About the Festival

logo - Sofia Underground


Sofia Underground International Performance Art Festival is a contemporary art event, which has gained cult status during the years with its original form. Founded by art critic and activist Ruen Ruenov (1958-2011) in 1997, it first started as a widespread happening with a long-running performance program – a reaction to the social crisis of that time. Ever since, with a few short breaks, this event has developed a prominent sensitivity according public processes and the dynamics of the local art scene. For the past decade Sofia Underground appears with annual releases of the festival event – held in Sofia, Bulgaria, and also other smaller supportive events – part of the Sofia Underground platform, which are variable in their scale and format, and are realized throughout the year at different locations in Bulgaria and abroad.

The concepts of the festival editions during the past years exemplify how the event reflects ongoing processes happening within our social environment – visible also through the artists’ statements of the participants.

The artists presented at the festival are selected each year by the curatorial team, following an announcement of an open call. It is prominent for the festival that each of its editions presents artists both local and international, also both established ones together with debuts and art students.

Partners of Sofia Underground during the years are various local and national cultural institutions (Sofia Municipality, the National Cultural Fund, the Union of the Bulgarian Artists, the State Cultural Institute to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, etc.) and the foreign cultural institutes of different countries based in Bulgaria (among which are Goethe Institut – Sofia, the Polish Institute in Sofia, the French Cultural Institute, the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria), and last but not least The Award for New Bulgarian Art “Gaudenz B. Ruf”.

Main location of the event is the Energy Room of the National Palace of Culture (NDK) – an underground garage/storage hall, with a raw basic industrial atmosphere.

Each year the festival is a fact on the cultural scene through the immense support of lots of friends, adherents and, of course, volunteers.




24 – 29 April 2017


hundred / сто
Created twenty years ago, revived ten years ago, the festival for live art – Sofia Underground in 2017 is focusing on the topic of time. Time as force, as a factor, or as a problem, but mainly as a question of personal, social or artistic matter, and abstraction.

As before, in April 2017 the festival’s program will go from top to bottom in three parts:
– Higher Ground – educational part – a post- theoretic conference focused on contemporary forms of public art. We accept suggestions for lectures, workshops, artist talks, project presentations and all forms of cultural exchange.
– Overground – exhibition part – a selection of contemporary Bulgarian authors from private collections will focus on the alternative forms of consumption and creation and their value for the development of the scene in the country.
– Underground – performance part – traditionally a long run happening around and underneath the National Palace of Culture, but also in public spaces in the city of Sofia, accompanied by a public screening program of video works, documentaries and art films and a party.