Rumen Gasharov. Brutto – Netto
07.12. - 12.02.2023
The exhibition Brutto – Netto presents the work of Rumen Gasharov by following the changes in his painting throughout the years – from his early works in which reality is already subjected to doubt, to his well-known iconic large-scale canvases. It presents to the public – and most of all, to younger viewers – the thematic circle of this brilliant artist, in which the little man occupies the main place – a theme that he consistently defends in Bulgarian painting even now.
For his 60-year artistic career, Rumen Gasharov has created a significant quantity of painted canvases, collages, and illustrations. The gross aggregate – the brutto – in the artistic daily life of the artist is stunning. This is an invariable persistence – a creative constancy in the search of the netto – the net result of his art. Pure art as the essence of creative thought and a gazing into the multiformity of life.
The painting of Rumen Gasharov through the years has awakened different controversies – about his penchant for kitsch, his taste for the grotesque, his attitude toward mass culture and “urban folklore”, and about the meaning of his graphic messages. Still, urban motifs, figural compositions, female characters, and still lifes in which people are in the centre of the world remain the focus of his interests. The artist’s concept of man and his relationship to objects and the visual environment are always foregrounded. The life of objects that carry traces of the human is what interests him. Present in his paintings are objects from everyday life – embroideries, wall hangings, posters, pictures, and other varieties of pop culture – included as collages right in the painting, skilfully drawn, and woven into a new unity. His work continues to intrigue with its irony and especially with its sense of humour, with its rich erudition, its naivism, with themes that turn out to still be current even today.
The exposition features 90 works, including iconic pieces like Rush Hour (1979), Stop Along the Way (1966), Sofia – Triptych (1989), Central Station (1987), Office Party (1984), The Blue Mannequin (1986), Shooting Gallery II and III, Family (1967), and others. And shown for the first time are some of the artist’s drawings, revealing his work process – from the spontaneous moment of inspiration, hastily sketched, to the refined and thoroughly considered compositions.
The exhibition has been organized with the assistance of:
The family of Rumen and Tanya Gasharov
The National Art Gallery, National Palace of Culture, Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery – Varna, City Art Gallery – Plovdiv, Museum of Humour and Satire – Gabrovo, Regional History Museum – Vidin, Regional Historical Museum – Kardzhali, Regional Historical Museum – Montana, Boris Denev Art Gallery – Veliko Tarnovo, Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora Art Gallery – Kyustendil, Dimitar Dobrovich Art Gallery – Sliven, Art Gallery – Dobrich, Iliya Beshkov Art Gallery – Pleven, Art Gallery – Kazanlak, Nikola Marinov Art Gallery – Targovishte, Petko Zadgorski Art Gallery – Burgas, Prof. Iliya Petrov Art Gallery – Razgrad, Prof. Teofan Sokerov Art Gallery – Lovech, Art Gallery – Ruse, Art Gallery – Silistra, Art Gallery – Smolyan, Art Gallery – Stara Zagora, Hristo Tsokev Art Gallery – Gabrovo, and private collections.
The exposition is accompanied by the dual-language catalogue Rumen Gasharov. Brutto – Netto in English and Bulgarian, realized with support of the Ministry of Culture.
Rumen Gasharov was born in Plovdiv, but he has spent most of his life in Sofia. He was one of the first pupils at the newly established High School of Fine Arts. Among his fellow students were Lyuben Prahov, Boyan Dimitrov, Radoslav Lilov, Stefan Gatsev, Rumyana Gancheva, Bisera Dzheneva (Prahova), Dimitar Kazakov, Nikola Zarov, Gencho Simeonov, and Georgi Kyoseiliev. His diploma was the first one issued by the High School of Fine Arts – № 1. In 1956, he was accepted into the Nikolay Pavlovich Higher Institute of Visual Arts (the Academy of Art) in Sofia. The first two years he studied drawing with Prof. Boris Mitov, and from his third year – painting in Prof. Iliya Petrov’s class. He graduated in 1962 with excellent marks. He has been an active participant in artistic life. Over the years he has held more than fifteen solo exhibitions and has presented his work in various group exhibitions in Bulgaria and abroad. He has been bestowed with different awards for his contribution to Bulgarian art.
1977 He received first prize for painting in the first international exhibition Humour and Satire in Painting – Gabrovo ’77 for his painting Prognosis.
1984 Awarded the Union of Bulgarian Artists’ annual Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora prize for the exhibition in Gabrovo.
1985 Honoured with the title “Honoured Artist.”
1987 Honoured with the “Sofia Prize” for his anniversary exhibition from 1986.
1989 Received the first prize for painting in the 100 Years of Sofia – Capital of Bulgaria National Exhibition for his Sofia – Triptych.