The contemporary mosaics of Plovdiv

The mosaic is one of the most widely used decorative techniques in Bulgaria between the 1960s and 1990s. This is the time of Mature Socialism, and mosaic art, along with other monumental artistic techniques, served to reinforce the ideology and aesthetics of the socialist state. There are two main artistic principles in the creation of the mosaics that characterize the period – figurative and decorative, both of which are subject to the Socialist Realism that was dominant at the time.

The artists of the so-called “Plovdivska grupa” (Plovdiv Group) had an important role in the development of monumental painting in this period and laid the foundations for it to become a regular practice in Bulgarian artistic life. This group includes the artists of the so-called “April” generation, who stood out in Plovdiv artistic circles for their similar figural – three dimensional explorations and interest in monumental painting. The core of the group was formed by Ioan Leviev, Dimitar Kirov – DiKiro, Hristo Stefanov, Encho Pironkov and Georgi Bozhilov – Slona. They laid the foundations of monumental painting both in its theoretical and practical aspects.

In the same period in Plovdiv, there were a number of active artist from the next generation, who were mostly graduates from the “Decorative and monumental arts” program at the National Academy of Arts. These are artists such as Valchan Petrov, Angel Pachamanov, Dechko Dechev, Dimo Kenov, and Trifon Nedelchev. Those artists who actively created mosaics in the 1970s and 1980s were Ioan Leviev, Dimitar Kirov, Trifon Nedelchev, Valchan Petrov, and Dechko Dechev. The artists Dimo Kenov, Georgi Bozhilov – Slona, and Georgi Boyadjiev each made a few mosaic art works.

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