Gallery hall dedicated to naïve and intuitive art opens in Bulgaria’s Belogradchik

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Works of artists who recreate pure images from their childhood on the canvas can be seen on display on two floors of the gallery in the Bulgarian town of Belogradchik, located in northwestern Bulgaria and famous for its rock formations which attract many tourists.

The exhibition was created on the idea of ​​two art fans. Inspired by Serbian museums of naïve works in Jagodina and Kovačica, Daniela Osikovska and architect Georgi Georgiev decided to exhibit such works in the town where they settled a few years ago. For this purpose they provided their personal collection of paintings. Donations and permanent space were also provided by the town gallery "Valcho Valchev". The exhibition includes 130 canvases, drawings and sculptures by 75 authors from sixteen countries including, Bulgaria, Italy, Serbia, Poland, Australia, New Zealand.

Zoran Andjelkovic, In the country, 2010

Naive art recreates fairy-tale worlds as if viewed through the eyes of a child. In our pragmatic world, artists manage to create spaces of carefree mood and spiritual purity.

“There are artists who work in the naive style spontaneously,” Associate Professor Ruzha Marinska says. “In France they even call them ‘Sunday artists’ – they do not have academic schooling and have other professions, but draw and paint for pleasure. But there is also another group of artists, who have serious academic education and through modern art they are looking for an immediate expression with the help of this type of style.”

Without being influenced by the traditions of art, these artists draw inspiration from their personal experiences and recreate their memories, desires and dreams.

“Spontaneous naïvists turn to their childhood memories, to their hometowns, to nature, to beautiful and cheerful things and definitely avoid the dramatic aspects of life," Prof. Ruzha Marinska adds. “Among the prominent Bulgarian artists in this genre are Radi Nedelchev, who began to work in the 1960s and the exhibition includes three of his works. Artist Rosen Rashev – Roshpak has been a significant figure in Bulgarian naïve art these days. His paintings are also on display in foreign galleries and museums, as this type of art is much more developed abroad than in this country. Even Bulgaria’s Balkan neighbors have naïvism schools with great names in the genre, collections and museums.”

Ivana Makedonova, Lost

Naïve art was well established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by one of its most prominent representatives – Henri Rousseau, the Customs Officer. In church murals in Bulgaria one can see traces of this artistic style.

“In our 19th-century icons, interesting naïve elements can be found," Ruzha Marinska says. “These elements do not affect the main characters, such as the saints, but they are always present in the landscape and in accompanying figures. In general, a very sympathetic naïvety can be found in the details. Nature is very much present in works by naïve artists – trees, horses, sheep, and others are usually present in their paintings.”

Ivana Makedonova, Come for the carrot!

The opening of the Salon for Naïve and Intuitive Art in Belogradchik at the end of May was accompanied by a plein air for artists from Bulgaria and abroad in the nearby village of Stakevtsi. The works of the artists will stay in the village, as it turned out that the magnificent Belogradchik Rocks inspire many of the artists. Belogradchik locals hope the only exhibition of naïve art in this country would attract many tourists. Curator in the gallery Elena Dzhuninska says that all visitors would be fascinated by this type of art that resembles a child's soul.

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: courtesy of Salon for Naïve and Intuitive Art

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