14/01/2022 - 15/05/2022

Vernissage on Friday, 14 January, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., observing all anti-epidemic measures and with controlled access.

Twenty nine works from the foreign section of the National Gallery’s collection present artists from different countries, who have attitudes towards to the ideology of socialism in different degrees and in different ways in the second half of the twentieth century.

With few exceptions, the collection of these works began in the early 1970s, and most of them were acquired through purchases from the International Exhibition of Realistic Painting in Sofia. The first edition of this art forum was in 1973 and took place every three years until the end of the 1980s. It involves mostly artists from the former socialist camp, as well as authors from Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, West Berlin, Sweden, Denmark, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and others.

Among the highlights of the exhibition is the painting “Letter from the Front” by Soviet painter Alexander Laktionov (1910-1972) – a work considered one of the standards of socialist realism and one of the most reproduced works of art in the former Soviet Union.

In the exhibition you can see several paintings by the Cuban artist Carmelo Gonzalez (1920-1990), who enjoyed wide popularity in Bulgaria through his participation in the Triennial of Realistic Painting. Cuban art has acquired distinctive features since the 1959 revolution, combining ancient local traditions, some of the principles of twentieth-century art trends, and the ideological paradigms of Marxist ideas.

Very interesting is a small collection of Vietnamese lacquer painting – a technology with thousands of years of tradition, which after the victory of socialism in Vietnam became a propaganda tool. In these both picturesquely exquisite and bearing the features of unadulterated primitivism works we can see genre scenes of labor and rituals, as well as battle scenes from the Vietnam War.

The exhibition curated by Nikolai Ushtavaliiski aims to show the official face of art, living under the common denominator of ideological doctrine, but also to offer a modern perspective on the period. The fulcrums of such a concept are in the national peculiarities of the individual art schools, as well as in the presence of thematic-plot interpretations, revealing the lesser-known, even everyday-life faces of this art.