‘From the Distance of Time’ is the first event of the project entitled ‘The Other Art of Sofia’, which includes a series of exhibitions, presentations and screenings with artefacts and documents from the alternative artistic life of Sofia of the late 20th. century.
The exhibition presents two of the earliest avant-garde underground formations that functioned in Sofia from the late 1970s and mainly in the 1980s—the group ‘Kukuv den’ (Cuckoo Day) and the tandem ‘DE’. The concepts of the two groups are different; however their individual activities run in parallel up to the beginning of the political changes, achieving their ideas in an original, avant-garde way.
Paintings, collages, installations, as well as documentary materials—photographs, videos, texts—are presented, reflecting the spirit of the decade before and during the changes.
‘The Other Art of Sofia’ has been realised by the Art in Action Association in partnership with the Centre for Informal Education and Cultural Activities ALOS, and is co-financed under the 2016 Culture Programme of Sofia Municipality.
The Iron Cross for Contemporary Art VENTSISLAV ZANKOV 2016 will be awarded during the opening of the exhibition at 18:30.
The Kukuv Den Group is considered to be one of the first avant-garde, intellectual groups in Bulgaria associated with the development of Bulgarian contemporary art. It appeared in the mid-1970s, its founders being students from the Academy of Fine Arts, the Conservatoire and Sofia University.
The group was active until 1991. During the period of its existence, its few key members organised individually, among themselves, closed exhibitions, performances and discussions on contemporary art themes on which the totalitarian power had imposed an ideological taboo. They shot amateur films, conducted annual thematic carnivals and, three years before the political changes, they published a hand-written cultural and information brochure in a jocular manner, for a wider circle of friends. Their work was not directly targeted at the political situation, but it reflected the need for a personal artistic position and free expression for young artists at a time when they were subjected to censorship and rules imposed ‘from above’.
In order to survive in totalitarian conditions, the group placed itself in a state of ‘inner emigration’, where their members exchanged artistic ideas and information and sought out options for their spiritual survival from within their closed circle of friends.
The DE Group (Dynamic Esthetisation) emerged in 1984 as a creative team focused on participation in competitions related to the aestheticisation of the urban environment.
Soon after its creation, the members of the group—artists Dobrin Peychev and Orlin Dvoryanov—established themselves as an Actionist tandem. Both set themselves the task of realising direct artistic interventions in the public milieu and embarking on the risky at the time project, ‘Action Against Transience’. In relation to its implementation, they conducted an extensive series of exhibitions, performances and actions in natural and urban environments. They often involved their friends, and also students and pupils, in their actions. Characteristic of the DE group are the actions: ‘Bridges of Art’ (Sofia, 1988), ‘Twelve Steps to Light’ (Lozenets village, 1988), ‘The Road to the Eternal Tree’ (Gabrovo, 1988), ‘Bridge of Art ‘(Lovech, 1989), ‘The Opening of the Pyramid’ (Sofia, 1989), ‘Bridge to the Sky’ (Sofia, 1989) ‘Denial of the Cliché’ (1989–1992), among others.
For further information:
FROM THE DISTANCE OF TIME
Exhibition of the ‘KUKUV DEN’ and ‘DE’ groups
27 April – 5 June 2016
Opening: Wednesday, 27 April, 18:00
Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art
2, Cherni vrah Blvd.
Curator: Orlin Dvoryanov