Aleksandar Dyakov is the son of Tsvetan Dyakov, a graduate and doctor of the University of Brussels; he was sentenced by the so-called People's Court and his family was interned. At the early age of thirteen, Aleksandar Dyakov started going into training for boxing at the Slaviya Sports Centre. He was getting on very fast and for several years was a national champion. In 1958, Dyakov graduated in sculpture from the "N. Pavlovich" Higher Institute of Fine Arts, in the class of Mihail Kats. In 1962, he was awarded the first prize at the National Youth Exhibition for the work "Upright Figure (The Little Mason)". The trail of many of his works vanishes and there are many unrealized projects. Aleksandar Dyakov also worked as a painter-producer in a series of movies. In 1978, he played the leading part of a sculptor in the movie "With Love and Tenderness" (directed by Rangel Valchanov, script by Valeri Petrov).
The works of A. Dyakov loaded with powerful messages. In the exhibition "Forms of Resistance", Krasimir Iliev shows two of Dyakov's sculptures – "Spirit and Matter" (1965) and "Corrosion" (1976).
In 1965, while discussing "Spirit and Matter", the opinions of the jury were contradictory and the circumstances demanded to postpone the decision whether to accept the work for the exhibition of the Sofia painters. The idea of the sculptor is as follows: "The spirit is stronger than matter but not because it's almighty. It is capable of overcoming even a monstrous mutilation of the body through the gentle power of beauty which gushes out of its divine nature". After some passionate discussions, "Spirit and Matter" was allowed to participate in the exhibition but by a different name – "War".
In the next years, Aleksandar Dyakov made bold statements in front of high functionaries of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP): he openly criticized the fact that the country was congested with monuments to hate and violence, with monuments to Bulgarians killed by Bulgarians and to Bulgarians killing Bulgarians; he stressed the fact that this sowed black seed in the souls of people and that their children and grandchildren would gather in a black harvest. The author expressed the same ideas by the sculpture "Corrosion" (1976), showing that the heroic ideals were destructed.
After 1989, Aleksandar Dyakov made the exhibition "20th Century Projects". Among his projects was the one for transformation of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia (Krida Art Gallery, 2001). His retrospective exhibition at Rayko Aleksiev Gallery (2012) consisted only of photographs. There is no monograph dedicated to his work.
- Sofia City Art Gallery
- Charakteringas eksponatas:
Ziyatin Nuriev was born in the village of Most, municipality of Kardzhali (1955). He graduated from the High School of Arts in Kazanlak and then studied painting at the National Academy of Arts in Sofia. During his second year at the Academy, he changed his speciality to sculpture in the class of Prof. Iliya Iliev. Nuriev graduated from the Academy in 1982.
Initially, Ziyatin Nuriev worked with basalt, one of the hardest materials. His favourite themes are the figure and the portrait. He took the human figure to abstract form using various materials – marble, bronze, wood, ceramics. Even his first participations in national exhibitions were noticed – in 1985, in the National Youth Exhibition, he won the prize of the Union of Bulgarian Painters and two years later, he received the annual prize in sculpture of the Union of Bulgarian Painters. Some of his works were bought by the National Art Gallery, the Sofia City Art Gallery and other leading galleries in the country.
During the so-called Revival Process (an attempt of the Bulgarian Communist Party to forcibly assimilate the Muslim population – Turks, Pomaks, Tatars, Roma), the name of Ziyatin Nuriev was changed to Zlatin Norev. The Revival Process began in the early 1970s and continued until the end of state socialism. The measures for the implementation of this policy included forced change of the Arabic-Turkish names with Bulgarian, restrictions in the use of the mother tongue by representatives of the above-mentioned groups, forced restraint of their traditional customs and rituals and of the use of their religion. The assimilation policy of the socialist authorities provoked a wave of resistance which played a significant role in the development of open civil opposition to the communist regime.
Until 1990, Ziyatin Nuriev worked in Bulgaria but afterwords he moved to Istanbul.
When often asked if he feels distressed about Bulgaria because of the "Revival Process" and the change of names, Ziyatin Nuriev answers: "I was distressed about the country not as people but, let's say, as government. How could I be distressed and offended by my friends, acquaintances, neighbours? It wasn't their fault. They were even more surprised and frightened than us. Because we were in a way prepared in advance. Something was telling us it was going to happen. I remember many people, colleagues and friends, who literally broke into tears. But these are other things – ethnical affiliation, this and that; that's not a problem for me. This is a wholly different story. If you ask me if I'm offended or distressed about Bulgaria – no, absolutely not. Because Bulgaria is my home. I'm glad that I was not alone at the exhibition last night. [...] I'm not a patriot, neither Bulgarian nor Turkish." (Dzhambazov 2016)
"The changes in Bulgaria in the 1990s enabled my departure for the megalopolis [Istanbul – A.K.]. But it wasn't planned. I didn't want to leave my own country. Remember the insanity of 1989 when many people were expelled or forced to leave the homeland. Not that I didn't want to see the world and live in it but I didn't want it to happen that way. That's why I arrived in Istanbul as an ordinary tourist, not an exile (1990). It was summertime and with a friend of mine went to see the museums. We walked along the İstiklal Avenue and then entered the trade centre for textiles and fashion. We were filled right away with a sense of luxury and glitter, felt the smell of incredible scents. I introduced myself to the manager and showed her my brochure. It turned out that we were at "Vakko", chain stores with galleries located in the biggest Turkish cities – Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir... My first exhibition in Turkey was at Vakko in Ankara in 1991. The same year, I was offered a lecturer's position at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Marmara University. For 16 years now, I lead there the workshop on stone-cutting which I actually founded. [...]
Do you remember the Revival Process?
- We all have to remember it so that we won't repeat the same savagery. But I must also forget about it because of the relations with my friends, fellow-citizens, compatriots" (Cesur 2006).
Ziyatin Nuriev participated in international symposia and exhibitions in Poland, Turkey, Japan, the Canary Islands and others. He never broke his connection with Bulgaria; he had exhibitions in Burgas (Prolet Gallery, 2006??), Varna (Gallery 8, 2014), Plovdiv (Resonance Gallery, 2015), Kardzhali and Sofia (2016). His sculptures can be seen in many Bulgarian towns and cities.
The sculpture "Window" was created in 1985, the year when the campaign for a large-scale change of the Arabic-Turkish names with Bulgarian was at its height; all administrative structures, the repressive apparatus and the state organizations of the totalitarian regime were engaged; in only two months, the names of over 800 000 people were changed. The assimilation policy of the socialist authorities provoked a wave of resistance which played a significant role in the development of open civil opposition to the communist regime.
Although the author says that they are not directly related to the "Revival Process", the works of Ziyatin Nuriev express his protest. Despite the similarity in material and technique between "Window" and his earlier works ("Dream", 1982; "White Light", 1983; "Head", 1984), the difference in the message of the sculpture is considerable: "The wound of unbearable violence is engraved in this sculpture; a wound on the person's morals, on the family, the society. The window of Ziyatin Nuriev gives us the possibility and the impossibility to touch what we won't ever experience. The possibility – because he has brought out to the surface the iceberg of pain; the impossibility – because he has locked up all external expressions of pain.
The eyes are missing.
The lips are missing.
In the place of the eyes, from the meandering edge of the eyelid line, depending on the light, the shadows casted could call the look of sorrow from which a sigh slips out whispering.
In the place of the lips, on the border where the two halves of the face meet, the concealed lamentation passes over, the red vertical line of the silence.
Ziyatin chooses for the first and may be for the last time the bust, the most used pattern for heroization of the character. He deprives his character of individual characteristics but presents him with plastic uniqueness – he takes from the crown, prolongs the scull, flattens the body, marks the nose and cuts the volumes by sharp edges. He includes the clasped hands which emphasize the geometry of the forms as well as the delicacy of the details. At first, the sculpture looks deceivably fragile but it has the mighty hardness of the basalt. The differences in the texture of the basalt cause differences in the shades of grey. This is particularly visible in the place of the eyes; the tangle of dark and light spots begins from the area of the eyes, runs through the temples and reaches the back of the head. The grief is transformed into enlightenment. The shades of grey are not enough and Ziyatin uses brick-red to wound particular edges or places of the head and the body.
The window is blocked up for those who observe and open for those who can sympathize." (Iliev 2011: 34-35)
- Sofia City Art Gallery
- Charakteringas eksponatas:
Alongside individual and state surveillance documents, protocols of tapped telephone conversations provide unique source material. These are in part extremely accurate recordings of telephone conversations between members of the East German opposition stretching back to the 1950s. Only summarized protocols of the conversations exist. A selection of the tapped telephone protocols from the 1980s focusing in particular on East Berlin regime opponents was released (“Get to the point!”) by two members of the Research Department of the BStU, Ilko-Sacha Kowalczuk and Arno Polzin.
Secret report of the Hungarian State Security Service, 16 October 1985
The state security services of communist Hungary began to follow the preparations underway for the Counter-Forum Budapest 18 months earlier, i.e. as early as March 1984, by gathering regular information and agent reports on the informal meetings of IHF representatives and some Hungarian dissident intellectuals in Budapest. By the opening of the official CSCE Cultural Forum in mid-October 1985, the entire staff of the Hungarian secret police had been mobilized with the main task of preventing any potential conflict or open scandal before, after, or during the six-week-long prestigious East-West diplomatic conference, as a “top secret” daily information report dated 16 October 1985 (just one day after the grand opening of the CSCE Conference) clearly proves. It seems to be a telling sign of flurry and an excess of caution or paranoia that on that day this was the second report submitted by the secret service on the same subject: reporting on all suspicious signs and information concerning the efforts of the IHF to find public places: restaurants, conference rooms in downtown Budapest for the use of the Counter Forum. This brief report, which contained both false and misleading information, also illustrates the incompetence of the Hungarian secret police, as they do not seem to have been aware of the latest news, according to which the Counter-Forum had been refused permission to hold its session in a public place a day before and so was hosted by Hungarian dissident poet István Eörsi and film director András Jeles, who offered their private residences for the sessions.Gyula Horn, Head of Department of Foreign Affairs in the Communist Party’s Central Committee and Hungarian Prime from 1994 to 1998, was responsible for conducting and ensuring the smooth operations of the CSCE Conference in Budapest. He must have known about the parallel preparations of the IHF’s Counter Forum, and he might also have had a decisive role in the official refusal of the IHF demand for public space, which was issued in written form by the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Years later, after 1990, when he was asked about this by reporters, he replied with an obscure allusion to the fact that there were far too many high-ranking Soviet and Eastern Bloc delegates who expected Hungary, the host country, to adopt firm measures in order to resist “the pressure of Western countries.”
- Budapest, Hungary
- Charakteringas eksponatas:
From the demonstrations of 1953 until December 1989, the Central Evaluation and Information Group (ZAIG) as well as its predecessors in the Ministry for State Security created secret situational reports for the Party and State leadership of the GDR. These reports detailed the public mood, reactions to individual events and conflicts between presumed or real societal opposition, most often only trivial matters relating to the very real difficulties in establishing Socialism in the country, but also affairs which were regarded by the secret police as relevant. The reports of the ZAIG appear sporadically, and for reasons which continue to remain unknown, are addressed directly to individual ministers. Since 2009, employees of the Federal Commissioner for the Documents of the State Security Service publish an edited digital and physical volume of the reports on a yearly basis under the heading “The GDR in Review”.