Vaska Emanuilova Gallery, Sofia City Art Gallery branch
26 April – 11 June 2023
Curator: Galina Dimitrova-Dimova
Featured artists: Ariel Reichman, Venelin Shurelov, Vikenti Komitski, Denitsa Milusheva, Elena Bellantoni, Elena Nazarova, Harita Asumani
Special guest: Stefan Ivanov
The exhibition explores the theme of fear and love as two polar opposites of human behaviour. On one side are human fears that prevent us from being who we are, from following our desires and dreams. At the other is love that can help us overcome these fears, attain personal fulfilment, and be worthy of (self-) respect.
Our study covers various aspects of human fear: fear of death, loneliness, otherness and the unknown; fear of something unfortunate happening to us or our family; social fears, like fear of failure to belong, to abide by social norms, to succeed; and a particularly interesting phenomenon called fear of love (philophobia).
Putting on love above all is not such a simple and easy choice, though. According to Erich Fromm, the modern individual has lost this ability, having turned into an automaton: well fed, well clad, yet without self, without any except the most superficial contact with his fellow men (Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving). Choosing love as the only sensible and satisfactory answer to the question about the meaning of human existence is a matter of personal choice. Regardless of the fact that social fears reigning over people of the modern age are making this choice more and more difficult.
The exhibition features works by seven contemporary Bulgarian and foreign artists and a poet, offering varying perspectives on the issue. The art works include paintings, sculptural objects, assemblages, video and drawings. The curator’s selection aims to build a temporary visual space out of ideas and messages meant to offer viewers food for thought and enlighten them.
The space chosen to put up the exhibit has a lot to do with the choice of its theme. The gallery, named after Vaska Emanuilova, has a collection of notable sculptures showcasing the renowned artist’s legacy. They provide a reference point, inspiring us to turn to the eternal theme of human feelings and consider it in the light of the modern age.
Galina Dimitrova-Dimova has been curating and managing cultural projects for 23 years. She curated and managed projects of the InterSpace Media Art Centre, Sofia over the period 1999 – 2008. She became a freelancer afterwards, working with numerous cultural organizations in Bulgaria. Ever since 2009, she has been co-curator and organizer of the International Digital Arts Festival DA Fest. Project coordinator at the Credo Bonum Foundation (2011-2019) and curator of the Credo Bonum Gallery (2013-2015). Lecturer at the National Academy of Art, Sofia, Digital Arts master degree programme since 2016. Co-founder of DA LAB Foundation, curator and coordinator of the latter’s projects since 2018. Her most recent curatorial projects include: The Burden of Existence Contemporary Art Week, Plovdiv, 2022; What’s Next? Exhibition presented at the Credo Bonum Gallery, the Heerz Toya Gallery and the Vratsa City Art Gallery (2021); curator of Baba Residence (2020, 2021, 2022), an initiative of the Idea Factory, etc.
The exhibition is supported by the Singer-Zahariev Foundation