Maria Nalbantova


Maria Nalbantova is a visual artist who works in the field of contemporary art, experimenting with various media and techniques such as: drawing, collage, found objects, art book, installation and video. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree (2013) and a master’s degree (2015) from the National Academy of Arts, Bulgaria, Department of Book and Printed Graphics. Nalbantova specialized for one semester in the Erasmus program at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain (2012).

In 2018, Vaska Emanouilova Gallery hosted her first solo exhibition "Weather forecast", curated by Daniela Radeva, part of the platform for contemporary art and young artist named Meeting Point, an ongoing project of Sofia City Art Gallery. Selected recent exhibitions in which she participated are: ReForget Your Past (2019) in Contemporary space, Varna, curated by Nikola Mihov; Good Mirrors Are Not Cheap (2019) at Goethe-Institut Bulgaria curated by Kiara Cartucia; The Goods of Time (2019) at Goethe-Institut Bulgaria curated by Anastasya Skvortsova; Interconnection: On Bodies of Water (2019) at Swimming Pool Gallery, Sofia curated by Veronika Čechová and Tereza Jindrová; Art Start: Young artists to follow in 2017 at Credo Bonum Gallery, Sofia; Black Bears for White Days / White Bears for Black Days (2016) within the framework of the festival One Design Week curated by Studio Komplekt, Plovdiv, Bulgaria; 15 minutes of fame (2016) a format for presenting young artists at Sariev Gallery in collaboration with Open Arts Foundation.

In 2019 Maria Nalbantova was selected for the scholarship of the Cultural Perspectives Foundation in category visual arts. She has been nominated for the BAZA/Young Visual Artist Award for emerging visual artists in Bulgaria twice (in 2019 and in 2020) and became its winner in 2020. At the beginning of the 2020 she was selected by the Sariev Gallery in Plovdiv after an open call, to transform the gallery space into her studio for a month, resulting in her solo exhibition hybrid-pure. She won the special young visual artist award of the Stoyan Kambarev Foundation in 2020. The works Isobars and Lightning (2018) are part of the collection of the Sofia City Art Gallery and several of her recent artworks are already in private collections.

In my artistic practice I experiment with different materials and media depending on the topic that I investigate. Of great interest to me is the work with and within a specific space, the dialogue between the works of art and the environment in which they are located. This leads to conflicts and interconnections that open up a possible field for conversation and discussion. A similar example is the exhibition Weather Forecast in 2018, where I explored the topic of time and the ways in which we transform the past and project the future. At the moment I am continuing to develop my artistic language and the theme that holds my attention and inspire my imagination is related to hygiene, but the one beyond the body that inhabits the territories of the human mind. I attempt to construct a sort of speculative reality where nature and the artificial intertwines into a new kind of hybrid nature. Within the space of this hybrid-nature, I explore contemporary issues related to social, political and environmental topics. - Maria Nalbantova

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Open Art Files

2013–2015 Master degree in Illustration class, Department of "Book and Printed Graphics", National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria
2012.14.02.–14.06. Erasmus student at Faculty of Fine Arts, "Universidad de Granada", Granada, Spain
2009–2013 Bachelor degree in "Book and Printed Graphics", National Academy of Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria
2005–2009 National School of Fine Arts "Ilia Petrov", Sofia, Bulgaria

awards & nominations
2020 Winner in 2020 BAZA/Young Visual Artist Award for emerging visual artists in Bulgaria
2020 Special young visual artist award of the Stoyan Kambarev Foundation, BG
2020 Selected artist by the Sariev Gallery in Plovdiv after an open call, to transform the gallery space into a studio for a month.
2019 National Scholarship of the Cultural Perspectives Foundation – finalist, BG
2019 National Award "Hristo G. Danov" for a series of four fairy tale books, new editions with the stories of the famous bulgarian writer and screenwriterValery Petrov, Colibri Publishers, 2018. Maria Nalbantova is an autor of the illustrations for the book "A Button for Dreaming", one of the four books
2019 BAZA Award for Contemporary Art nominees for Young Visual Artist, 23 July - 18 August 2019, Sofia City Art Gallery. Initiative of the Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia, Edmond Demirgian Foundation, Foundation for Culture and Society, New York and Young Visual Artists Awards
2017 Winner of HP Inkspiration Awards, DSCOOP 2017, for printing company Bulged with the book "Black Bears for White Days/White Bears for Black Days", Publishing category
2014 Winner of the competition for illustration and design of Hans C. Anderesen’s newly discovered fairy tale "The Tallow Candle" (discovered in late 2012), University Press St. Kliment Ohridski and Publishing house "Izkustva"
2013 Winner of the award for a diploma project at the National Academy of Arts by Societe Generale Expressbank with her author’s picture book "Book for", department "Book and printed graphics"

Artist in residence & exchanges
2020 “Artist’s studio at SARIEV”, 13 May – 17 June 2020, Sariev Gallery, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
2015 "Own vision own way" – European youth exchange, France
2014 Presentation and workshop of fanzines - "The CAN" residence - Bucharest, Romania
2012 Erasmus student at Faculty of Fine Arts, "Universidad de Granada" - Granada, Spain

solo exhibitions
2020 “hybrid-pure”, the exhibition is a final part of my residency at the Artist’s studio at SARIEV, SARIEV Gallery, Plovdiv, BG 2018 "Weather forecast", Vaska Emanouilova Gallery as part of the platform for contemporary art and young artist, an ongoing project of Sofia City Art Gallery, curator: Daniela Radeva
2016 "Black Bears for White Days / White Bears for Black Days", solo exhibition within the framework of the ONE DESIGN WEEK – International Design and Visual Culture Festival, "pLOVEdiv", Plovdiv, curator: Studio Komplekt

selected group exhibitions
2020 "Where is the sculpture?", Credo Bonum Gallery, curator:Kiril Vasilev. BG 2020 BAZA Award nominee for Young Contemporary Artist exhibition, Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia, BG 2020 “The past. Way of usage“, Nuance Gallery, Sofia, BG 2019 “ReForget Your Past”, Contemporary space, curator: Nikola Mihov, Varna, BG 2019 “Good Mirrors Are Not Cheap”, Goethe-Institut Bulgarien, curator: Chiara Cartuccia 2019 "BAZA Award for Contemporary Art", Sofia City Art Gallery, Sofia, BG
2019 "The Goods of the Time", Goethe-Institut Bulgaria, curator: Anastasya Skvortsova, Sofia, BG
2019 "Interconnection: On Bodies of Water", Swimming Pool Gallery, curators: Veronika Čechová and Tereza Jindrova, Sofia, BG
2019 "Carbon", The Red Dot Depot & Gallery, curator: Slav Nedev, Sofia, BG
2018 "The Gift", annual Christmas shows titled "Museum souvenirs from the non-existing museum of contemporary art", Institute of Contemporary Art-Sofia
2018 "Biennial of Illustration", Sofia City Library
2017 "Onomatopoeia", sixth annual edition, Gavazov atelier, Plovdiv
2017 "ReForget Your Past", Synthesis Gallery, curator: Nikola Mihov
2017 "Sofia Art Book Fair", Cosmos coworking camp, Sofia, Bulgaria, curator: Desislava Pancheva
2017 "In Motion", part of the Prototype – Societe Generale platform, Sofia, curator: Studio Komplekt
2017 "Art Start: Young artists to follow in 2017", Credo Bonum Gallery, Sofia, curator: Vessela Nozharova, Stefka Tsaneva, Daniela Radeva
2016 "15 Minutes of Fame", format for young artists of the SARIEV Contemporary Gallery within the Night / Plovdiv Festival, State Puppet Theater Plovdiv
2016 "TI-RE", exposition for author’s independent books and prints, within Sofia International Book Fair, National Palace of Culture, Sofia
2015 "Hip hip Zine Fair", first edition of the Fair which presents the contemporary independent publishing scene in Bulgaria, Sofia, curator: Desislava Pancheva
2015 "The Houses of Cantal", Meine, France
2015 "Condat-Internat", Conda, France
2015 "DARK LIGHTS: felin amour", exhibition within the 11th edition of "Night of Museums and Galleries", Plovdiv, curator: eXAF
2014 International fanzine fest, Istanbul, Turkey, selection by Askin Yucel Seckin
2014 Collective Exhibition of Author’s Books, Antrakt, Sofia
2014 "Galactic Incubator", Cinema "Cosmos", Plovdiv
2013 "Three Stories+1", part of "NOT FESTIVAL", "+this", Sofia
2013 "Fuck reality, go comics!", Otets Paisiy Festival, Artnewscafe, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, curator: Stefka Tsaneva
2013 "The Art of Handbook from all over the World" at Night of museums and galleries, National History Museum, Sofia
2012 "One Image: Variable Image", Granada, Spain
2012 "Kosher", Molino de Mondujar, Granada, Spain