TRACES IN THE MATERIAL
Antonia Tochka, Albena Dimitrova and Mina-Angela Ignatova

27/10/2020 - 15/01/2021

Vernissage on Tuesday, 27 October, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., observing all anti-epidemic measures and with controlled access.

In 1806, the Denis family founded the textile company, Toiles de Mayenne, in France’s Département of Mayenne. In the 19th century, its activity consisted mainly of spinning and weaving, carried out by about 500 people. The rhythmic movement back and forth of the shuttles in the looms is reminiscent of a song in the rhythm of life, its boundless cyclicity and continuity. Some 214 years later, almost nothing has changed and Mayenne’s looms continue to create iconic interior textiles for homes and public buildings in France and around the world.

Intergenerational continuity and the connection with heritage are the subject of a lengthy and in-depth observation of the Bulgarian and French societies by Albena Dimitrova. In 2018, the writer received a donation of Toiles-de-Mayenne fabrics from the eighth generation of textile entrepreneurs of the Denis family. The idea was to create a fashion collection beyond their primary purpose.

Before overcoming the stiffness of the material, Antonia Tochka familiarised herself in detail with its solid but fixed nature and all its characteristic features and properties. After three experimental years, the designer managed to change the initially set rhythm of Mayenne’s looms and lend a new meaning and existence in innovative silhouettes to the fabrics. On the other hand, Mina-Angela Ignatova takes them back to their static nature in a series of photographs, part of one and the same visual thread. She folds some of them and recaptures them with the traces already left in the material, outlining the contour of the plissé, which appears in all sorts of variants on different surfaces, as a sign of incessancy and continuity. Some of these photographs comfortably cover the window blinds, while others are transferred directly to the white museum pedestals, or are presented as an object in an unfolded leporello book on the wall.

The traces in the material left by the presenters in the exhibition are in full synchronisation with each other, in the authentic interior and under the light that illuminated the home and art of the remarkable artist, Vera Nedkova (1906–1996).

About the exhibitors:

Albena Dimitrova is a Bulgarian writer and playwright. She graduated from the Sorbonne, lives and works in France since 1989. As an economist, she has worked in the field of creating mathematical models of systemic risks in mass privatisation and corruption mechanisms. She has held senior positions in the international departments of prestigious public and private financial institutions. Since 2014, she has devoted herself entirely to writing novels, dramaturgical texts and film screenplays, and is one of the few playwrights of Bulgarian origin invited to write for the regular repertoire of Comédie-Française and Compagnie 111 – Aurélien Bory. Her debut novel, ‘We Shall Have Dinner in French’ (2015) has been nominated for numerous awards.

Mina-Angela Ignatova is a photographer, journalist and director. She was born in Havana in 1975. She moved to Paris in 1997, where she graduated in Art History from the Sorbonne and specialised in Contemporary Art and Photography. Since 2003 she has worked as a professional freelance photographer. Her reportages and fashion series have been featured in leading world publications. She is among the favoured photographers at forums of haute couture, including behind the scenes at Paris Fashion Week. She is also involved in documentary photography, and since 2009 she has been employed by the German-French television channel, ARTE.

Antonia Tochka is a designer, artist and expert in the field of fashion design. In 2018, she won an award at the largest international competition for green business ideas, ClimateLaunchpad, as a creator of a material capable of healing the human body. Antonia is the master mind of the fashion brand Tochka, created in 2006, which offers unique fabrics and design solutions. She experiments with existing models and objects, transforming them in a unique way. She created the costumes for the play, ‘Theatre, My Love’ (2016), by Valeri Petrov, at Theatre 199. Recently, she became a teacher at the Princess Marie Louise Professional School of Clothing in Sofia.

Yana Bratanova, curator