Opening on Thursday, 14 September, at 6 p.m.
The Palace, 1, Knyaz Alexander I Sq., Sofia
The selected by the curators Boryana Valchanova and Vessela Christova-Radoeva works follow the major stylistic and thematic threads in the artist’s output up to 1951, when he suffered a severe stroke that paralysed his right side, and the changes in his pictorial expression after he began painting again, but now with his left hand.
If we were to characterise in a single word the remarkable art of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev with its broad range of themes, subjects and plastic searches, the most appropriate term would be ‘messages’. We would with difficulty find a painting that did not exude innermost suggestions springing from the rich spiritual make-up and life-path of the artist. This is an oeuvre of messages about patriotism and filial attachment, messages about morality, honour and duty, messages about the eternal and intransient, about the will of the spirit, strength of character and the pursuit of uniqueness.
Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s oeuvre is an encapsulation of the philosophical meaning of life, of the relationship between man and nature, and the relations between people. Without cliché, superficial narrativity, or chiding. Sometimes with a peculiar arbitrariness of interpretation that is not, however, an artistic pose, but an immanent spiritual attitude. An exceptionally talented and vital artist, he even,
in his paintings, overturns the usual logic of time, space, existence and human nature.
Across twelve galleries on two floors of the Palace, we present paintings, with the preparatory sketches for three of the most emblematic examples among them: ‘Wedding in Brezovo’ (1939), ‘Brezovo Shepherds’ (1941) and ‘In the Field/After Ploughing’ (1942); documentary material and photographs provided by the artist’s heirs and loaned from the archives of the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Artworks from the following sources are included: the National Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery; the galleries in Blagoevgrad, Varna, Vidin, Gabrovo, Kazanlak, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Plovdiv, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Yambol; the State Institute of Culture to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and from the heirs of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev; from UBB and Litex Commerce and private collections. ‘101 Portraits’ (2006), a documentary film produced by BNT Plovdiv, will be screened in one of the halls.
The spatial design is by Kirill Ass and Nadia Korbut, with graphic design by Idea Design Studio. Visitors are, for the first time, to be offered an individual audio guide for nineteen of the paintings on display, with narrative by art critics from the National Gallery; this innovative bilingual product was developed by Our Heritage. The bilingual catalogue, translated into English by Nigrita Davies, will be
presented on the eve of Zlatyu Boyadzhiev’s birth date, 22 October. The exhibition programme includes tours led by the curators and a presentation on the artist’s technology by Milena Donkova, the gallery’s chief restorer.