THE OTHER EYE – PORTRAIT OF A FRIEND
Portrait of a Friend is the fifth exhibition within The Other Eye Project launched by the Sofia City Art Gallery in 2010. Under the project, non-art historian outsiders are invited by the gallery as guest curators to conceive directions and ideas for an exhibition based on artworks belonging to the gallery’s permanent collection. The upcoming exhibition is curated by Iglika Trifonova, filmmaker and screenwriter, whose work includes 10 documentaries, most notably Homicide Stories. A Letter to America (2000) marked her debut as a feature film director (a co-production with the Netherlands, Germany, and Hungary). Her films were presented at dozens of festivals having earned numerous national and international awards.
Iglika Trifonova draws our attention to closeness focusing on personalities, or individual images. The exhibition is the outcome of interesting conversations, a careful selection, and a new take on a much commented upon theme, namely the portrait. The exhibition features more than 100 works that belong to various genres such as painting, sculpture, and photography, and span the close of the nineteenth century through the first decade of the twenty-first century. The exhibition presents artworks by seminal Bulgarian artists such as Zlatyo Boyadzhiev, Ivan Markvichka, Vladimir Dimitrov the Master, Genko Genkov, Ivan Nenov, Lika Yanko, Ivan Lazarov, Svetlin Rusev, Pavel Koychev, Atanas Patsev, Vaska Emanuilova. Iglika Trifonova’s curatorial approach is interesting in that the exhibition features works that leave the museum’s storage rooms for the first time, allow viewers to see the artists who created them in a completely different light, and reveal numerous points of intersection of images, styles, and periods. As Iglika Trifonova notes in the exhibition catalogue, ‘I picked out the portraits based on their effect, and the power of their presence. I have spoken to cinematographers I have worked with, as well as to actors and viewers about this presence so many times. There is something about it that does not lend itself to categorization, something so enigmatic and so attractive. The words most beautifully suited to this presence would be Shakespeare’s ‘such stuff as dreams are made on’… There are human faces that light is fond of, that leave an impression you cannot get away from for a long time… Some of the portraits are of notable Bulgarians all of us are familiar with, others are of anonymous people who lived in the past or belong to this day and age. Working on a portrait involves inspiration and skill, as well as responsibility to the person being portrayed’.
Curator: Iglika Trifonova