Teodor Furtunov. The head

Nenko Balkanski House Museum

28.2.2023 — 28.5.2023

Albena Dimitrova
Graphic designer
Georgi Sharov
Tsvetan Ignatovski
Traci Speed
Zlatko Kolev
Technical assistant
Tsvetelin Ivanov
Print materials

About the exhibition

The definition of the word “head” in the Cambridge Dictionary contains 45 meanings. It’s a noun, an adjective, a verb. The head is the highest, the first, the most mysterious, creative, or destructive. The head wears the crown and the burqa, the halo and the mask. From the act of blessing to the act of final atonement, it is the object that carries out rituals, both sacred and secular. It is at the forefront of Heaven, of the State, of the Family, or the missile compartment of a submarine. In art, it reflects our own human experience of the relationship between “Who I am” and “What I believe.” And in children’s drawings, where the body is simply a collection of shapes and “sticks,” the head, even in the most inept attempts, is larger, frontal, with wide open eyes and mouth, and with an expression that says: “This is me.” The head is a metaphor that engages us to know more so that we can understand. Because of its terminological totality, it is frightening and inexhaustible. It is the enclosed space whose contents are the face of human history.

The head always remains distant, but reactive to thoughts and motives. Anonymous itself, it is hidden by the mask of the face – the insignia that is always at hand. It is the great victim in art. From fearful totemism to cheerful caricature, this mask is its most revealing object because it concretizes our human identity. This is why the face is often portrayed not only as an idealized non-portrait, but is also deformed, exaggerated, and theatricalized. It is often more grotesque than comic in order to present the loss of the social face through brutally honest language. A bearer of an expression that is the result of skill and cultural experience, forever at odds with the instinctive grimace, the face is a kind of dictionary of the community. The face makes another type of archeology possible, that of ideas.

Teodor Furtunov’s exhibition is called The Head. Works in oil, watercolor faces, drawings and digital cartoons are the fruit of a spontaneous reaction to the unseen that is behind the artist’s idea of an authentic face – and also as a precise search for that which is characteristic, funny, and disturbing in the world as it is today, shaken by the decisions of a few “heads” posing in front of the red circle of a danger light. If the head is the face of human history, then this is an exhibition that attempts to show the human face of history.

About the author

Teodor Furtunov was born in 1978 in Kazanlak. He graduated from the Academician Dechko Uzunov High School of Arts and Design, class of 1997. In 2003, he graduated from Veliko Tarnovo University with a major in Painting. He is the winner of two Chudomir Awards for caricature. He won first place for a cartoon from the Technical University of Berlin, organized by Mark Zuckerberg. He has three solo exhibitions behind him and has participated in numerous competitions and group exhibitions. For the last decade he has been working in the field of digital cartooning, illustration, and caricature. He is an illustrator at some of the largest fintech events in the US and Europe. He has been a member of the Union of Bulgarian Artists since 2012.