The National Gallery
Sofia Arsenal – Museum of Contemporary Art


J. Pank

Vernissage on Friday, 7 June, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
SAMCA, 2, Cherni Vrah Blvd., Sofia


Neon colours, alternating contrasts, large compositions transcending the canvas and continuing along the walls, transform the museum into a field, transferring the festive spirit of the opening of the 33rd Summer Olympics, which will be held in Paris from 23 July to 11 August.

Sport is a culture that J. Pank interprets in the artist’s characteristic manner—through quotes from classic works, pop art borrowings, manga and deformations in a spirit of irony. The Olympic flame lights up in the hands of an animated female character who multiplies in various roles as an athlete.

The exhibition hall is transformed into a kind of arena—an Olympic Games venue, where the player is one and the same. Surprisingly, it is a woman with large eyes, lit-up gaze, full juicy lips, a small, comely face—stereotypes constantly imposed by the advertising industry. This comic character frequently appears in J. Pank’s art; however, in the context of the current exhibition, it takes on new meaning regarding the place of women in sports.

There is a view that wrestling, boxing, weightlifting are not suitable for women; if we look at the grassroots sports in Bulgaria, at their participation in marathons, only 10% of those who practice outdoor sports are women.

Against the background of these still prevailing prejudices, the artist has placed at the centre the image of Pierre de Coubertin, co-founder of the contemporary Olympic Games, on whose proposal they were modernised. While Discobolus—symbol of antique male beauty—by the ancient Greek sculptor Myron (mid-5th century BC) acquires a new, feminine face.


For further information:

Nadezhda Dzhakova, PhD
+359 (0) 879 834 030