Antoniya Koleva - Nitra: Fragments of consciousness

Fragments of consciousness

Antoniya Koleva - Nitra

12-11-2021 until 09-01-2022

There is a specific quality to the collages for which Antoniya Koleva - Nitra is best known.
Her work reflects on topical questions and themes. Her use of visual language from socialist times underlines the timelessness of her topics.

For her new show at gallery Gallery, entitled Fragments of consciousness, Antoniya adds time as a new element to her language. In a series of animated gifs, she uses time and gradual transformations to play with our perception.

Our brain likes to think it knows what we see, especially when we look at images so familiar as the elements that make up Antoniya’s collages. Our brain continues to pretend it knows what we see, even when what’s there is slightly different from what we expect or thought it was.

Antoniya uses time to pull the rug from under our interpretation, making small changes - a male hand that changes to a female hand while grasping a female leg, the landscape outside a mall that gradually changes from palm trees to the red square - which flip the meaning of her work.

One of the works in Fragments of consciousness shows a row of sheep, apparently a special Mongolian breed that was kept in Bulgaria during socialist times for their high-quality milk and wool, in front of what appears to be a man in a flying saucer. Slowly, the man and the saucer fade, to be replaced by that other symbol of Bulgarian socialist pride: the Buzludzha monument. As the monument materializes, the sheep become astronauts, alluding to the silliness of projects that aim to boost pride based on rhetoric rather than actual achievements.

Much of the strength of Antoniya’s works comes from the preciseness of the images she uses, the visual language, the composition, the canon. A canon that is influenced by her background of having studied icon painting.

Antoniya Koleva - Nitra lives and works in Varna. She studied icon painting, fresco and graphic design in Bulgaria, followed by a specialization in Lodz, Poland.
Antoniya regularly collaborates with Kaloyan Iliev - Kokimoto, with whom she did multiple exhibitions.
Antoniya has had solo exhibitions in Bulgaria and participated in group shows in Bulgaria, France, and Romania.