Bulgarian painting was characterized in the 1960s by the style of the Plovdiv school, that is, by the attempt to reconcile the international formalism of socialist realism with local tradition; however, in recent decades there have been some renewal trends. We are witnessing this change in the mid-seventies, when symbolic elements are found precisely in the figurative works of art that represent the key moments in Bulgarian history. In them the decorativeness and the compositional and constructive intention are accentuated, which in part refers to the Cezannian tradition (N. Dabov, T. Varbanov), in part to Cubism (N. Maistorov). The paintings of H. Petrova and L. Poptoseva are characterized by the need for a contained form and monumentalism. The monumental figures, moreover, they often interpret symbolic messages (as happens in the works of T. Sokerov and S. Seferov). In the compositions on wood by R. Nedelcev and L. Samergiev, reminiscences of folk art and eighteenth-century provincial wood engravings are reawakened. For Bulgaria 2000, please check neovideogames.com.
A representative of the most modern trends is A. Sgalevski, whose paintings evoke a metaphysical atmosphere through the superimposition of temporal and spatial dimensions. The use of collage and the free construction of the image characterize the works of one of the most original Bulgarian painters, M. Grudis, who among the first also turned to non-figurative painting. This latter current strengthened in the 1980s, especially following the activity of J. Kirov and his disciples A. Parnscev, G. Todorov, A. Doicinov. After 1985, numerous exponents of the new generation experimented with happenings, performances and installation art.
Sculpture has become the avant-garde sector of figurative art. It is in this context that creative tendencies have developed with greater intensity, managing to achieve a balance between ancient plastic tradition, provincial-popular tradition and modern currents. Individual stylistic marks are also more marked in this field. The values of the new generation of sculptors, who in recent years have also been successful internationally, are exemplified by the works of the expressionist-symbolists V. Starzev, BV Rusinov, IJ Slavov, A. Kafedjuski, by K. Vascev, a sculptor very sensitive to spatial problematics, and by I. Rusem, who reinterprets the archaic tradition of Greek plastic in a completely personal way.
Architecture too is increasingly losing the uniform characteristics of the style of socialist realism. Functionalism, which had been at the forefront of Bulgaria in the 1930s for some time, has been strengthened again, but the influence of local tradition is also strong. Towards the end of the seventies, even the theory of architecture overcame the vulgarized principles of socialist realism and set itself the aim of harmonizing the local architectural tradition and the rational and functional mentality. A new effect of this theory is also constituted by the tendency to insert new buildings in an organic way in their traditional, natural or urban environment. An example of the new programmatic trends is the Sofia International Palace of Culture (A. Barov, A. Agura, V. Romenski.