We are happy to welcome you at the second edition of the International Exlibris Competition Varna, which will be held from 18 August till 28 September in Largo Art Gallery, in the beautiful Bulgarian sea resort Varna. The opening of the exhibition with the selected works will be held at Largo Art Gallery on 18 August 2016, 6:30 PM, when the winners will be announced and the prizes will be given.
After an incredibly successful launch in 2014, when the first edition was attended by 218 artists from 36 countries now we received more than 900 works by 308 artists from 47 countries. The work of the jury was extremely difficult because of the many excellent authors and the high quality of most of the reviewed bookplates. Under the guidance of the Chairman of the jury - the prominent Bulgarian artist Dimo Kolibarov, the committee selected successfully 138 great artists whose 164 works will participate in a representative exhibition.
Besides the First, Second and Third prizes, and Prize for young artist (28 years), Association of Artists - Varna awarded again their prize - a plaque and a certificate. In this edition a Jury Prize has also been awarded, and its winner will receive a bookplate specially created by Dimo Milanov and dedicated to the second edition of the competition.
For the first time organisers introduced a Prize after the name of Edward Penkov. With deep sadness in our hearts we remembered that at the beginning of 2016 this amazing artist, a master of bookplates and World-class Bulgarian artist passed away. Considering his importance as a graphic artist and following a proposal of the Artistic Director of the Competition Mr. Julian Yordanov, the Organising Committee decided to set up a special award for outstanding artistic achievements after the name of Edward Penkov.
The idea was supported by Edward's family which donated one of his works as an embodiment of this edition's award. From this moment on, each edition of the International Exlibris Competition Varna will nominate one artist for the Special Award named after Edward Penkov.
The organisers wish to thank to Varna Municipality for the financial support, through which the wonderful catalog of the Competition became reality. We would like to thank also to Istanbul Exlibris Society, which became our partner for the second time, providing the Third Prize. We gratefully acknowledge for the second time the financial support of Godzilla restaurant chain, a Bulgarian company that since the first day of its existence has been supporting various noble causes.
Both editions of this competition convinced the organisers of its necessity and importance. Bulgarian audience has a strong need of such events to learn new things about printmaking, the work of graphic schools from all over the World, the bookplate as an applied graphic sign, and its life as an object of collecting and trading. Promotion of bookplates and graphic techniques however is necessary not only for the wide public, but also for young artists - students in art schools. This became even more obvious for the organisers after we had to disqualify a large group of Iranian artists - mostly students who had sent their works for participation. Unfortunately, most of them had to be disqualified due to ignorance of the requirements and lack of requisites mandatory for bookplates. This made us sad, but also reminded us that we must keep the tradition settled with the first edition – to popularize the art of Exlibris by presenting the exhibition of selected works in various Bulgarian cities.
Largo Art Gallery presented the first International ExLibris Competition Varna as a traveling exhibition in 2014 and 2015 in six cities in Bulgaria. The exhibition was shown in three Bulgarian national art schools and at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the St. Cyril and St. Methodius University. The exhibition was also on display at Vidima Gallery in Sevlievo, Aspect Gallery in Plovdiv and Seasons Gallery "" in Sofia, as part of the program of the III International Forum on Small Graphic Forms. The second edition of the exhibition will also be presented in several Bulgarian cities - in galleries, schools and universities of arts. The presentation schedule can be found in this catalog.
Once again, I want to thank warmly to all the participants and see you soon in the third edition of the International ExLibris Competition Varna in 2018.
Nelly Valcheva, Executive Director
International Exlibris Competition Varna
Director Largo Art Gallery
Varna, 15 August 2016