Doncho Donchev was born in 1974 in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. He graduated from the National High School of Applied Arts in Tryavna, and then studied painting at the “St. Cyril and Methodius” University of Veliko Tarnovo. Subsequently he specialized in animation at the Nu Boyana Film Studios. He is an artist of diverse talents who is not satisfied with adhering to one particular style, but is in a state of constant and dynamic searching. Donchev likes to work with a variety of materials and techniques: he paints in front of an audience, he illustrates, paints, sculpts, and undertakes interactive projects.
In 2007, he illustrated a graphic novel entitled “Fatemate” and a book of poetry entitled “Reincarnation of the Satyr” published in Istanbul with a text by Kerim Sakizli. He has worked with the same author on a series of short stories for the “Heavy Metal” magazine (2011). Donchev painted on stage in the musical performance of “Nocturne in Blue”, and performed on various stages and cathedrals in Germany. In 2018 he performed in Bueckeburg castle.
Certain of his projects are thematic and inspired by science, such as “Particle Metamorphoses” and “Timeline of the Universe”, both presented at CERN in 2016 and 2018. The “Timeline of the Universe” is an audiovisual project presented as part of Art at CMS programme in Cern and has been shown in a number of locations around the world.
Another area which Doncho Donchev likes to study is connected to the wisdom and wealth of ancient thought. His 2014 project “Logos-Mithos” was exhibited in Bern and Zurich (Petra Lossen Fine Art) and in 2015 in Vaduz in the Liechtenstein National Museum.
He has held a large number of exhibitions in Bulgaria and Europe. One which enjoyed probably the greatest public response was his satirical collection entitled “21st Century” (Sofia, Central Military Club, 2018). Doncho Donchev showed the contrasts of our time, depicting some of the most prominent politicians on the world stage in the form of playing cards.
He participated in EXPO Milano 2015 with his work entitled “Riflessioni” in front of the “Corriere della Sera” pavilion, and at EXPO Astana 2017 where he created a large-scale panneau entitled “Human Energy”. This was later to become the property of the World EXPO Museum in Shanghai. These two events were organised by Armino Sciolli, curator and director of the “Leonardo da Vinci Art Gallery“ in Locarno.
Doncho Donchev is frequently to be seen in the many events that form part of the cultural programme in Rivellino, Locarno, as well as in the Canton of Ticino. Donchev began work in this part of Switzerland in 2015 with a programme of performances, exhibitions and participation in joint projects. In May 2019, to mark 500 years of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, Doncho Donchev painted in front of an audience in Rivellino, recreating “Salvator Mundi”, one of the most interesting and most enigmatic of all paintings. This work, besides being one of the most valuable, is also highly controversial. The artist provokes the viewer, turning the image both ways around, thus creating a playing card. His performance was filmed and broadcast by Swiss National Television (RSI). At the same time, as part of the Leonardo 500 exhibition he presented a project entitled “Codex Metamorphoses”. The work is part of a longer series by Donchev interpreting the Metamorphoses of Ovid and the modernist Kafka. In December 2019, during an exhibition at the Leonardo Da Vinci Art Gallery in honour of Da Vinci’s work, Donchev performed a series of live portraits. Earlier performance painting by Donchev as part of cultural events in Rivellino and the Locarno Film Festival have included portraits of Marco Solari, Peter Greenaway, Alain Berset, Dalia Grybauskaitė and others.
Locarno – Leonardo Da Vinci Art Gallery – (Leonardo 500, Codex Metamorphoses)
CERN, Geneva – (Timeline of The Universe) – 2018
CERN, Geneva – (Particle Metamorphoses) - 2016
Sofia Science Festival – (Timeline of The Universe) – 2018
Sofia – Central Military Club – (21st Century) - 2018
Astana – Expo Astana, ( Human Energy) – 2017, curator Arminio Sciolli
Milan – Expo 2015, (“Riflessioni”) pavilion „Corriere della Sera“ curator Arminio Sciolli
Vienna - Viva Art Gallery (“Graphic Stage”) - 2016
Sofia – Bulgaria hall, Sofia philharmonic (“Metamorphoses”) - 2015
Vaduz - Liechtenstein National Museum - 2015
Zurich - Petra Lossen Gallery - 2014
Sofia - Arena di Serdica (Playing Cards) - 2013
Istanbul - Gallery Ziraat Bank - 2011
Izmir - Gallery „Akademist“ (The Reincarnation of the Satir) - 2007
Performances and participations
Buckeburg – Buckeburg castle, (Nocturne in Blue) – 2018
Locarno – Leonardo Da Vinci Art Gallery, ( 10 Jours En Lituanie) – 2018
Maastricht - CHICHO foundation (“Playing Cards”) – 2016
Barcelona - Hartexpo ( Espacio 120) - 2016; Art Nou Millenni Gallery - 2016
Locarno – Leonardo Da Vinci Art Gallery, Arte in dirreta, (“Riflessioni”) – 2016 ; submitted: Expo Milano 2015, pavilion newspaper „Corriere della Sera“ curator Arminio Sciolli
Minden - Marienkirche – (Nocturne in Blue) - 2015
Balchik - Balchik Palace - The Golden Project (Seventh Sense) - 2015
Minden, Germany – Fort A, The Golden Project - 2015
Sofia - Bulgaria hall, Sofia philharmonic (Metamorphoses) – 2015
Plovdiv - Chamber Scene Plovdiv - The Golden Project (Seventh Sense) - 2015
Varna - Boris Georgiev City Art Gallery - The Golden Project (Seventh Sense) - 2014
Ruse - Dohodno Zdanie - The Golden Project (Seventh Sense) - 2014
Sofia - Sofia Live Club – The Golden Project (Seventh Sense) - 2014
“Nocturne in Blue” – cover and illustrations - 2015
“Seventh Sense”, “The Golden Project”, cover and illustrations - 2014
“Heavy Metal” ( magazine) – text Kerim Sakizli, publishing house “Arkabahce”, Istanbul - 2012
“Fatemate” – graphic novel , text Kerim Sakizli, publishing house “Arkabahce”, Istanbul - 2007
“ Poems in Paintings” – poetry, text Kerim Sakizli, publishing house “Arkabahce”, Istanbul - 2007
“The Reincarnation of the Satir” poetry, text Kerim Sakizli, publishing house “Arkabahce”, Istanbul - 2007