Opening on Tuesday, 18 July, 6 p.m.
Protecting cultural heritage, and sometimes saving it, is the main task of restorers. Their work – conservation, and restoration of individual objects and entire complexes – results from studies, analyses, and extensive knowledge in chemistry, physics, art history, theology, general history, and many other fields.
Professional education for restorers in our country goes back fifty years, and in 2003 the Association of Conservator-Restorers in Bulgaria (ACRB) was established – a professional association of certified restorers – scientists and specialists with experience and contribution to preserving cultural heritage. Today, the association includes some of the best restorers of paintings and icons, frescoes, mosaics, decorative wall panels, works on paper, books, and photographs, along with cultural heritage objects made of wood, ceramics, stone, metal, and textile.
The exhibition in the National Gallery introduces photographic details of the work of the members of ACRB on objects such as the Madara Rider rock relief, the facade frescoes of the Hrelyo’s Tower in the Rila Monastery, the frescoes in the Boyana Church, the mosaics from the Episcopal Basilica of Philippopolis, icons from the Church of St Stefan in Nessebar, manuscripts from the collection of the Center for Slavic-Byzantine Studies “Prof. Ivan Duychev,” paintings from the National Gallery, photographs from the collection of the National History Museum, the original banner of the Stara Zagora Uprising of 1875.
The format that familiarizes the activities of the ACRB members is documental wallboards that participate in the Restoration Forum. Since 2006 it has been one of the major annual events in the life of Bulgarian restorers, during which results, plans, and projects are shared. Subsequently, the Forum has included sessions with reports expanding into national conferences. These are held in Sofia and in partnership with the city art galleries and regional history museums in Pleven, Blagoevgrad, Samokov, Kyustendil, and Plovdiv. The present exhibition includes presentations from various editions of the Forum.
The Association of Restorers in Bulgaria aims to constantly raise the level of conservation and restoration following generally accepted European standards, validation and recognition of the restorer’s legal status, and, of course, strives to present and popularize this profession. In pursuit of these goals, in 2009, ACRB became a full member of the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers’ Organizations (E.C.C.O.).
The archival materials in the exhibition are testimony to the twenty-year history of ACRB, guided by the understanding that cultural heritage is a public resource with an essential role in our national identity, with its preservation inextricably linked to the application of modern professional principles and standards.