Ivan Georgiev – The Rembrandt was one of the "unknown" painters in the 1970s – 1980s; later on, he was recognized as the founder of the "abstract expressionism" in the Bulgarian fine arts.
After September 9, his parents together with their five children were interned from the capital to the village of Kovachevitsa, near Samokov. Ivan Georgiev was admitted in the High School of Arts in Sofia and in the "N. Pavlovich" Higher Institute of Fine Arts. He was nicknamed "The Rembrandt" because of his knowledge and referring to the work of this painter. Georgiev was notable for being an outstanding student in painting. His artistry was highly estimated and he won several prizes – the prize of the Central Council of Trade Unions for the poster "Never" (1963), a prize for artistic sketch (1965). However, there are documents preserved in his file at the Academy which show that the Academic Council did not give him the "right of diploma work". The arguments are not clear; probably, there were problems with his origin, obedience and composition. In the period of socialist realism, the figure composition was the most important genre, especially in academic training. The heroic-partisan and the working-peasant themes were still the only ones allowed. Still a student at the High School of Arts, Ivan Georgiev did not like composition (he had C in composition) and until the end of his life he rarely drew figure compositions.
The first attempt of Ivan Georgiev – The Rembrandt to take part in an exhibition in 1966 (probably in the Joint Art Exhibition of 1966) was actually his last one. His painting was rejected by the jury. This, together with his personal drama (the early death of his mother shortly before that), led to his choice of total refusal to participate in juried, directed, adulated and encouraged art. He painted without an audience and exhibitions. Georiev chose the art underground and the freedom he suffered for by living in constant penury.
Initially, he painted portraits, landscapes and still lifes. The portraits are unusually absorbed in, with the dramatic effect of the pain, the suffering, the view in the world beyond, the absence caused by this view. They are antipodes of the self-confident, optimistic, cheerful heroes, the ordinary children of socialist realism. The power of the dramatic which Ivan Georgiev bore excludes compromising the truth and sacrifices in the name of success.
From now on, Ivan Georgiev compared himself only to the achievements of selected, mostly temporally and spatially distant painters; an interaction which caused transition through various styles and characterized by complete neglect of the rules of the specific artistic style.
"Judging by the portrait of his father, probably, the painting of Ivan Georgiev began to retreat from the world of the visible in the late 1970s – a process that lasted several years and ended in the mid-1980s. The transition to abstract portraying began with the disintegration of the form. This journey could be best traced in his landscapes where there are still visible remains of contours of trees and houses. The technique reminds of the late Monnet but is more expressive and with a dynamic that comes from the motion of the brush and the contrast of the colours." (Iliev 2008)
Ivan Georgiev – The Rembrandt left over 1000 paintings; today, most of them are property of private collectors. Since the beginning of the 21st century, there is a process of "revealing" the painter and his works in cultural programmes and exhibitions.
The first exhibition of Ivan Georgiev – The Rembrandt was made in 1997, after his death, at the Vitosha Gallery in Sofia by Maksimilyan Kirov. In 2008, a retrospective exhibition of the painter was opened at the Sofia City Art Gallery with Krasimir Iliev as a curator.
- Bulgaria, private ownership
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Vincas Kisarauskas was a famous Lithuanian painter who occupied an obscure, negotiated zone in his relations with the Soviet regime. On one hand, his works were recognised and highly valued by society, as well as members of the Soviet nomenklatura. One the other hand, there were a number of government restrictions that limited his activities. Some exhibitions of work by Kisarauskas as a Modernist were closed down. One of his masterpieces is his work Zodiako dvyniai (Zodiac Twins), which was interpreted as a piece of Surrealist art. Art historians accordingly treat this piece as non-conformist art in relation to Soviet art.
The life and work of the painter Ventseslav Terziyski during the period of state socialism are an expression of resistance and standing-up for one's own positions.
The paintings of Ventseslav Terziyski are not realistic; they do not create a narrative. His paintings are usually untitled. A lack of figural composition and a storyline is characteristic to his work. Terziyski does not follow established norms, nor does he observe the rules of the perspective. He therefore did not receive recognition during the era of socialism; he was not accepted into the Union of Bulgarian Artists. Terziyski refused to compromise and to take jobs offered to him. He did not participate at exhibitions. He refused to accept any government assignments. He drew on cardboard boxes or any paper he found in the streets and survived only on his paintings, which he sold at low prices to acquaintances. "With his paintings the homes of people from all over the city [Blagoevgrad] are strewn," says Dr. Nurie Muratova from the Balkan Society for Autobiography and Social Communication.
The paintings of this original artist became included in an avant-garde exhibition only at the end of the communist regime, in the 11.11.88 exhibition in Blagoevgrad. In the following year, shown the day after the political change on 10 November 1989, a following exhibition was organized by the Union of Bulgarian Artists in Blagoevgrad in which Ventseslav Terziyski participated. The exhibition gained great interest and became a sign of the transition. In 2014, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the political transition, a national exhibition of contemporary art was organized in Blagoevgrad, using the symbolic title 11-11. More than 30 artists from Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Ruse, Plovdiv, Botevgrad and elsewhere participated. Ventseslav Terziyski presented new works; his paintings were included also in other exhibitions, and he has since been making annual solo exhibitions at the American University in Blagoevgrad. Today, Ventseslav Terziyski is among the most established and famous artists not only in Blagoevgrad but also in wider national context.
- Blagoevgrad, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria 2700
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Students also demonstrated their support for Croatian reformist and nationally-oriented political leaders by distributing handwritten pamphlets on different types of paper. This collection includes several examples of such pamphlets, and one mentions Savka Dabčević-Kučar and Mika Tripalo, both removed from their posts in December 1971. On the pamphlets themselves or in separate notes, the State Security Service recorded where and when the pamphlets were found. Together with other materials collected during Operation Tuškanac, these pamphlets were used in the prosecution of participants in the student movement.
The documents are available for research and copying.
- Zagreb, Croatia
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The results of the so-called “rearrangement” operations in the centre of Bucharest was as follows: 5.86 km2 of the historic centre of the city were demolished; 1.66 km2 remained waste ground overgrown with weeds; approximately 20,000 properties were destroyed; over 60,000 families were forced to move; 19 streets were blocked or ceased to exist. The following Orthodox churches were demolished: Enei, Albă Postăvari, Old Spirea, Well of Healing, St. Nicholas Sârbi, Gherghiceni, St. Nicholas Jitniță, Lady Oltea, St. Vineri Hereasca, Olteni, Old St. Spiridon Vechi, Holy Trinity Dudești, and Bradului (Bradu Staicu). The following monasteries were wholly or partially demolished: Cotroceni, Nuns’ Hermitage, Mihai Vodă, Văcărești, Antim, and St. Pantelimon. The following synagogues were demolished: Aizic Ilie, Rezith Doadh, and Malbim. Other historic buildings were also demolished: the Brâncoveanu Hospital, the great covered market in Unification Square, the Mina Minovici Institute of Forensic Medicine, the Yellow Inn, the Republic Stadium, and the Military Museum. Eight churches were translated from their original sites and hidden among apartment blocks: St. John Moși, Schitul Maicilor, Olari, St. Ilie Rahova, Mihai Vodă, St. John Piață, New St. George Capra, Stork’s Nest; so was the synodal building of the Antim Monastery. “The great merit for the translation, and thus saving from demolition, of these monuments is due to the engineer Eugen Iordăchescu of the Project Bucharest Institute,” says Andrei Pandele. This operation of saving cultural heritage that had been destined for destruction indeed called for professionalism on the part of those who conceived it, but also the courage to propose a compromise solution that would have a chance of being accepted by Nicolae Ceaușescu, who was personally supervising the construction of the House of the People.
The image captured by Andrei Pandele illustrates the translation of the church of the Mihai Vodă Monastery, an emblem of pre-modern Bucharest, originally situated on the hill where the Palace of the Parliament – built during the Ceauşescu regime under the name of the House of the People – now stands. The monastery buildings, which surrounded the church and were completely demolished to make way for the House of the People, were the first location of the State Archives after the founding of the modern Romanian state in the nineteenth century. The monastery was founded in 1594 by Michael the Brave, an extremely important figure in the national past, as he is considered the first to have unified, for a short time in 1600–1601, the territories that now make up Romania. In spite of the fact that during the Ceauşescu regime Michael the Brave became even more important in national history than he had been before, the monastery fell prey to the so-called “urban systematisation” programme promoted by the regime. The monastery church was saved from demolition by the operation of translating it, which in this case was one of the most laborious actions of this kind as it required it not only to be slid along a distance of 289 metres, but also lowered by 6.2 metres. Andrei Pandele’s photograph shows the Mihai Vodă church still on the rails used for the translation, already at the foot of the hill, close to its present position, although it is now hidden behind apartment blocks taller than it, which were built after this image was immortalised.