Denitsa Dobreva. Abstraction or empathy?

Dechko Uzunov House Museum

11.3.2023 — 4.6.2023

Milen Alagenski
Graphic designer
Georgi Sharov
Lora Sultanova
Traci Speed
Print materials

About the exhibition

Denitsa Dobreva’s exhibition correlates to Wilhelm Worringer’s theory of abstraction and empathy. According to Worringer, empathy is a condition of the artistic will only if it gravitates toward the imitation of the world around us, i.e. toward naturalism, in a higher sense. In 2020, Denitsa Dobreva presented the exhibition A Grain of Sand, the inspiration for which came from the world around us and its physical properties. It is precisely in the reproduction of the organically beautiful life that the feeling of happiness arises. The conclusion Worringer draws is that in the forms of a work of art, it is ourselves we are enjoying, and therefore, aesthetic enjoyment is an objective expression of self-enjoyment. In abstraction, however, we are talking about an object from the external world, taken out of its natural context, essential and unalterable, and in this way reduced to its absolute value. In the process the artist demonstrates now, the glass sculptures are taken out of the context of the first exhibition, set in flat images without the rudiments of perspective, and absolutized into independent objects.

The exhibitions in question are constituent parts of a general project and can be considered illustrations of the general methods of knowledge – analysis and synthesis. Dobreva skilfully used the grain of sand as a metaphor for analysis in her 2020 exhibition, in the sense of dividing the whole into component parts, mentally or in reality, in the process of becoming familiar and accumulating practical experience. Synthesis, on the other hand, is a method of uniting two or more separate elements into a single whole, and as such, it is illustrated in the artist’s current exhibition. The unification takes place on several levels: an overall concept of the image of the sculptures – two-dimensional or three-dimensional – and as a union of the inner and outer feeling of the artist towards the world around.

Denitsa Dobreva’s last two exhibitions are interconnected and illustrate the parallel processes of the drive to empathy and the drive to abstraction through the methods of general knowledge – analysis and synthesis. The present exhibition is positioned about midway between the two drives, asking the question “Abstraction or empathy?” The practical solution of the exhibition alludes to the impossibility of students and artists in the city to be able to work in the field of glasswork, which also gives it a social component.

About the author

Denitsa Dobreva was born in the town of Kazanlak. She graduated from the Academician Dechko Uzunov High School of Arts and Design in 1992 with a major in Industrial Design, and since then, she has been designing and making stained glass windows, mirrors, glass sculptures, and doing spatial and graphic design in her hometown. Also here, in 2008, she presented her first solo exhibition in stained glass. Her creative activity prompted her to enrol in Graphic Design and Visual Communications at Veliko Tarnovo University, from which she graduated in 2015. The following year, she was the second artist to obtain a master’s degree in the new major of Glass Design. Her diploma work was received with interest, which gave her an opportunity to show it again in Kazanlak, under the title A Grain of Sand. The team at the Art Gallery – Kazanlak is pleased to present Denitsa Dobreva’s third solo exhibition here to date, consisting of computer generated images and entitled Abstraction or Empathy?