28/01/2020 - 28/06/2020

The exhibition consists of artworks by Zdravko Manolov in the ownership of the National Gallery and his heirs.

Ceramics to him was a vocation, as well as his course in life and creative development. Attached to the true values of the Bulgarian, to the eternal being of ideas and beliefs encoded in symbols and signs, he created artworks in which talent and inspiration intertwine. His beloved personages, created with a brilliant decorative feel in the plastic construction of the image, resurrect Bulgarian ancient traditions.

The artist was born on 1 January 1920 in the village of Mokresh, Montana region. He graduated in Ceramics from the Art Academy in Sofia under Prof. Stoyan Raynov. His first solo appearance in 1957 brought him immense success.

Manolov was also a research associate in the Department of Applied Arts of the Institute of Fine Arts at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Secretary of the Department of Applied Arts, and Deputy Chairman of the Creative Fund of the Union of Bulgarian Artists, lecturer in Ceramics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Damascus.

In 1971, he married the artist Evgeniya Racheva-Manolova – Erma. Jointly, they created many works. Over a period of thirty years from 1958 Zdravko Manolov participated in all general and national exhibitions of decorative and applied arts in Bulgaria, and in international exhibitions, competitions and biennales in ceramics. His works are owned by the National Gallery, and other art galleries in Bulgaria. He received the title of Honoured Artist, high state honours, awards of the Union of Bulgarian Artists and of Committee for Culture.

His dream for the decorative art to have a permanent home and the attitude towards it to be brought to another level remained unfulfilled. Zdravko Manolov was one of the founders of the National Gallery of Decorative and Applied Arts (1976) and its first and longstanding director until 1991. He even squared the circle of the gallery to be housed in its own building, something that happened as late as 1986. Regrettably, the construction of exhibition halls and all that was necessary for the normal functioning of this museum unique to Bulgaria, with a collection worthy of any such institution, remained in the sphere of wishes.

Dr Dochka Kisyova