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Nothing is done for the representation of Bulgarian artists abroad

02 August 2013 / 19:08:59  GRReporter
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We would like to bring to your attention an interview with owner of the "Punto Art Bazaar" gallery, Peter Arbov.

The gallery is located in Sofia, at 2 Yuriy Venelin Street. As a result of our cooperation, you will soon be able to find works by Bulgarian artists in our online shop.

Who is Peter Arbov and where does this love of art come from?

Who am I? Let’s begin from my early childhood. My father is a painter named George Arbov. He helped a lot in terms of establishing my taste. Very few people have a taste for beautiful and aesthetic things today. When I was in the ninth grade, I took up art, without being taught. My father influenced me a lot, he used to show me things from everyday life in a different light - things which I had not noticed myself until then. Then, when I grew up, I started seeing things from another point of view. I started from the park in front of the famous Sofia restaurant "Crystal". At the time, things were happening there. Artists went there and sold their works. It was in 1987. I was a schoolboy. I used to go to my father and create things which we then used to sell in the park. When you see that people like your works, you go back there. This motivates you. Nowadays it is very difficult to go out and like things because the market is full of absolutely everything. But back then, a lot of people did quite well.

Then the "transition" from the communist regime to democracy came and everything was quite different. That thing at "Crystal" continued. I continued working in this direction because there were prospects for the future. Then I started working with precious materials and stones - diamonds, gold, silver, etc. Afterwards, I returned to the initial materials again, because these materials are accompanied by other… I don’t know how to express it, by other people, other contacts. When you see that the situation is tense, you prefer to go back and see from where you’ve started. The material alone determines the price. I prefer working with more natural materials, because you feel calmer in a purely mental aspect. Everything else is a matter of customers’ choice. Even today, I have clients who say, "We want this made of gold. We want this made of silver" and there are no problems. The work is the same.

Music is everything to me. I'm a music lover. I listen to all kinds of music. You can find something interesting in every kind of music. Some people deny entirely the so called “chalga”, or modern Bulgarian pop-folk, but it is a matter of situation and where you are. You cannot say: "I don’t like this". It is still music. It was invented, somebody created it and it is now played. “Chalga” music and “chalga” culture are different things, though. I cannot do without music. This is what inspires me in everything.

Why a gallery? What challenges does your occupation with art imply?

The gallery has existed for 2 years, but we have been here at this street for 7 years. Otherwise, the whole idea came some 8-9 years ago. We have built everything slowly and gradually over time, because a person has no chance for a sudden growth. We are not magicians. We are here, on this street, we can call it our street – we were located a bit further down the same street before. I have been here since I was 14. First, my studio was here, and then a shop popped up. I think the spot is very interesting and it's absolutely different from everything that's around you.

We organise exhibitions. From the very beginning, we have hosted more than 25-30 exhibitions of individual artists. We try to offer different things. We constantly look for new people, active young people who do something different and raise interest. For example, we organised an exhibition some time ago called "Amulets and talismans." It turned out that everyone likes this topic. Hope, faith - people need to believe in something. It enjoyed significant interest.

There are people who visit the gallery just because they want to see what it offers. Hopefully, better times will come. Challenges are great, because art is the last thing that the majority of people pay attention to. The second floor of the gallery is all about delight, there are only paintings there. The first floor is for our material support - handmade jewellery, pottery, beads and materials for making jewellery. There must be some balance. If this thing downstairs wasn’t there, things wouldn't be happening at all.

We have projects for development. We are looking for new markets, because nothing happens here. Nevertheless, we will try to keep the gallery, although we will have to suffer privation. People who have galleries worldwide are successful and conduct this business just for their reputation and prestige. This is not their means of making a living. While here in Bulgaria, the situation is just the opposite. It's all about making a living.

What works of art does the gallery offer? How do you select artists?

All our artists are very different, very easy to understand. We select them randomly. They write to us, we enter into correspondence with them. Friends say: "We have a friend ..." I say, 'OK, let’s organise an exhibition." Most exhibitions have arisen absolutely spontaneously and surprisingly. When things are nice, people like them. Our gallery keeper has made a lot of contacts over time and that is priceless. A lot of people know us and things happen in this way. We are not in a hurry, this is the most important thing. We won’t get rich. The important thing is to have fun.

Your favourite artist and your favourite work of art?

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