plovdiv; in 2009 was awarded at the National Competition for Young Artists, Critics and Curators, Sofia, Bulgaria.


Dimitar Shopov was born in 1980 in Kurdzhaly, Bulgaria. He graduated in Stage design in 2007 at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. His solo shows include: “People, Years, Life”, Sariev Contemporary (2017), as well as three solo shows in L'union de Paris Gallery, Plovdiv (2013, 2014, 2015). Selected group shows are: "Immersion - Background: Young Artists from Plovdiv", curated by Vera Mlechevska, Bulgarian Embassy in Helzinki, Finland (2018); “10 years Open Arts: HERE EVERYWHERE”, curated by Vladiya Mihaylova (2017); “My Dear Provincialist”, curated by Victoria Draganova, Swimming Pool, Sofia (2017); “Let Them Draw”, SARIEV Contemporary, Plovdiv (2016); “Collection of 77 self-portraits by Bulgarian artists”, National Art Gallery, Sofia (2015); “All I Can Do is Art”, Prague (2013); “Gavazov and His Time”, Sofia Contemporary Art - “Near, Closer, Together”, Sofia, curator Ovul Durmusoglu, (2013); “Shortlist 2011”, exhibitions of the nominated artists for the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award, Rayko Aleksiev, Sofia (2011). Part of his projects are “Auction of avant-garde Bulgarian Art”, “Gavazov and his school” performances by Vera Mlechevska and Dimitar Shopov, part of the Night of Museums and Galleries, Plovdiv (2014), “Gavazov” performances, part of the Festival "Otets Paisiy Street - Text", Plovdiv (2012), “Our Business”, part of Night of museums and galleries, Nebet tepe, Plovdiv (2011), “At the Djumaya”, project of Night of Museums and Galleries, Plovdiv (2010). Over the past 10 years, he has been researching the life and work of the artist Gavazov and searching for artifacts related to him. In 2012 he also released his book-album dedicated to the artist, with which he won the literary prize "South Spring". Residences include: RU, New York, 2016; KulturKontact Austria, 2013, Specialization in Cite international des Arts, Paris, 2007. Dimitar Shopov is the 2017 BAZA / Young Visual Artists Awards winner - a prize attributed by the Sofia City Art Gallery and Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia.

Trifon Tashev was born in Kurdzhaly, graduated in Ethnology at Plovdiv University, lives and works in Plovdiv. He has participated in many exhibitions and festivals, some of which include: “Onomatopoeia”, “Analogue Presence”, “Art Positive”, Sofia Underground, “My Dear Provincialist” and others.


Martina Vacheva was born 1988 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She lives and works in Plovdiv and Brittany, West France. Martina graduated from the National Academy of Arts in Sofia, majoring in Illustration and Book and Print Graphics, in 2012 she specialized in the illustrator’s class of Georg Barber (ATAK) at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, Germany.
In 2016, SARIEV Contemporary with the curator Vera Mlechevska presented her first solo show “Sereality" as part of the gallery’s BACKGROUND: Young Artists 2016 exhibition. After the success of the show her works have been exhibited in many curatorial exhibitions and projects such as: “Lifestyles and Still Life” curated by Vera Mlechevska, Lubomirov/Angus-Hughes, London, (2016); Exhibition of nominees for the BAZA Award for contemporary art, Sofia City Art Gallery (2017); “The Image is no Longer Available” curated by Vesela Nozharova, Credo Bonum Gallery, Sofia (2017); “My Dear Provincialist” curated by Victoria Draganova, Swimming Pool, Sofia (2017); “Let Them Draw II (Drawing and Withdrawing)” group show - drawings, curated by Pravdoliub Ivanov at SARIEV Contemporary (2017); “Art start: Young artists to Follow in 2017” curated by Vessela Nozharova, Stefka Tsaneva, Daniela Radeva, Credo Bonum Gallery, Sofia (2017); "Baywatch" curated by Nathalie Hoyos and Rainald Schumacher, KVOST, Berlin (2018); "Dias de Romance" curated by Carmen Ferreyra, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2018); "Schock und Schrecken" curated by Stefka Tsaneva, Goethe-Institut Bulgarien, Sofia (2018), “Listen to Us – Artistic Intelligence (exhibition of Deutsche Telekom – Art Collection Telekom)” curated by Nathalie Hoyos and Rainald Schumacher, Plovdiv (2019) and others.
In 2019 Martina Vacheva will participate in Art Brussels (25-28 April 2019), where she will be presented by Sariev Contemporary. As well as that, in the summer of 2019 she will participate at the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts (7 June - 29 September 2019), curated by Slavs and Tatars, and will have her first museum exhibition in Museum Folkwang in Essen, Germany within the exhibition format "6 1/2 Weeks" (11 July - 25 August 2019).
Martina Vacheva is the 2017 BAZA / Young Visual Artists Awards winner - a prize attributed by the Sofia City Art Gallery and Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia. She was awarded with two-month participation in Residency Unlimited, NY.
Martina Vacheva has works at Art Collection Telekom, Metropolitan museum library collection, New York and Gaudenz B. Ruf collection, Zurich, Vienna.
Martina Vacheva is represented by Sariev Contemporary since 2018.


Watch films about the artists in the exhibition: 

Dimitar Genchev

Dimitar Shopov

Lyubomir Krastev

Martina Vacheva

Mitch Brezounek

Trifon Tashev

Valko Chobanov

Velizar Dimchev

Yavor Kostadinov


The show in the media

Young artists from Plovdiv with group exhibition
Pod tepeto - 26 June 2019

Exhibition presents the works of nine artists from Plovdiv
Bulgarian national radio - 1 July 2019

9 moments of Dimitar Shopov
Programata - 25 July 2019

Humor - the red thread in the works of Martina Vacheva
Bulgarian national radio - 26 July 2019

Meet some of Plovdiv's best young artists
Seen - 29 July 2019

A plovdivian awarded with the BAZA - young contemporary artist award - 25 July 2019

Mitch Brezounek - the French artist who chose Plovdiv as his home - 16 August 2019

An exhibition without beginning or an end - 20 August 2019

To take something and to turn it into something else - Yavor, the canvas and the paints - 21 August 2019

Who are the “young artists from Plovdiv” and what sets them apart from the eternal myth about the artists of the city? 
Egoist - 23 August 2019

Martina Vacheva - the artist who met satire and pop culture - 25 August 2019

BACKGROUND: Young Artists from Plovdiv at SARIEV Contemporary, Danchova house, Coffee&Gallery Cu29, Artnewscafe, FLUCA – Austrian cultural pavilion and Lucky cinema
Art Viewer - 28 August 2019

Dimitar Shopov
Licata na grada - 28 August 2019

Valko, who does not seek meaning where there is none
Dnevnik - 31 August 2019