Trousseau for Mars

27/06/2024 - 8/09/2024

Opening on Thursday, 27 June, at 6 p.m.
Concert of Yoan Kukuzel – the Angel-voiced Chamber ensemble, at 7 p. m.

Curator: Snejana Krasteva

The large-scale installation, ‘Trousseau’, is at the centre of artist Iv Toshain’s solo exhibition at the National Gallery. It was shown in the Rocca Paolina papal fortress in Perugia (Italy) earlier this year and will be displayed for the first time in Bulgaria—in Gallery 19 of Kvadrat 500, where an ancient tomb from the 4th century is housed. The title, ‘Trousseau for Mars’, where Mars is the God of War, reflects the Neoplatonic idea of conquering war through faith and love.

The 5 x 4 metre work resembles a carpet ‘woven’ from 2,000 pieces of steel shaken. A few dozen are erected, like ‘soldiers’, perpendicularly to the other rows. United in a stylised and gleaming composition, the thousands of ninja stars look enticing and aesthetic from afar. From close-by, however, hand-sharpened blades are outlined: cutting knives reminiscent of crosses. The installation combines elements opposite in meaning—cold steel, traditionally associated with war and violence, and the cross as a symbol of faith. The artwork, with each star made entirely by hand, is a symbolic gift from the artist to Mars, the God of War, drawing attention to the raging armed conflicts around the world.

The exhibition includes two earlier videos depicting military parades: ‘Opposition’ (2012), and ‘Refugees’ (2018). Through them, it is possible to trace the issues that occupy Iv Toshain in a considerable proportion of her works.

The suggestive impact of the installation will be enhanced at the opening of the exhibition with a concert by the Yoan Kukuzel – the Angel-voiced Chamber ensemble, which will perform Byzantine compositions and Eastern Orthodox troparia as symbols of peace.

Media partner: BTA / Bulgarian News Agency.