• NBU, Oleg Gochev Mosaic

Oleg Gochev, Stanimir Bozhilov and collective, Spirit and Matter, mobile monumental installation

New Bulgarian University, Building 2

16 double-sided modular panels, dimensions: 71 х 71 cm each, mixed media – smalt mosaic and stained glass, 18 sq. m total area, 2014

The mobile wall panel Spirit and Matter comprises 16 double-sided modular panels by 16 artists, executed in mixed media – smalt mosaic and stained glass. Arranged on a 3 x 3 m photodiode-lit wall grid, the panel can be repeatedly rearranged by viewers. The artist collective included: Prof. Oleg Gochev – project concept; Stanimir Bozhilov – implementation leader; Alexandra Kotseva, Ana Baleva, Gabriela Petkova, Diyana Todorova, Zheni Stateva, Petya Ivanova, Rumen Kozhuharov, Stanislava Mitova, Stefan Velev, Stefan Gotov, and Tsvetoslava Kunova – students at the New Bulgarian University; Velina Staleva, Vessela Petrova, Daniel Ivanov, and Nevena Lefterova – students at the St. St. Cyril and Methodius Veliko Turnovo University.

As the title suggests, Spirit and Matter is a materialization of the encounter between spirit and matter, of the sensual and the rational, interpreted through a multitude of techniques, sensations, spatial interactions and authorial identities. Stained glass stands for lightness, the emotional and the immaterial, while mosaic is a symbol of matter – of sensual and physical presence. Viewers can change both the appearance of each panel (each has two sides) and its position – and thus its relations with the surrounding panels. In this way, they can take part in determining the work’s relative status quo, while interpreting the opposition spirit vs. matter in their own way. Combining the collective energy of 16 artists and the viewers, the work is constantly shifting in time and space.

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Oleg Gochev

Oleg Gochev
photo: personal archive

Oleg Gochev was born in 1954 in Sofia, Bulgaria. In 1982, he graduated from the mural painting program at the National Academy of Art in Sofia, then called the High institute for fine arts “Nikolai Pavlovich.” From 1981 to 1984, he taught drawing, painting, and composition at the National Academy of Arts “Iliya Petrov” and in 1983 began working in the Department of Mural Painting at the National Academy of Art. He became an associate professor in the department in 1995 and in 2002 was appointed as a full professor of mural painting.

Gochev has an extensive list of specialized trainings, which include those he underwent in Paris (1998 and 2001), Mexico (2001), Japan (2001), Kenya (2004), Hungary (2005), Spain (2007), India (2007), an Greece (2008).

Gochev’s artistic work encompasses canvas painting, drawing, mural painting, mosaic, and stained glasswork. He has created mobile mural painting innovations and participated in numerous, collective international mural projects. He has completed 40 monumental art installations, including works in Sofia at the Technical University, Ministry of Defense Building 2, New Bulgarian University, Medical Academy, and National Palace of Culture; at the Regional Hospital in Levski; at the Center for Art Education “Frida Kahlo” in Mexico; at the University of Bradford in Pennsylvania, USA; and in public spaces in San Francisco, California, USA.

He has delivered lectures and presentations on issues related to mural art in both Bulgaria and abroad. He has also held 22 solo exhibitions, 11 of which were in foreign countries, and participated in over 37 group international art exhibitions and forums in cities such as Toronto, Moscow, Pyongyang, Barcelona, Basel, London, Paris, Vienna, Bern, Belgrade, Zadar, and Mexico.

Gochev’s work has earned him many prestigious awards and honors. These include a Special Award and an honorary diploma from:

  • the Rector of the Technical University for his mural paintings there in 1983;
  • an honorary plaque and congratulatory address from Sang Ho Shin, Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at Hong-Ik University, Seoul, in 2000;
  • a nomination for the Sofia Award for outstanding achievements in the field of culture – visual arts for the mural “Freedom, Love” in 2007;
  • an award from The Union of Bulgarian Artists for participation in the First Biennial of Church Arts in Veliko Tarnovo in 2009;
  • an award from the President of the University of Pittsburgh in Bradford, Dr. Livingston Alexander, for the mural “Man and Science” in 2011;
  • and the “Old Capital Charter for Contribution to Bulgarian Culture, Pedagogical, and Artistic Activity in Fine Arts” from the Mayor of Veliko Tarnovo on the occasion of the May Cultural Holidays in 2012.
Stanimir Bozhilov

Stanimir Bozhilov
photo: personal archive

Stanimir Bozhilov was born in 1968 in Sofia, Bulgaria. After graduating from the National School of Fine Arts in Sofia, in 1997 he earned his degree in “Mural Painting” from the National Academy of Art under the guidance of Professor Dimo Zaimov. Since 2001 he has been a member of The Union of Bulgarian Artists (UBA), specifically in the “Monumental Arts” category.

His artistic work spans a wide range of disciplines, including secular and religious mural painting, iconography, stained glass, mosaic, easel painting, drawing, spatial design, cinema, and advertising design. From 2004 to 2010 he taught mural painting in the “Iconography” and “Mural Painting” specialties at Veliko Tarnovo University. He has been teaching drawing, painting, and wall art at New Bulgarian University since 2007.

In recent years, Stanimir Bozhilov has been involved in several collaborative creative projects, including “Love and Hate,” “My World under the Rainbow,” “Realization of Decor and Costume,” “Spirit and Matter,” “Masks,” and “NBU in the National Palace of Culture.” Other projects of his have featured the work of accomplished students and professors from NBU and other universities in Bulgaria, Italy, France, and the USA.