An exhibition called “The Last First” at the Museum of Socialist Art in the Bulgarian capital Sofia will be open to the public from June 17 to October 23, 2022.
Nikolai Ushtavaliiski, Deputy Director of the National Gallery and curator of the exhibition, explains: “Through the image of Todor Zhivkov in the works of Bulgarian and foreign artists, the exhibition aims to illuminate a complex aspect of art of the totalitarian era, namely the relationship between art and power”.
About sixty works of painting, sculpture, graphic and decorative arts, original documents and manuscripts, visualize the interdependence of the creative intelligentsia of Bulgaria and the personality of the oldest communist leader among the nations of Europe from the east.
The names of Dechko Uzunov, Ivan Nenov, Vasil Barakov, Vasil Stoilov, Vera Nedkova, Nikolay Shmirgela, Alexander Poplilov and Svetlin Rusev stand out among the artists.
With a few exceptions, the works in this exhibition have never been shown to the public.
This fully applies to the drawings of people’s artists (the highest honorary title in the field of figurative arts before 1989), compiled in a jubilee compendium as a representative gift of the Union of Bulgarian Artists for the 70th anniversary by Zhivkov.
Beyond the political act of attested recognition towards the Communist Party in the person of its leader, these works can also be seen as a curious and hitherto unknown page in the history of Bulgarian art, said Ushtavaliiski .
A small but significant section of the exhibition features several political posters created in 2018 by former National Academy of Arts Poster and Visual Communication major students. In them, the image of the First and the era he personified are perceived with hindsight and the assessment of new generations.
The Socialist Art MuseumIt’s at 7 Luchezar Stanchev Street.
It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Bulgarian public holidays.
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