Exhibition "The Lecturers". 60 years of Textile - Art and Design Department at the National Academy of Art



In view of the imposed lockdown and in compliance with Order № 0286-О of 26.11.2020 of the Minister of Health, the exhibition “The Lecturers” has been postponed until 2021. We will issue a further announcement as soon as the new dates of the exhibition are confirmed.

Academia Gallery will remain closed in compliance with the above-mentioned ministerial order until 21 December 2020.

Textiles at the National Academy of Art from the beginning to the present day (1898-2020) - 60 years since the establishment of the textile department in its modern form

1 December 2020 – 5 January 2021
Vernissage 1 December (Tuesday), 04:00 pm - 07:00 pm
This year, the Department of Textile - Art and Design at the National Academy of Art celebrates its 60th anniversary of its creation in a modern form, as well as 122 years since the establishement of the first school for teaching textile. On this occasion, on 1 December 2020, Academia Gallery will host the exhibition "The Lecturers" to display works by teachers who have contributed to the development of the speciality over the years. The exhibition is to respond to the need for promoting the development of the department in historical aspect, and its contribution to enriching the artistic life in Bulgaria. The necessity to present to the general public the educational and creative processes, and the achievements in the field of contemporary art practices within the specialty is pre-determined by the need to demonstrate and promote the experience, search directions, opportunities and achievements of contemporary textile art. The leading concepts of the speciality lecturers and their prominence internationally lead to the recognition of the speciality as one of the important factors in the development of textile art and of textile design in Bulgaria.
The study of traditional Bulgarian carpet ornaments began in 1898 with the establishment of the school of decoration with Raymond Ulrich as a teacher. Students’ carpet projects have won awards at some of the most prestigious European forums of their time: Brussels (1898), Liège (1904), London (1906). Later, Stefan Badzhov (1908 - decorative art) and Haralampi Tachev (1910 - decorative art and stylistics) were invited to work as teachers. In 1904, the School of Embroidery and Laces was established, with Tereza Holekova-Mihailova teaching and leading it until 1922. It studied samples of traditional Bulgarian embroidery and Brussels lace. Projects and textile works for clothing and interior were also created. From 1923 onwards the school’s lead was Rayna Rumenova.
Over the years, both the National Academy of Art and the textile schools and workshops have undergone various changes. With the growth of industrialisation in Bulgaria, the need for design specialists increased. That was a prerequisite for the re-establishment of a workshop for training in textile practices. A specialist was needed to head the revived speciality. By decree of the Council of Ministers № 201 of September 7, 1959, the speciality Art Design of Fabric was created. The management of Nikolay Pavlovich Higher Institute of Fine Arts sent, in 1953, the sophomore Marin Varbanov, who had impressed not only with his talent, but also with his exceptional charisma and communication skills, as a scholarship student to China (under the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the People's Republic of China of July 1952, including student exchange) to study textile design and textile art. In 1959, Marin Varbanov returned to Bulgaria and began teaching Textile Composition and Painting. During that time he was the speciality lead and managed to train and educate several generations of Bulgarian artists, working in the field of textile art and textile design, some of whom have played an important role in the development of textile art worldwide. He and the team he formed later were responsible for the creation of modern Bulgarian textile school.
In 1971, Marin Varbanov invited Dimo ​​(Dimitar) Balev, one of his first students, to be his assistant. Even then Balev could be distinguished for his talent, intellect and vast general knowledge. In 1972, Balev began to teach textile classes after the fourth semester. Thus, two textile ateliers were already functioning. The rapid establishment of Marin Varbanov as a world-class artist and the realisation of his various projects abroad led to his frequent absence from the country. That was why he invited Mara (Maria) Yossifova - an artist with exceptional achievements in the field of textile design and textile art, to manage and teach at his atelier for certain periods of time.
The growing interest in the speciality and the dynamic lifestyle of Marin Varbanov pre-conditioned the opening of another textile atelier, whose lead was Vassil Ovcharov, a hereditary textile artist with accumulated experience in the design of textile - woven and printed - and with innovative search directions in the field of wall decorative fabric, a scholar and erudite.
In 1984, Dimitar Balev invited his student Anna Boyadzhieva to be his assistant. She had proved her qualities as a student and one having great affinity for experimenting, so five years later she became the lead of her textile atelier and set the development of the specialty towards the art of thread and soft sculpture. In 1995, D. Balev invited Asadur Markarov, a graduate of the Chinese Academy of Arts in Hangzhou, who began his studies in V. Ovcharov's atelier and continued with M. Varbanov at the Institute for Contemporary Textile in Hangzhou as his assistant. In contrast to the overall social and cultural picture after the political and socio-economic changes in our country in the 1990s, owing to the reforms in the educational structure in line with the existing European and American practices and the decision for "free admission", the number of students in the speciality was significantly growing. Thus, in the period 1995-2004, four textile ateliers were established: of D. Balev, of V. Ovcharov, of A. Boyadzhieva, and of A. Markarov.
After the withdrawal of Ovcharov from teaching in 2007, the textile ateliers became three and since Balev’s retirement - two. In 2010, A. Markarov left for China to continue his education for a doctoral degree at the KHA in Hangzhou, specializing in Soft Sculpture in the Department of Sculpture, where he has been teaching to this day. Verzhinia Markarova became the lead of the atelier; she had begun her studies at the atelier of D. Balev and continued with M. Varbanov at the Institute for Contemporary Textile in Hangzhou, which he had founded.
Since 2019, the second textile atelier has been led by Adelina Popnedeleva, an established artist and researcher with proven theoretical and practical contributions. She has the diverse expertise needed to enrich students' knowledge. Her scientific and creative activity is characterised by individual style and constant striving for the new.
Since the establishment of the speciality Art Design of Fabrics in 1959, Painting has been studied at the department. Since 1989, within the speciality Painting has been taught by Vihroni Popnedelev, an established artist who works in the field of painting, ceramics, handmade paper, textile and others. Since 2009, Tsveta Yavasheva, an artist working in the field of textile and handmade paper, has been teaching the newly-established subject Textile Techniques and Technologies.

Verzhiniya Markarova / Dima Nedyalkova-Kaprieva

November 2020